Oct. 12, 2019
Interior Design – Lighting And Materials With Hussain Almossawi
Winter is coming but it will be cozy in this winter cabin designed by Hussain Almossawi.
My name is Hussain Almossawi, I am a product and CGI designer. I come from a small island called Bahrain, and I’m currently based in New York City working for some of the world’s biggest brands. I was a senior designer working with Adidas until three months ago when I left and started my own studio, Mossawi Studios.
I’ve been into 3D since I was a kid, the early days of 3ds Max. I was always interested in creating things that look realistic and trick the eyes in thinking if its CG or a photo. I started out as a graphic designer and soon realized that it was not enough to design things in 2D, and the true magic happens when you approach design holistically and can combine between the two worlds.
I then moved toward product design, which is what I do today, but my products and designs are heavily influenced and worked on in the 3D world, which I think gives me an advantage when designing rather than doing things with pen and paper the old traditional way.
1 - UV Setup
A good UV is key, this might be a simple setup, but when working with things that are a bit more complicated like automotive projects, for instance, the beauty of your materials and final renders will only look real if you have a good UV setup. Spend some time making sure your scene is unwrapped properly, as that will serve as the backbone for all materials you apply.
2 - Light Setup
Another thing that will give you your realism in your scene, before diving into materials, is the light setup. I’ve seen lots of scenes that use high-res maps, or use Substance, but fall short of realism, and that’s due to falling short on the light setup. Make sure that your scene is well-lit, has nice definition, depth, and shadows, and that will take your materials to another level.
3 - Applying Materials
Here is a basic setup applying the wood texture to the interior scene, and tiling it the way I imagine it. I’m using a material from Substance 3D Assets and playing around with its values.
4 - Editing and Mixing Materials
I then layer that material with other materials; I sometimes make use of only the Height or Color map to be able to further modify the look and feel of the material. Sometimes a fill layer with a change in the blending mode such as “Overlay” can do the trick too. Once I’m happy with the results, I export the maps and take the material back to 3ds Max.
Tips and tricks with Substance
A technique that I like to use is to just work with the normal map activated in Substance, that allows me to then take that as a bump/displacement map in 3ds Max, and blend it with other custom material setups that I have done in the past, it’s a nice mix between both worlds.
Another thing that I really like to do with Substance is layering materials. I tend to take materials that don’t usually live together and mix different properties. For example Wood and Metal, plastic and paper, and so on. This method works best for me when using it in product design, or even footwear design, where I can start to zone different areas and apply different textures.
I am currently working on multiple projects that I am using Substance for, products such as automotive design, footwear design, vinyl toys, and other products that I am designing for myself or my clients. I would really like to start building out my own materials in Substance Designer.
Substance is definitely a very powerful tool and software, and the potential of the things you can do with it is just scary. I’m also excited to see how this tool starts to expand and evolve over the years.
All images courtesy of Hussain Almossawi.