LAYAN Project Unveiled

Muharraqi Studios relies on LightWave throughout the production pipeline for countless projects, including the creation of this breathtaking project—Layan—a luxury resort hotel in the Durrat Marina (Middles East)

Posted: Fri 15 Apr 2016

Muharraqi Studios shows once again his talent through this spectacular project, first of its kind in the world: considered as the most desirable locations in Bahrain at Durrat Marina, Layan simply defines luxury. Working simultaneously on the architectural project as well as the marketing side, these highly skilled LightWave 3D artists bring life to this breathtaking luxury residential waterpark. And each time LightWave plays an extremely important role in their production pipeline. Get ready to be impressed by the talent of Muharraqi Studios!

Layan Project - General vue

Interview with Khalid Al-Muharraqi, Founder & Chief of Creative at Muharraqi Studios

Hi Khalid and thank you for joining LightWave 3D for this interview! We saw your latest amazing architectural project and we would like to congratulate all the team for doing such a great work! Could you give us an insight of this project and share more details about it?

Well, thank you for the lovely words!

First of all, we are blessed to have such inspired client! Bin Faqeeh allowed us to express our creativity through our work. We had a lot of fun while we were working on this project. As Muharraqi Studios, we had to coordinate the entire project and worked with different talents to achieve these results in time…. There was a lot to do in a very short time, we had to pull it off and get it to a high quality result.

Layan Project - Close up
What did you enjoy the most in this project? Sketching, Modeling, Animating, Lighting, Texturing, Compositing...?

For us, the best part is when we get to the stage of doing final lighting and checking how everything worked out at the end. LightWave can handle a lot of polygons, so thanks to this we were able to reach up to 11 Million of polygons without calculating the millions of instance on top of that. It was rendering all in one go! I also enjoyed working on the animations as it was smooth. LightWave is designed in a way that really fits with how I think. We were able to convert a lot of data back and forth with other 3D applications. LightWave works with just anything out there and this is so important for me.

Layan Project - Vue from a room
Could you share more details about the rendering process? Did you used the LightWave native render on this project?

Rendering was all made in LightWave except for some shots in After effects. I really like to use VPR! We have invested in buying other rendered like Octane Render…. but I wasn’t too much attracted by the final look. Also the idea of changing all our material into a new nodal system that has nothing to do with the LightWave base material was a turn off, as we have to work even harder on converting old assist into something that might or might not work. Again until something break through comes out, I love the water result and it shouldn't be looked at as anything less than superior, LightWave has come a long way…

Layan Project - Vue from the swimming pool

Were there any unexpected challenges during the project? How LightWave 3D helped you to overcome these challenges?

We always get glitches and problems but we have to find the right solution that will make things smooth again. One of our main challenge on this project was to create the masterplan and all its details of 11 million polygons simultaneously as well as developing the 3D characters, working on the identity of the project (Layan) with logo and brochure, and finally create the TV Commercial. Everything was done at the same time! This was some heavy load of work that requires the right talent, the right management and working overtime to reach the targets.

Another challenge was that the master plan for the building design was being developed while we were building the 3D project. Basically the concept was not finished yet but we had to work with Bahrain’s architects on slides projects and theme park designers from KL, since they were working close to us on this project. I also had to change some concept design sketches for the client so architects had to update the maps in order to follow my sketches.

LightWave is a delight to me! It helped me to simply achieve my goals in a really short time. As we had to shift our thought process from Master plan architectural render to character animation and renders, as well as doing a TVC that was mixing real footage and 3D, LightWave 2015 was there to help me as an artist and director to get the job done to the standards that we were aiming for.

Vue of the Island

Could you please talk about the modeling and the animation process of the 4 lovely characters / mascots?  How long it took to create and animate them?

It took us about one month to sketch, model and ring all the characters. Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to animate all of the 4 characters – only the Starfish (Najoom) has been animated– since we were restricted in time and budget. However, we went through a heavy process of designing concept and then we planned out the modelling sculpting & texturing process. Rigging was the final stage: we had to make sure that everything worked fine with motion capture data as we have our own motion capture system at the studio. Animation was a mixture of mocap and traditional animation merged together to get us up and running fast. As we had a harsh deadline, we did all the short - 15 seconds of animations - within 2 to 3 days.

Layan Project - TV Commercial

Are there any particular techniques / plugin or scripts that you used for this project?

We love to use plugins where and when ever it’s needed. These days, LightWave has a lot of developers that create fun and easy to use plugins such as RHiggit, HDRI Light Studio, and for sure all the DP and LWCAD…. I’m sure that every LightWave user use them for their work as those really take LightWave to another level.

In this project we had two different areas of expertise to tackle: the characters’ development versus the master plan, or architectural side. It was a real challenge to get both working simultaneously! Usually we don’t do this kind of things, but our clients are awesome :) They wanted to do it all for the fun of it… and finally it worked perfectly!

Layan Project - Characters Design: Sketches

Since a lot of changes happened in the industry over the last couple of years, in your opinion, what makes a successful 3D Design & Visualization company in the current climate?

Well, the world is changing and you hear companies closing down or shrinking operations… I believe that it’s true but still, as long as you develop a look to your product and never stop developing your tools, you will never be stuck. At Muharraqi Studios, we really take pride in our self-development. We try to always push ourselves to the next stage and insure that every time we do a project it feels new and upgraded. This give us the satisfaction we need as artists and it allows us to give our clients new updates that will make their projects look better. In a few words … never stop developing your work!

Layan Project - Characters Design

What inspires Muharraqi Studios team and how do you keep your creativity going?

I’ve said this before and I will say it again: we’re a very small company…. but we are proud to say that we do big work, our inspiration is one main thing. We love our job and we love to showcase our creativity. Also we enjoy challenging ourselves to achieve impossible tasks in no time and we have succeeded in pushing ourselves each time. We actually have a system where we try to beat our own records internally just for fun :)

What do you hope to accomplish in the future?

I’m not sure where this is going as it is changing everyday like clay, but we have reached to a mature stage where we will soon be able to do more of the things that we love… such as characters and story telling… our only difficulty at this time is that we are fully loaded with work! I mean, I need a break! :D

Do you have any tips to share with the LightWave community?

Tip regarding master plan development for project such as the Durrat Al Bahrain islands: to be successful in building any massive environment with lots of details, you will need time and patience. Sometime things can get overwhelming and get out of control. The most basic tip that I always say to everyone on my team is: be organized from day one! For me, this is the only way to be able develop proper content by making sure I got the master plans, the buildings, trees, people, cars all grouped up into clear groups. We sometimes have to give design updates for architects and we have to be ready and fast!

Thank you so much Khalid for taking the time to answer these questions! Keep up the good work!

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