3D American Diner Development: Part 1

Introduction to the Project

Recently I’ve been looking for new projects to work on to improve my portfolio. I needed a project that used all my skills to really get myself out there. As a recent graduate from Bournemouth University, I’m constantly applying for jobs, and improving my skillset to help get more opportunities. While applying, I noticed that a lot of companies that focus on 3D rendering have programs such as AutoCad and 3DS Max, which I had not learnt. Before this project, I spent the time following tutorials on these programs, working on much smaller plans to improve my uses with them before creating something larger. That project then turned into this, an American Diner, made from scratch. Below is a list of all the programs being used for this project:

  • Autodesk Maya
  • Autodesk 3DS Max
  • AutoCad
  • V-Ray
  • Photoshop
  • Substance Painter
  • Substance Designer


In this stage, I created a moodboard, a floor plan within AutoCad, and whiteboxed the scene within Maya to see how the Diner would be set out in 3D. The image below shows the moodboard, taken diners that have a set up, and assets I used that I would like to be within the diner, and a colour scheme to stick to.


Next was to go into AutoCad and create the floor plans. I wanted the diner to be quite large, with no access to any other rooms apart the main area. I used a various amount of tools to create the plans, making it easy to see the areas that the renders won’t capture, where the doors will be and there sizes, and hatching to highlight what areas the booths will be. Labelling was used to differentiate from counters and tables, and what some assets are such as the Jukebox. The measurements were done in feet, making it match how proper architecture companies would produces such plans. The 32 and the 6 are two different measurements. The 32 is feet, and 6 is meters, which help when putting the plan in Maya to create the whitebox, which was my next step.


White boxing was simple thanks for the floor plan, and you can see below. I created both the whitebox for the interior, and how the outside will look. Although no renders will be shot from outside the building, it helps me plan out how the windows will look, and where there height will be in comparison to the booths. The whiteboxing is crucial for the proportions of objects, as making one object slightly larger than the other can create serious problems for the final image.

The whiteboxing with the exterior visible.

The Jukebox

Although the jukebox is just one asset, it was hugely important as it was the first detailed asset that I created in 3DS Max. All the skills I learnt for the program was used in the one asset, and lighting from VRay was used for the orange colouring within the jukebox. If more more details for the creation of this asset are desired I would be happy to break the process down. These are not official renders, as the lighting is not finished yet, only a quick one to show off how it looks.

What’s done so far?

After the jukebox, the rest of the asset are being create. I turned down the threshold for VRay renders, plugged in textures from VRay or Substance Painter, placing in each of the assets and using a quick render to see how they look in a render. As you can see, there’s still a lot of work to be done, but it’s a start and I’m excited to see how it comes out looking. Thanks for reading!

The materials are not perfected yet, and lighting isn’t set up.
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