Viva Le Bistro!


bistro 002I was walking down a Brooklyn street one day and came across this amazing little bistro called Moutarde. I have no idea what that means. I don’t even remember the food, but the facade struck me as just beautiful. Like most artists with their heads in the clouds, I didn’t see a Brooklyn cafe in front of me- I saw a sleepy and quaint town in the Parisian countryside where everyone knows each other and nobody moves away. So naturally I went home and gave it a shot.

This was my first attempt at creating something in 3D, many a year ago. What I like best about this isn’t the models or the textures or even the subject matter – it’s the renderer. There’s a little known renderer out there called Brazil, now owned by Sputterfish. It’s been marginally used on SinCity and some Star Wars films, and it doesn’t have much of a foothold in the CG industry, but there’s just something about the results that I really like and find it hard to duplicate exactly in Vray. Maybe the secret is in the GI saturation – I can’t tell. It just looks Brazil-y to me.

As always, lots of little nuggets abound. If I’m making an environment scene, there’s always a movie poster somewhere. Right next to the Le Bonaparte Cafe (even Napolean loved espresso!) is the obligatory theater advertising the French poster of Casablanca. The window paint hopefully says something that makes sense in French. I’m not sure – I don’t speak French. I just noticed the trees are bare but there’s no leaves on the ground. Whoops. If you look through the back tree, you’ll see a hint of a Coca-Cola billboard.

Bistro_TexturesVintage Coca-Cola signs are a caliber of advertising art that is rarely seen today. They all had that wonderful Frank Capra/Norman Rockwell quality that helped define turn-of-the-century Americana.

Since this was made so long ago, I would change a zillion things in here. Add some leaves, forgotten bottles on tables, perhaps a gaunt french waiter smoking a cigarette in the doorway. If you look closely at the car, it looks like the front axle isn’t even connected to the rest of the car! No wonder it hasn’t moved all this time. Here’s some more reference I used while making it.


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