CG Marshmallows + Breakdown

A personal study. Includes breakdown and process.

Goal:
 
My goal for this personal project was create food that looked edible. I think one of the hardest things in CG is creating food that doesn't have a plastic feel and isn't over-the-top vibrant. Another subgoal that I made for myself was to make all my textures using procedural materials. No bitmaps allowed!
To start I decided that I wanted to keep it simple and just have a bowl with marshmallows. My first original sketches included a tablecloth but I threw that out since I wanted to keep it simple with an almost playful feel.
 
Modeling

I started with a very simple cylinder for the marshmallow and just added a taper and noise modifier on top of it to create variation. After cycling through a few noise seeds I chose four that I liked and moved on.
 
The bowl is also basically a cylinder with a large noise modifier on it's X and Y axis.
 
 
Techniques

I used mParticles to drop the marshmallows in the bowl. I have very limited knowledge of particle flow and this was a good exercise for me to become more comfortable in it. I didn't have to look up anything on the internet to help me with my system which is a small accomplishment for me.
I dropped the particles a couple times to get them composed in a way that felt natural.
Because I used a simplified marshmallow mesh for collision instead of primitive geometry this took a good minute or two to simulate on my computer. I also learned that if I close Max and reopen my project that Max has to recalculate everything. I used a particle baking script that allowed me to make the particles into keyframed geometry and scrub through my timeline instantly.
Materials

As I mentioned before I used procedural materials for everything. I used bercon maps for my marshmallow texture and that was time consuming to get it to behave correctly. The marshmallow material is a Vray Blend material that uses SSS2 material as a base (getting that gooey effect) and a Vray standard material on top (powdery feel) masked by it's own bump map.
The bowl is just a gradient ramp (the only unwrapping I did was applying a cylinder UVW) combined with a large bercon map to create subtle unevenness in it's colour and I made also composited another bercon map to get the white speckles.

Rendering

It didn't take long to set up my scene. I had to do a decent amount of testing to get my marshmallows looking right. Since the marshmallow’s texture is so detailed I had to up the samples to get accurate tests. Kind of a pain to wait through a small region render that takes 30 seconds to get a usable result. The final resolution is 3500x2100.
 
Post work

I had a lot of fun in post with this one. Didn't take long to composite and I had everything I needed to work. Nothing notable with what I've done in the past.
Final Image:

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