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Thread: Anodised Aluminium - Lighting / Material Tips

  1. #1

    Anodised Aluminium - Lighting / Material Tips


    I'm wondering if anyone has any tips to share (pretty please!) for getting the best out of Shot rendering Anodised Aluminium product visualisation shots. I guess it's fairly similar to Jewellery-type renderings, in that the environment is going to determine to a large extent what the product picks up in terms of reflections etc.

    I've attached an image which we think is "ok" - it's just not quite there. AQL-220-April2013 3 (Medium).jpg

    Is it just endless tweaking? Or should I look to perhaps use HDRI Studio?

    Thanks in advance for any help / tips.


  2. #2
    Senior Member andy's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    With most metals, it's nearly 100% reflections. Watch a photographer set up a scene for something like that. They pick their shot rather quickly, then it's just a bunch of time spent moving lights, reflectors, and darker objects around to get the contrast they are looking for.
    I really wish Bunkspeed was set up a little better for these projects. Probably the most efficient way to do this is to have 2 views showing at a time. One is your camera shot which is always in render mode. The other is Never in render mode and allows you to grab objects and move them around. They Almost have that in Pro. Only, the camera view doesn't stay rendering. If you have render mode turned on, then you actually have to turn it Off every time you want to move back to the other camera. So really, the multiple viewports is fairly pointless. Without them being live, it's the same as switching back and forth between your cameras by double clicking the camera. This feature literally saves you only about a tenth of a second on each use. I'm sure that's due to some sort of limitation with iray at the moment, but that sure would be useful.

    For now, I would recommend using HDR light studio to set up the majority. Then add yourself some planes with white (might need to be emissive even), grey, and black cards for final tweaking. In 3dsMax you can select your card object, then from your camera view, choose where you want a reflection. That snaps your card into place. It usually rotates it in an odd location, and it's either too close, or too far away, but it at least gives you a jump start on where to put it. Hopefully we'll see something like that in bunkspeed eventually. It would be better if it was almost more like a wizard: Choose the object you want to reflect. Choose the spot you want a reflection. Choose the distance you want that object. Choose the orientation you want that object. Even better if you could step back in that procedure a little here and there.

    Anyway, you're not wrong. Good lighting just takes a lot of time. For product photographers, that what they spend the most time doing as well. Of course, they don't have to create materials for objects either. But the materials are nothing without good lighting.

    Oh, and my suggestion is to not use the metal material....ever. I'm pretty sure that was made for people who like to see shiny things everywhere. It gives you zero flexibility or control.

  3. #3
    Hi Andy,

    Thanks a lot for your response, very detailed and some good tips (and things for the wishlist!)

    I'll have a closer look at HDR Studio and start to play around more.

    One question though: You suggest not to use the metal material... What would you recommend using? I can't seem to get decent results with either Generic or Anistropic, although maybe I'm missing something?

    Thanks again


  4. #4
    Senior Member andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    yes, the generic material needs some major help. That Should be the material you could build just about anything with. If it were me, I'd jam every feature possible into that one. Then we'd see some amazing materials in the community. But that material can't really achieve much. There are too many limits.

    The bad thing about the metal material is you can't change IOR, which effects the falloff angle, and you can't change reflectivity. All you can do is change how rough it appears and the color. It's great for making shiny things.

    I usually head for metallic paint. You get to decide how metal-like it is. And you can decide to add a clear coat if you want. Shoot, what if your material is Actually a painted plastic part to appear like aluminum? Well, that's definitely what you'll want. Ideally it would look just like metal, but that's never the case. Rendering with a metal material in the computer is always too perfect anyway.
    Anisotropic is a Great material, but not so much in bunkspeed. Again. It just doesn't have enough control. You're right, it can look like some metals, but definitely not all.

  5. #5
    Thanks for all the great tips, Andy. Thanks also for the wishlist on materials and dual viewport workflow. They are much appreciated!

    Brian Hillner / Manager Business Development, Design & Consulting / Bunkspeed

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