Rendering Workshop - Studio - still life

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Rendering Workshop - Studio - still life

Postby Al Hart » Sat Nov 07, 2009 4:20 pm

By popular demand I have replaced the Exterior Houses Workshop for this week with a still life.
(You can still upload your Exterior renderings to the other Workshop if you have made one)

still-life1.jpg



For this weeks workshop we want to treat the model like a product we want to present and highlight in a product marketing or advertising environment.

You may change colors and materials, add lights and reflective properties, but should not add things to the place setting itself. (Imagine the developers had created the product and that it was your job to create an image for marketing)

(Also, if you fix obvious problems in the model, you may want to upload a new one for us to use)

This may involve special lighting and background effects. Give us some tips on what you did and how you did it.

You may add a table, base, etc., or other objects to help promote the product. But remember we are trying to learn about how to present objects in general - not just this specific place setting.

I have taken a 3D Warehouse model by carmil_vampire and added an apple. See what you can do with it.

[Edit: Pete has uploaded a better model. Use this one: Better model]

Guidelines

These Workshops are not a contest. People new to rendering can use them to experiment and get feedback and advice from other SCF readers. People with more experience can show us what they can do and demonstrate interesting techniques.

This Workshop is about rendering, not modeling. You can modify the model, add other geometry, add other 3D warehouse items, etc. But keep in mind that we want to see what you can do to make these existing models more presentable.

This is about all aspects of rendering - SketchUp, external add-ons, post processing, PhotoRealistic, and Non-Photorealistic. Feel free to try anything.

Upload you images, your questions, your ideas. Lets see what we can do.
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby solo » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:28 pm

Al

I do not wanna mess too much with your scene but I had to make a few changes, firstly the model will never look realistic as it is a weak and low poly model.
I have changed the plate for one I had, the apple for one from Michalis, the glass from one Crazy eyes made for the WH. the cutlery looks fine as well as place-mat as many folk will probably use their own textures and bump maps.
The model is slightly heavier, but for the difference in realism the gain overweighs the poly's, and even the weakest of machines will still be able to zoom through it.

I have zipped the model which was saved as a SU 6 version (that way most folks can use it)
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby solo » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:43 pm

Additionally for those that want to use a studio, here is a basic studio setup if needed, I actually use this very simple setup for many of my commercial productions, sometimes simple is best.

Play around with this setting up your camera angles, then adding lighting as needed.
Remembering that too many lights will give overlapping shadows which can ruin a studio setup.
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby kwistenbiebel » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:50 pm

solo wrote:Remembering that too many lights will give overlapping shadows which can ruin a studio setup.


Some photographers use a 3 point light setup to achieve overlapping -but soft- shadows.
Supplementary they use big reflectors to soften the shadows even more.
It depends on what the subject and the goal of the studio setup is I guess
.
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby solo » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:55 pm

You are right Chris, they also use filters on the lights so not to create sharp shadows, there are many render apps available that can mimic this by setting the shadow opacity as well as intesity, but for those render apps without this feature one must be careful.
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby pav_3j » Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:38 pm

i was about to ask if anyone had any advice on a studio setup.

you guys here are mind readers!

cheers!


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IMAGE BASED LIGHTING

Postby solo » Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:30 pm

IMAGE BASED LIGHTING

Okay, I found a few minutes between project phases to do a quick 1st test.

I have used Vue for this as I'm sure there will be many Twilight versions and if I don't use Vue nobody else will.
Remembering this is studio rendering so the point is NOT to have a distracting background as only the subject needs presentation. I have chosen a flat white studio with no reflection values.
I have for this test decided to use no lighting, I opted for Image based lighting instead using a HDR image. This will give the softest shadows normally (without manipulation of light values in certain renders) It will also give you image based light sources which can be very difficult to control in some render apps.
There are many reasons for using an HDR image, besides the softer shadows it also presents an image for all reflective surfaces to reflect without having an image or geometry present to obscure the scene.
Here is an image of the HDRI I used, notice it has a mustardy color to it, that color will be projected in the render, so choose your HDR according to the results you require.
I did not get to creative or detailed with my texture setup for this, just some basic presets.
There is NO post editing.
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby pav_3j » Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:11 am

going to be thick here, but i don't understand the first image solo, it's a HDR, i get that much, but i don't get how it relates to the rendered image, it looks kinds abstracted.

please forgive my ignorance!

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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby solo » Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:17 am

3 POINT LIGHTING

As Chris mentioned above, this is probably the most common studio render setup, a pretty simple way to get an acceptable result.

I have chosen omni lights (point lights) instead of spots, I did not use IES values as that I'm sure will be covered in a future workshop (too much effort to explain now)

I used a spherical image for reflections (an HDRI can be used too)
As you can see from diagram I made sure only one light had shadows selected and other two not, the reason for that is when there is three light sources there will be three shadow sources and they can ruin a studio render IMO, however some folk like that look, so it's different strokes for different folks in this regard.
The reason three lights are used and not one is if only one light was used the shadows would be darker and shaded areas will display less detail, remember this is a studio setup and NOT a real world scene, the idea is to give as much detail presentation to a product.
The image below does not show the angles very well but omni#3 is set higher (further from still life)

no post editing.
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby solo » Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:29 am

Luci, most render engines have an option to use a High Dynamic range image (HDRI) in place of any physical lighting as the HDRI format has all the lighting values in the image (another technical explanation that will wear fingers down). many folk use HDRi as background images as well as a lighting source, they occasionally supplement the lighting as well.
But as you will notice I am using a studio mesh, so you cannot see the background image as the studio blocks it, thus all you will get is the reflection and lighting from it. Some apps like Vue, Vray and I believe Twilight (if I missed anyone please mention it) can use just the lighting or just the image from a HDRI giving you more control over the scene.
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby pilou » Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:14 am

What is the first: Adam or Eve? ;)
Cool render :enlight:
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby dermotcoll » Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:50 am

Hi Guys

Forgive my ignorance but I am completely lost here - I am starting from level -10 and I do not see the relationship between a black and white image (HDR ) with different levels of luminance coming off the squashed cubes and the picture of the plate. You then talk about omni lights - what is the connection? I am lost - its me guys not you. Can you point me in the direction of an article / book on this subject as I dont want to waste your time asking really infantile questions from masters like you (SOLO, etc) I will then come back and break your hearts with more educated infantile questions!!!
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby d12dozr » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:38 am

In the "learning to render better" theme, I can't help but repeat the sage advice I've heard on these forums many times - "A good render starts with a good model." The first thing that drew my eye in Al's render was the low-poly plate. Although the render wasn't bad, the polygonal plate ruined the whole image IMO. Just an observation from a far-from-perfect render noob :oops:

@dermotcoll, I too wish for a "HDR for Dummies" manual! However, from what I understand, Pete's HDR is a stitched-together panorama of a room. In the render program, it is "placed" around the model like the actual room from which the original picture was taken. Some weak lighting is achieved from the image, but mostly it is used for reflections, which you can see clearly in Pete's spoon. It is (at least for me) the easiest way to light the model, and usually(always?) results in soft lighting and shadows. This is why Pete added omni lights in his second render, that way he got stronger shadows, brighter colors, and caustics from the glass.

Pete, please correct me if I'm wrong!

Here is my first try. Studio setup and HDR background - sunlight off. Just some simple tone mapping when the render was complete.
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby massimo » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:44 am

This is my try. No HDRI, but three IES emitters with a studio setup.

Raw output...
piatto.jpg

and after a quick tonemapping.
piatto_tonemapping.jpg

Thanks Al, Solo and Michalis for the models. :D
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby Al Hart » Sun Nov 08, 2009 3:58 pm

d12dozr wrote:In the "learning to render better" theme, I can't help but repeat the sage advice I've heard on these forums many times - "A good render starts with a good model." The first thing that drew my eye in Al's render was the low-poly plate. Although the render wasn't bad, the polygonal plate ruined the whole image IMO. Just an observation from a far-from-perfect render noob :oops:


I agree. I just started rendering this model this A.M. and both the plate and the glass (with single face thin - rather than thick glass) are troublesome. Can someone upload a new model for us with a better plate and glass?

[Edit: Ignore this post. Pete had already uploaded a Better model], but I didn't see the attachment.]
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby Gaieus » Sun Nov 08, 2009 4:06 pm

Pete already uploaded it in his post above:
viewtopic.php?p=198656#p198656

(Cutlery is from Gully Foyle I believe)
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby Al Hart » Sun Nov 08, 2009 4:34 pm

Gaieus wrote:Pete already uploaded it in his post above:
viewtopic.php?p=198656#p198656

(Cutlery is from Gully Foyle I believe)


Thanks. I placed the link to the new model in the first post.

I wanted to get him to create the model for me in the first place. But he didn't grab the hint. Next time I'll be less subtle and just ask. :)
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby Al Hart » Sun Nov 08, 2009 4:35 pm

dermotcoll wrote:Hi Guys

Forgive my ignorance but I am completely lost here - I am starting from level -10 and I do not see the relationship between a black and white image (HDR ) with different levels of luminance coming off the squashed cubes and the picture of the plate. You then talk about omni lights - what is the connection? I am lost - its me guys not you. Can you point me in the direction of an article / book on this subject as I dont want to waste your time asking really infantile questions from masters like you (SOLO, etc) I will then come back and break your hearts with more educated infantile questions!!!


HDRi gets quite confusing. And, although I use it a lot, I am only just starting to understand it.

HDRi technology

One the one level, HDRi images (the HDRi phrase comes from the fact that the images contains an illumination channel in addition to the RGB (red, green, blue) color channels. As a result two parts of the HDRi image which are the same - say 255,255,255 - white can be marked to illuminate the scene differently. (One can be a flat, white wall while the other is a bright white cloud). In the real world this is accomplished by taking three separate images from the same camera position - one normal, one under exposed and one over exposed. By comparing the pixels in the three images, you (or the computer) can determine how bright things were. In my example above, the white wall would get dark in the underexposed image, but the bright cloud would stay lighter.)

Underexposed image (Note the bright sky is still white - and can't really get any "whiter" in the normal and overexposed images)

(See this tutorial: Beginner's guide to HDR and Tone Mapping

HDri images do not have to be black and white. They can be colored as well.

HDRi Skies for backgrounds

One use for HDRi images - because they are complete 360 degree images, is that they can be used for backgrounds - both providing the background and providing illumination. See this example:



HDRi for illumination only

Another use for HDRI is for illumination only. By letting the HDRi image reflect (for reflective highlights) and illuminate, but not be visible, it creates some good lighting effects.

For instance this HDRi image of a forest (called rnl_probe - and used by a lot of rendering folk), is low resolution and does not provide a good background, but does provide good illumination for studio lighting settings.

rnl_probe.jpg


This model was rendered with the forest HDRi -



It provides interesting reflections and illumination without messing up the background.

Creating HDRi images

Purists, go out and create images with cameras, and a lot of nice images are available online.

You can also create an HDRi image by rendering your model in Panoramic mode. For instance you can place lights, buildings, or something interesting all around the camera and then use it to render an image and save it as a HDRi.

I plan to try that later when as I work on renderings for this Workshop.
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby pav_3j » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:53 pm

cheers for the clarification solo!

legend.

Al, these render tips are proving very useful, they seem to spark a lot of positive discussion which we can all learn from, so thank you very much!

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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby dale » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:06 pm

Great thread. Thanks to all. This will take time to digest.
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby EarthMover » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:13 pm

Here's a quick one with Vray using Solo's lighting and studio setup. Composition could be a little better, but I'm pretty happy with the materials.
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby Al Hart » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:36 pm

As I expected would happen when I started this week's workshop, some of the rendering pros have already posted better images than I will probably be able to duplicate. But I wanted to try some simple ideas - whether they work well or not - so we can all learn from them.

I took Solos model (thanks again for this), made the plate 60% reflective, the silverware metal 90% reflective and metallic, the apple 50% reflective and glossy, the placemat 40% reflective and glossy and marked the glass as "thich glass" and 10% reflective. (Since this is about lighting I figured I might as well make everything reflective.)

Then I added the rnl_probe HDRi (mentioned in the earlier post), and let it render for about 3 minutes. (The longer you let it render, the more points are sampled from the sky).
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby Al Hart » Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:11 pm

Next, I tried placing a cylinder around the scene and marking it as a light.

Not as good as the "Studio" Solo provided. But a lot simpler to model, and I wanted to see what it would do.

The cylinder is marked as "invisible", so it created lights and shadows, but does not appear in the model.

cylinder-light.jpg


Here is the result. I think the lighting is too "flat", as you might expect from a symmetrical light source.

cylinder-light-render1.png
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Still Life

Postby solo » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:48 pm

It's always difficult to explain certain render tricks on a generic basis as every render app has it's own ways of achieving certain results and they often even use custom terminologies.

To highlight the Image based lighting again I used a different model, one with a little more reflection and detail as seen below of the SU model. I used the studio setup as described on previous page.
budda.jpg


In the first render I used no HDR image, but only a basic sun with soft, light shadows. I made the background color white, notice that the metal looks lifeless and the reflections are very bland.

buddha no hdri.jpg


Then I added a HDRI, here is my setting for the folk that use Vue.
hdri settings.jpg


And the result, as you can see the HDR image give the Aluminum statue a lot more interest and detail.

buddha with hdri.jpg
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Studio - still life

Postby tallbridgeguy » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:08 am

Solo thanks for all the information about setting up a still life! It was really helpful to read some of your tips.

This is a kerkythea effort using a 100 passes of MLT. Still needs work but it was educational....
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Studio - still life

Postby Al Hart » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:25 am

tallbridgeguy wrote:Solo thanks for all the information about setting up a still life! It was really helpful to read some of your tips.

This is a kerkythea effort using a 100 passes of MLT. Still needs work but it was educational....


You have setup good transparency and good reflection. I think the next step is to find something to reflect.

Instead of the HDRi which has been shown a lot in this thread, you might try placing some interesting geometry somewhere where we can't wee it, but where it will provide reflection. (This can also be done by placing an offscreen image somewhere)
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Studio - still life

Postby dermotcoll » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:25 pm

Here is my first effort - I down loaded the studio set up but hadn't a clue what to do withit so this is a materials application only - any tips on this HDRi thingy and studio set up anyone i.e a step by step , blow by blow how to do it workflow - and please, for the love of God (allah etc, etc....) keep it in a language that an irishman can understand!!!!! :? :? :?
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Studio - still life

Postby Al Hart » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:37 pm

dermotcoll wrote:Here is my first effort - I down loaded the studio set up but hadn't a clue what to do withit so this is a materials application only - any tips on this HDRi thingy and studio set up anyone i.e a step by step , blow by blow how to do it workflow - and please, for the love of God (allah etc, etc....) keep it in a language that an irishman can understand!!!!! :? :? :?


What rendering engine would you like help with?
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Studio - still life

Postby modelhead » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:20 pm

A quick render in Photo Shop Extended 3d.....(obj. file, default render.)
No post processing... :D really!
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Re: Rendering Workshop - Studio - still life

Postby Rich O Brien » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:23 pm

Twilight Medium+ with no studio

No HDR.jpg


Twilight Medium+ with studio

With HDR.jpg


Thanks Al & Solo for the best Workshop yet
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