ex­cel with prod­uct visu­al­i­sa­tion in V-ray

3D Artist - - CONTENT -

Hus­sain Almossawi guides us through pro­fes­sional V-ray tips

In this tu­to­rial, we will be look­ing at a prod­uct visu­al­i­sa­tion work­flow. In this case, I will be tak­ing one of the toys that I have de­signed and ex­plain­ing how to ren­der, colour and present it in an in­ter­est­ing way. De­sign­ing the prod­uct is usu­ally half the chal­lenge but then the way in which we present it to the world com­pletes the story full cir­cle and can ei­ther el­e­vate a prod­uct and take it to an­other level or kill it and make it un­de­sir­able, even if it’s a pretty cool de­sign.

In this tu­to­rial, we will be talk­ing about some of the key el­e­ments when it comes to ren­der­ing, the kinds of ma­te­ri­als to use, cam­eras, en­vi­ron­ments and choos­ing the most in­ter­est­ing an­gles and views to ren­der your prod­uct in. I see all of these things as a recipe to a great and ex­cit­ing out­come to a project, whether it’s a car, bike, shoe or any­thing else.

This tu­to­rial will be short but it will cover the key points that you can con­sider and start to ap­ply when the time comes for you to start ren­der­ing your own projects for your clients or port­fo­lio. I urge you to ex­plore each tip fur­ther and see what you can make out of it. For ex­am­ple, when we are dis­cussing light­ing, ev­ery kind of light­ing setup could re­sult in a dif­fer­ent mood for your ren­der. It could feel vi­brant and fresh in­stead of se­ri­ous and dry.

In terms of soft­ware, the points cov­ered are ap­pli­ca­ble to any pro­gram but I will be us­ing 3ds Max and ren­der­ing in V-ray, with the fi­nal touch-ups done in Pho­to­shop. En­joy the read and let’s make some ex­cit­ing work to­gether!


Set up stu­dio To start with, I usu­ally go with a pretty ba­sic-look­ing stu­dio set-up in most of my scenes. I start off by cre­at­ing my back­drop, a sim­ple L-shaped plane, curved or cham­fered smoothly at its cor­ner. I tend to make the back­drop 100 per cent white or 98 per cent black as they both look pretty cool at the com­ple­tion of the project. If I’m go­ing with black, I try not to make it pure black, though, so that I don’t com­pletely lose all of my floor shad­ows at the end. For this tu­to­rial, we will be go­ing with a white back­drop.


HDRI lights HDRI lights will com­pletely set the tone and mood of what your fin­ished scene will look like. Ev­ery scene and ren­der should give the viewer an ex­pe­ri­ence and feel­ing with a unique kind of depth us­ing reflections and shad­ows. HDRI is like us­ing spices in food – it’s of­ten the se­cret in­gre­di­ent. In 3ds Max, press 8 on your key­board to pull up the En­vi­ron­ment win­dow and load a V-ray HDRI Map in there of your choice. I strongly sug­gest that you try out a few dif­fer­ent maps and see how they look roughly us­ing V-ray RT.


Cam­era com­po­si­tion There are two kinds of shots that you want to think of – one is the over­all prod­uct, which will be your Hero Shot, and the other is a de­tailed view where you close-up on cer­tain parts to show more de­tails. A good prac­tice is for you to nav­i­gate your screen in Per­spec­tive view and when you feel like you have

the right an­gle, turn it into a cam­era us­ing Ctrl+c. For the Hero shot, I usu­ally go with a cam­era an­gle that is on the same level as the prod­uct or closer to the ground to ex­ag­ger­ate its size and per­spec­tive.


Work on depth of field The depth of field is one of the most im­por­tant fac­tors in any scene – try ren­der­ing one with and with­out it and you can clearly see the dif­fer­ence. It makes the scene look much more beau­ti­ful and pro­fes­sional, fo­cus­ing on the prod­uct and giv­ing a level of blur to the back­drop. I would some­times put one prod­uct in fo­cus and its du­pli­cate in the back where it gets blurred. In your cam­era set­tings, turn on En­able Depth of Field and place your cam­era tar­get on your prod­uct. Play with the Lense Breath­ing and Aper­ture set­tings to see the re­sults in your view­port by wait­ing a few sec­onds.


Add some de­tails for re­al­ism Adding de­tails will al­ways show an­other level of com­plex­ity to your prod­uct and it doesn’t have to be some­thing crazy. Once I am done with a de­sign, I like to go in and start adding la­bels, texts, shiny pat­terns on matte sur­faces and so on. In this case, for ex­am­ple, you can see the ‘Space Ex­plorer’ text. There are also other de­tails around its body with ran­dom num­bers, re­cy­cling and en­vi­ron­men­tal la­bels, and a ‘Made in…’ tag that makes it feel much more com­plete. I usu­ally ap­ply these graph­ics by un­wrap­ping my model and us­ing a V-ray Blend Ma­te­rial.


Tex­tures and en­vi­ron­ment sur­faces now that we have our cam­eras, lights and stu­dio setup, we can use the same set­tings to ap­ply an en­vi­ron­ment. The en­vi­ron­ment should be an­other as­set that adds a level of com­plex­ity, ty­ing in to the story of the prod­uct. In this sce­nario, to make it in­ter­est­ing, I cre­ated a square plane, ap­plied a Tur­bosmooth with ten it­er­a­tions to sub­di­vide it well, and then ap­plied a dis­place mod­i­fier with a noise map. I then ap­plied a hi-res sand as­phalt ma­te­rial, which made the scene feel like it’s in outer space.


Ren­der passes Go to your Ren­der Set­tings win­dow and choose the last tab, Ren­der El­e­ments, to add the Denoiser, Wire Color and Vrayedges­tex. The Denoiser pass will give us an amaz­ing col­lec­tion of passes that will al­low us to con­trol our reflections, re­frac­tions, shad­ows and GI later in Pho­to­shop. The Wire Color will give you a pass with each el­e­ment in the scene ren­dered in a dif­fer­ent colour, which is very use­ful for mask­ing ob­jects in Pho­to­shop. Fi­nally, the Vrayedges­tex will be the Am­bi­ent Oc­clu­sion, giv­ing us our shad­ows. To make that work, add a Vray­dirtmap in its ma­te­rial slot.


Com­pos­ite the passes At this stage, we will start to tran­si­tion to Pho­to­shop. Ex­port all of your passes and take them into Pho­to­shop to start play­ing with the blend modes. It’s usu­ally Screen, Mul­ti­ply or Over­lay that work best and ad­just their opac­ity lev­els. In this scene, since his head is made of glass, I ren­dered the toy with and with­out the top cover, just to get bet­ter colours on the brain. Then, us­ing my Wire Color pass, I was able to mask out the Dif­fuse Fil­ter pass of the brain with­out the cover and over­lay it on the orig­i­nal ren­der with the glass cover. My favourite method is to take the World nor­mals, de­sat­u­rat­ing it and set­ting it to Over­lay. The depth of your scene will be at a much higher level with that one layer.


Re­touch in Pho­to­shop Fi­nally, on top of all the lay­ers, cre­ate a Curves ad­just­ment layer by click­ing on the cir­cle at the bot­tom of the Lay­ers panel. Slightly move that curve around to give your scene more depth. Add an­other Ad­just­ment Layer for Hue/sat­u­ra­tion, and con­trol the sat­u­ra­tion level of your scene. To give a nice touch of de­tail, I would place an im­age of scratches or small dust par­ti­cles and over­lay it at ten per cent.

My favourite method is to take the World nor­mals, de­sat­u­rat­ing it and set­ting it to Over­lay

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