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Learn to create and light product shots in LightWave

By Eugenio Garcia Villarreal
Web: Open Site
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| 8 Comments
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Date Added: 9th January 2014
Software used:
Photoshop, LightWave
1828_tid_ps-000.jpg

Eugenio Garcia Villarreal reveals how to successfully create and light product shots in LightWave for maximum impact. Discover his top tips and tricks in this free tutorial!


This LightWave tutorial aims to show you the techniques I use in my day-to-day job when making product shots for clients, covering everything from gathering references to color correction and post-production.

1. References

If you haven't got the physical object to hand then re-creating it in 3D is going to be essential. To find good – and big – images of the object in question, I usually search Google images filtering the results by the Large size option. Another good source is Flickr, because you can often find content that can be used commercially with the Creative Commons option.

Once you have the necessary images you can start to weigh up the complexity of the project and plan the modeling stage. I always try to find diverse angles for my final renders to achieve exceptional results. It can also be helpful to rough out some sketches at this stage, to help you plan how you want the model to look and to give you an idea of what the final shot will look like.

1828_tid_ps-001.jpg
Gathering resources

2. Modeling

For the modeling I use simple box modeling for the most part. I only use the Bevel tool, Multishift tool, Knife, Bandsaw and Bridge. I also subdivide the objects to have better detail – in the end, the shaders will do most of the work. I also make use of the Chamfer tool a lot to add little bevels.

The battery I'm modeling here is just a subdivided cylinder. I made some planes to create physical lights, too.

1828_tid_ps-002.jpg
Modeling the battery and casing


3. Layout

Once I've modeled the objects I can proceed to arrange them in the scene. At this stage I work with my camera view to adjust the right angle. I use Monte Carlo Radiosity for my scene.

1828_tid_ps-003.jpg
Putting the separately modeled objects together

4. Lighting

This is a really important step of the tutorial. Right now, I'm looking for good contrast in my scene. I use a main area light with a fill color, and a secondary rim light with a warm color. For the reflections I use an HDRI map to get those great reflections.

The planes I modeled earlier can now be used to achieve white reflections on the metallic surfaces, as well as on the plastic box.

1828_tid_ps-004.jpg
The lighting setup used for this scene

5. Texturing

At this stage I can add the battery logo. I search for an EPS logo and paint simple color textures for the cover of the battery.

For the torch, I use a PSD with white typography on a transparent background. This way I can apply it to the UV of the torch.

For the shaders I use the presets in LightWave with some minor tweaking, such as Noise map, the anisotropic reflections of the map, and blurred reflections at 10% for the box. I only use a high specular level and a strong procedural texture as a Bump map.

1828_tid_ps-005.jpg
The textures used on these products



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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 247381, pid: 0) Panphoto on Sun, 26 January 2014 12:05pm
I agree with the others, it's a great image but the tutorial lacks the detail that a newcomer would require and is therefore more of a fly-through than a proper tutorial. If this is typical of the depth of 3dtotal's tutorials, it's not a good advertisement.
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(ID: 247331, pid: 0) David on Sun, 26 January 2014 2:28am
I've been making some product shots but having great difficulty getting good bokeh (depth of field blur) when using dof. I've tried the post processing filter and having dof on and off in global rendering. I'm not that happy using dof passes and using photoshop as it is still a little fake for me. Can LW actually produce a good photograph product shot with dof or not? David
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(ID: 246807, pid: 0) Doran on Wed, 22 January 2014 6:13pm
Obviously, he has left a lot of the tedium of the modelling project out. I was employed for a long while as an artist making product shots just like this. In fact, I have modelled nearly this exact shot in the past. I'm happy to see someone cover it.
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(ID: 246666, pid: 0) Cesar on Tue, 21 January 2014 11:30pm
Great image. I´d like more info on the models and the materials.
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(ID: 246538, pid: 0) Andrea on Tue, 21 January 2014 5:56am
I think this is a bit too short, at least for a tutorial. Too many things are taken as obvious. As it is now, it is more like a show of the workflow used than an actual tutorial.
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(ID: 246521, pid: 0) Eugenio Garcia on Tue, 21 January 2014 3:58am
Hi Rick. For the materials . I use the preset tab materials i start with the chrome material . I only add texture maps for.the brushed aluminum. in the bump In this render the alpha.channel is in the floor material i added a constant value of 0 on this material helps in the.post production stage because i can do the color.correction of the elements and the.floor by sepparate (i render only one .tga 32 bit file with the alpha
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(ID: 245335, pid: 0) Rick on Tue, 14 January 2014 4:26pm
What is 'alpha 0'? > Later I can split the elements in Photoshop. And how do you split off the separate objects for processing in Photoshop? How are they brought back in for compositing? What transfer layers do you use? What shaders are you referring to doing most of the work? Thank you.
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(ID: 244642, pid: 0) Scott on Fri, 10 January 2014 6:19pm
I would be nice to see more of your settings not a whole lot of info was given on this tutorial..
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