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Where Music meets Fine Art

By Gábor Miklós
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Date Added: 22nd December 2009
Software used:
3ds Max

Here are a few things about lighting that I'd just like to mention at this point:

  • For diffuse light it is better to use a desaturated light blue color, and for directional it is better to use a yellow one.
  • Turn off the "Affect reflection" and "Affect specular" buttons.
  • The directional light needs to look at the object you wish to light, and needs to be double-sided. The diffuse needs to be looking at the hemisphere and the double-sided option should be off... (You can, of course, use caustics with type 1 lights too. It depends on which is better for your scene).

  • The most important thing of all is to exclude all other objects on the Diffuse light option except the light hemisphere (Don't exclude if using Type 2 light)

The next thing now was to put the lights in the correct places in my image. The lights that I wanted to see from the reflections were diffuse lights (I tried to find a place and size where I could see them from the reflections). The directional light was a good choice to generate nice, smooth shadows and caustics. I put them beside the model, or more then 45 degrees from perpendicular, and it gave a very nice result, as you can see in Fig.18.

238_tid_3dsmax_guitar_modeling18.jpg
Fig. 18

I want to point out one thing at this point: to get a realistic look for reflections it's a good idea to use 5-10 light sources and try to cover more than 50-60% of the places where there is no light. With this method there will only be a few percent of dark places on the reflections, which is just as much as it really needs.

You can also use other shapes to make a nice, realistic reflection. If you changed to a flat shape then you can easily simulate a wall or something else ...  you can make a plane and light it from the bottom edge or you could put two or more lights aside so that it looks like a window from the reflections.

Here is the lighting combination that I used for my rendered scene (Fig.19).

238_tid_3dsmax_guitar_modeling19.jpg
Fig. 19



Post Processing

I used HDRI to save the raw renders. It's the best format to save your images in because it has 32bits/channel information from your renders. Of course it gives you a little bit of an interesting result when you load it into Photoshop, but that's quite easy to prevent. Sadly Photoshop can't make any procedures with this format so you have to change the color depth to 16bits/channel. With this method you still have 65536 colors/channel so you get very, very good gradients.

The next step was to correct the colors and make the picture natural. I used exposure and Blending methods to accomplish this, mostly Multiply, Overlay and Scene. I rendered down the ZDepth pass in 3ds Max and then I used Lens Blur to make DOF. I put Chromatic Aberration on to the picture with great care - you just have to feel it and not see it. I also put a very fine glow on to the highlighted places and some color correction.

That's all you have to know about this picture! I hope you enjoyed this Making Of and found it useful (Fig.20).

238_tid_3dsmax_guitar_modeling20.jpg
Fig. 19




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