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.
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.
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.
Modeling the battery and casing
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.
Putting the separately modeled objects together
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.
The lighting setup used for this scene
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.
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The textures used on these products