Lighting & Camera Angle
Before I started playing around with lighting and camera angles, I had a look some of the most famous motor sport websites, such as Sutton Images, Cahier Archive and many others, to study camera angles and composition in order to get the right feel for the speed and excitement of the sport. To begin with, I set up several cameras around the car; low angle, fish-eye, wide angle, birds-eye view, side view, and I made some renders to see which angle came in the best. I then used the initial lighting, which I had already set up previously, and started playing around with the shadow angle, brightness, contrast, and also started testing the reflection with an HDRI map. I had a look at several V-Ray tutorials on the Internet which covered the setups for realistic paint reflections. For Formula One cars, the paintwork is extremely glossy. I tried not to overdo the reflection, because sometimes bad reflections can kill the realism.
Fig17 shows the basic V-Ray material setup for the main body of the car. After I had done the material setup, it was then time to test whether it worked with the environment and camera angle. Sometimes, during a high-speed shot, you don't see much reflection from the car if the camera is not close enough to the car's surface to cause one, so I started by setting up a scene with the camera angle which I had chosen to use for the final render. I used three spheres to test the material; red and white are the main colours of the car, so I picked the texture for the main body and the texture for the front wing to test the reflection. I adjusted the material settings to get it looking right in the scene (Fig15 and 26). I chose V-Ray for the rendering and lighting, and was amazed by the simplicity of setting up the exterior light and HDR for the scene. The main Key light (sunlight) was positioned in the scene and was used to test shadows and the camera angle, and the HDR map was then positioned where the Key light had been placed.
There are a lot of tutorials available on the Internet about setting up exterior lights using V-Ray, and tutorials about HDR, so I won't spend time discussing these processes in this article for this reason (Fig17 - 25).
After all the hard work had been done, it was then time to click the render button and sit back and enjoy the final artwork (Fig26 - 28).