First of all I want to introduce myself, because this is the first tutorial I've ever done. My name is Arvid Schneider and I have been working with 3D applications for almost 6 years now. I started with 3ds Max and after two years I changed to Maya because it was the university standard I had to adopt. To be honest, I didn't learn anything new at the university (not because I know everything; because the university was really bad), so I had to train myself. My aim is always to achieve photorealistic results, first with mental ray and now with V-Ray.
For my final university project (my BA studies) I wanted to do something special in 3D. The aim of this render was to create a survey mixed with several kitchen interior photographs, where architects, photographers and interior designers had to choose which of these images are CG or photographs. After the analysis of the survey I had to prove that it is possible for any 3D artist who is not working as a professional to create a photo-real rendering. The BA topic got approved and I started with this project, which had to be finished within 7 days.
In this tutorial I'm going to be focusing on shading, rendering and lighting the scene.
Gathering the Reference Image
To get an accurate lighting result I first had to look at some reference images to see how the lighting works in an interior scene (Fig.01 - 03).
I took all the photos with a Canon camera and shot in RAW format. It was important to get all the information about the location, so an accurate scene could be visualized. Another very important aspect is that I shota 360 degrees panorama and used several different exposure settings to get the complete light spectrum. Afterwards a HDR image was created, which I used later on for an environment GI, Reflection and Refraction map in V-Ray.
I started out with the blue material. A noise texture was created in Photoshop, and the rest was done in Maya. I changed some parameters the way my "gut-feeling" told me was right, and with some trial and error I got a result that I was happy with.. The important V-Ray material settings look like this (Fig.04a - d).