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View Full Version : Butterfly on Flower: Need Help With Lighting and Whatever Else


TomBurns
09-23-2010, 07:04 PM
Hi everyone:

After recieveing so much great help on a previous project from this thread, I have decided to ask again.

This was done in 3DS Max and.... well... it's just not "there" I don't think.

Maybe it's the lighting which is always a tricky thing for me. Maybe the textures need improvement? Maybe it's just the way the pieces of the disintegrating butterfly wings are falling? Heck, maybe it is all of the above!

I am not sure just what the problem is, really

But if anyone has any suggestions to to improve the reality of this piece, I would really appreciate hearing them.

Thanks so much in advance!

Tom

http://img825.imageshack.us/img825/6224/renderrough.jpg (http://img825.imageshack.us/i/renderrough.jpg/)



Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

tobbew
09-25-2010, 07:20 AM
The lighting seems quite flat. What light setup and what kind of materials are you using? If you don't already I think you should try using sss materials or at least use translucency.

TomBurns
09-27-2010, 06:43 PM
The lighting seems quite flat. What light setup and what kind of materials are you using? If you don't already I think you should try using sss materials or at least use translucency.

Thanks for replying!

I agree the lighting does seem flat.

As for lighting, I am using a target spot way off to the right for the main light source then another target spot on the left and a bit to the back to define the backside of the barbed wire and another narrow spotlight on the left flower leaf.

I am not sure what "sss materials" are. Can you explain what those are, please, tobbew?

catche
09-28-2010, 06:24 AM
I think all the grey also makes it look a bit dull, the grey leaf is sort of unnatural. The background could also be a yellowish green kinda gradient instead of the grey.

Just my two cents.

sgwaterfall
09-28-2010, 11:35 AM
I think all the grey also makes it look a bit dull, the grey leaf is sort of unnatural. The background could also be a yellowish green kinda gradient instead of the grey.

Just my two cents.

I'm guessing the grey leaf is meant to be unnatural ;) i do agree the background doesn't help maybe change it to something that will add more depth, superficial but could help!

I think adding some transparency to the falling wings as well as changing the background could improve it, also the falling parts seem a bit uniform in their shape.

TomBurns
09-28-2010, 04:40 PM
...I think all the grey also makes it look a bit dull, the grey leaf is sort of unnatural....

The leaves are meant to be unnatural (metal) since they are growing out of a barbed wire stem.

But thanks for taking the time to respond.

catche
09-29-2010, 01:04 AM
lol ok sorry about that, but then i'd make them more metal-ish, say more like a brushed metal-thing

stuh505
09-29-2010, 04:50 AM
I feel like this piece is lacking a clear vision. It can be cool to do visual morphs, when there is a metaphorical or coherent idea behind it, but you've got a piece of barbed wire with metal leaves, sprouting a non-metal flower at the top, which is covered in blood, and then there's a monarch with metal abdomen and paper wings..disintegrating into pieces of paper. Where is the common theme in all this? What's the idea behind the piece?

I would like to see a smoother transition from barbed wire to flower, since you've drawn the top of the flower with color perhaps have the top of the stem be painted green and work its way into an actual flower stem so its not just colored petals coming off a piece of metal. And no reason for the blood that I can see.

The background does not look good with this composition. I would try working the barbed wire out of a natural environment, eg a fence around an old farmer's field. I was imagining something in greener pastures with a much better camera angle, using the open space of the field to create a nice composition...I'm sure you could do much better than this random background image I grabbed off the net.

http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/7407/wirefence.jpg

TomBurns
09-29-2010, 05:37 AM
The idea behind this piece was sort of like a predatory/carnivorous plant (like a Venus Flytrap) tricking insects that land on it. To the overhead insects that land on this flower, it looks like a regular flower but the barbed wire and razor-like leaves suggests its true nature. Once the insect lands on it, it finds out too late that the flower just ain;t no good (hence the disintegrating wings).

It's just some weird image I had flash in my mind one day and I am trying to make it work and that is why I am asking for some suggestions here.

I guess the blood-spattered flower petals was overkill. I should just leave them looking like an innocent white daisy.

As for the background... I can see where everyone is trying to go with that but I am having a hard time getting the camera close enough to the flower and butterfly to see the details and I am worried that background elements will fight with the butterfly. I also just wanted nothing in the background because I wanted the image to look like it was taken in a studio and not in a natural environment. Sort of like a photo for an ad rather than trying to mimic a nature photograph. That is why the background is purposefully plain.


But this idea you have presented, stuh505... I like it. I am going to think about doing something like that. Maybe not exactly along those lines but it gives me something to think about for sure.

Thanks very much, stuh505!

tobbew
10-02-2010, 08:04 AM
Subsurface scattering:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsurface_scattering

You use it to get light coming from the back of the object affect the final color, and in the case of the petals and the butterfly I think that's certainly valid.

You could try using physical sun/sky and FG for lighting, at least if it's a still image that's the intended end result.

TomBurns
10-02-2010, 04:42 PM
Subsurface scattering:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsurface_scattering

You use it to get light coming from the back of the object affect the final color, and in the case of the petals and the butterfly I think that's certainly valid.

You could try using physical sun/sky and FG for lighting, at least if it's a still image that's the intended end result.

Ah! Yes, I see what you mean.

Even though I have been doing 3D for a long time, my great weakness is my confusion over technically complex things like all the parameters needed for the Mental Ray renderer. Way too confusing for me but I think this scene requires me to learn it properly.

Damnit. I wish I was an accountant or something. :(

scrawford
10-06-2010, 12:11 AM
If i were you i would get up close and use a heavy depth of field, and it wont matter what you background image is.

Wiro
10-24-2010, 07:15 PM
stuh505 has a good point; what is it you want to tell us with this image? What mood do you want to create?

I really didn't see the barbed wire or metal butterfly until someone mentioned it, I just thought you were doing some monochrome thing. The wire spikes don't stand out much against the background and the butterfly is far too small to see the metal body.

Maybe you should try to zoom in and move the barbed spikes and leaves further up towards the flower to compensate?

Some good lighting and reflection cards will really help this. I can't really give any pointers until I know what mood you're after but you should at least place some bright cards in places to get some nice highlights on the metal, especially the spikes so we can read them.

It's typical for pics like these to be shot with a shallow depth of field so you shouldn't have to worry about the background except for the overall colour and contrast of it which will have an impact on the mood.

Wiro

CPFitz14
11-14-2010, 08:09 PM
I'd suggest using depth of field to help you have an interesting background without having a detailed background. You could likely fake it with a a really blurry background image. Check these pictures as reference:

http://www.google.com/images?q=macro+photography+butterfly&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1350&bih=710

Consider going with dramatic and foreboding lighting and colors. Darker, and bright rim lighting. Rim lighting on the barbed wire paired with a darker background might help the barbed wire stand out a bit more.

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