upcoming project, studio lighting? apple style..

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  03 March 2005
upcoming project, studio lighting? apple style..

hi there, for my upcoming project i am producing a model of a new car that will be available for sale soon, i am producing a interactive cdrom with things like quicktime VR of the car and a feature where the user can change the colour and size of wheels etc..

i am thinking about how i am going to light this model and i want it to look very "studio lit" plain white or black ground with a little reflection off the floor and soft shadows, very similar to how Apple do there products on their website. http://www.apple.com/uk/macmini/

i am after people opinions and if possible some reference on how i can achieve this, are there any tutorials just for this technique?

i am new to 3D and this is my first real project,

many thanks
  03 March 2005

the kind of lighting you are talking about is very commonly used in product photography. It is achieved by using very large lightsources, which means that the light is coming from a wide area.

Photographers do this by placing a softbox over a flash, it's a piece of fabric (like a sheet) stretched out over a square frame. This means that the light seems to be coming from a large square rather than just the small flash head.

Using a softbox creates soft shadows because of the the wide area the light is coming from, and the closer the light is to the object the softer the shadows become. Another property of softboxes is that they create large pleasing highlights, rather than the small hard highlights you get from a smaller light source.

Specifically looking at the page you have linked to, there is nothing special about that lighting. The shadows in the Mac Mini picture are probably Photoshop anyway (they don't look quite right). All you would need to create this lilghting is one large area light above the product. The reflections in that picture have also been carefully managed, it looks to me as if there is a white surface below the Mac and dark reflectors on either side, which is giving definition to the shape of the product.

In real world lighting of cars similar techniques are used, but the lights have to be very big and very powerful to deal with the size of cars. Luckily in 3d you don't have this problem
  03 March 2005
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