Lighting Challenge #4: Bottle Collection


This is an old challenge now, this thread is archived. If you scroll down to the Challenge #4 section of the downloads page, you’ll see that the models can still be downloaded for your tests, and also that a gallery has been made of top entries. Feel free to browse this thread to see what others have posted, even though you can no longer post here. Models are available for download here:


The challenge is just to download the files and show how well you can light and render the scene. You can use any software you want. It can be any location, lighting situation, time, mood, or style of image.

Most of the objects in the .obj file will need some subdivision (polygon smoothing) before you render. All shading and rendering techniques are fine. The rules are to have fun, make a cool rendering, and share how you did it afterwards. (If you want more detailed rules, see [this thread]( .) Here's a screenshot of the scene:
[i]Those bottles need your shaders and lights - can you help them?[/i]



WEEEEEEEEE!!! *pretends to get started
Sounds like fun! --gonna get started right after I play some games :slight_smile: …at least I’m honest

Edit: This is an outdoor scene then, right?


I never knew there was lighting challenges in here…
I’ll have a go at it and see how far i can go


Thanks Jeremy, I will give it a try :slight_smile:


That probably depends how you render it. If there’s sunlight streaming in through the windows and bottles, or an outdoor view through the windows, then the bottles are indoors. If the view through the window looks into a building, or you can’t see through the windows but the reflections are of an outdoor environment, then the bottles would be outdoors. I doubt everyone will agree on this, anyway.



Maybe if previous challenges were plugged in front page that would attract more people !


Let’s make that a goal for this one: if a lot of people post some terrific renders of the bottles, this thread could easily become front page material. I know I can count on you, Lazzhar, you’ve made great images for all the challenges so far. I’m going to do some renders with the scene myself; I haven’t decided what yet but I’ll be a participant some time this week.



I’m struggling with the refractions of the bottles rather than the setup of lighs…


sapienz…here is a list of some index refractions

Alcohol - 1.329
Crystal - 2.00
Emerald - 1.576
Glass - 1.51714
Glass, Albite - 1.4890
Glass, Crown -1.520
Glass, Crown, Zinc - 1.517
Glass, Flint, Dense - 1.66
Glass, Flint, Heaviest - 1.89
Glass, Flint, Heavy - 1.65548
Glass, Flint, Lanthanum - 1.80
Glass, Flint, Light - 1.58038
Glass, Flint, Medium - 1.62725
Ice - 1.309
Mercury - 1.62
Plastic - 1.460
Ruby - 1.760
Water (gas) - 1.000261
Water 100’C - 1.31819
Water 20’C - 1.33335
Water 35’C (Room temp) - 1.33157

I just copied it from a tutorial by leigh over in the texturing forums…if you want to look over the entire tutorial, it goes over quite a bit of transparencies and refractions, you can find it here. I hope that that may help give you some direction to head in…

Good luck with your scene.



Also make sure you have enough trace depth! The number of refraction steps (in the shader, and in your render settings) needs to be at least 6 or 8 in a scene like this. It defaults to just 1 or 2 in most software, so fix it in the shader and render settings. For shadows, also check the number of steps or rays in the light, to make sure you can see the shadows through the refractive glass.



I want to try a nighttime scene. I have lots to do, but still but wanted to play with lighting. I have been experimenting for a few hours now. Here is a test.

Next up I need to finish isolating and surfacing all the bottles. The isolation will take a bit of time since the bottles have thickness for the refraction.


Got a chance to spend a couple of hours on this today but unfortunately this is probably all that I am going to get done for the weekend, so I figured that I would post where I am at so far and see what sorts of comments people have on it…please feel free to critique away…it is far from finished, but a place to start at least…thanks again!



Of course there’s a Klein Bottle in the scene! Mr. Birn would have us all doing refraction through a physically impossible 1-sided surface!

Brian - Nice start, man! If there’s a biggie issue to work on it’s adding definition so you can see the forms of the transparent bottles where they all overlap near the center. luv how the different bottles are getting different materials.

I’m going to give this one a try! I just got Mr. Birn’s new book in the mail, too, it seems like an ideal time to refresh everything I’m doing with lighting techniques.



More experimentation. I have isolated the bottles as a group. I am trying to decide what I want to do with them.

My lighting has a blue cast to it, but I believe my background image is too saturated.

I need to try some colored glass on some of the bottles and deal with the background image.

Please comment or critique, I am learning.




Alright, so I lied…I pulled myself back to the computer for a few more hours and made a few changes…I’m out of town tomorrow though and then it is back to work on monday, so I am not quite sure when I am going to get some more time to work on it, but I would love some feedback/suggestions for when I do some get more time, if people are willing…

Looking forward to seeing other entries in the next few days!

Thanks again.



Alright, so I lied…I pulled myself back to the computer for a few more hours and made a few changes…I’m out of town tomorrow though and then it is back to work on monday, so I am not quite sure when I am going to get some more time to work on it, but I would love some feedback/suggestions for when I do some get more time, if people are willing…

Looking forward to seeing other entries in the next few days!

Thanks again.


Brian, I like the colored glass you have set up. What renderer are you using?

I played around with the ray recursion limit and it seems if I drop it down to 6-8 the glass gets very dark. The last post it was set at 16 and my computer was crying on that render.

What limit or value do you use?



I am using xsi with mental ray as the renderer…I am not looking at my scene right now, but I believe that I have the ray depth set at 12…I don’t believe that it is getting through quite all of the glass, but it is pretty close. I think that to be able to get through all of the glass you are going to need a higher setting than 6 or 8, but maybe not quite as high as 16…The render times actually aren’t really all that bad right now (I think it took about 5 min to render my image…) , but my lighting set up is pretty simple still…just a few detail shadowmapped spotlights and a point light without shadows, no GI or caustics.

Anyways, good luck with your scene, looking forward to seeing your progress.

Thanks for the comments as well.



That looks like a good start. I like how you have some etching on one of the bottles.

I don’t know if the background is too saturated; maybe the background’s fine and the lights motivated by it just need to be more blue. Maybe the lights coming through the window could be a focused moonlight that casts relatively crisp shadows, plus a blue sky fill that’s much softer. Then you’d just need some fill/bounce from the inside and some reflections of the room onto the bottles. The window trim looks like it’s getting a flat ambient light or constant shader of some kind, some shading there would help.

It helps to keep the same shader on all the bottles until you are happy with it, before you clone it around and add variety. That way you can work on issues like making the bottles cast shadows, etc. all at once, and only adjust separated shaders for fine-tuning.



Those bottles are looking good!

There’s a need for some sky/fill light coming through that window. It looks now almost as if all the light is coming through the window from the same angle, when really it looks bright outside and you’d expect soft illumination spilling in from the whole rest of the sky, not just the sun.

I think some of the raytraced shadows need a greater ray depth. RIght now the trim along the lower base of the window is brighter in a few areas where you see it thorugh the bottles than where you see between or around them, making me think there’s a shadowing bounce light that needs its shadows to be visible through more layers of refraction.

Looking forwards to more!



Microphone check one,…

Hey guys heres my first test. Im sure all of you with the mental rays and vrays and brasils are going to kick my glasses ass but here goes Maya Software. Im planning to test this with Renderman for Maya too. What a tedious assignment though : )

link to 2k render