Published: 21st December 2018
This aim of this project was to model and render realistic jewelry rings, similar to those commonly seen in advertisements. Since rings are impressively elegant with a lot of character I decided this would be an interesting and challenging area to focus on.
I collected a range of references for this project to inspire my modelling, texturing, lighting and camera position. I researched how photographers light jewelry, so that I could apply those methods in my 3D software and HDR Light Studio.
The first challenge of the project was modelling the rings. I have no previous experience creating any type of jewelry and was unsure of the best pipeline and software to use. After some research I found a great plug-in for Rhino called RhinoGold. This piece of software is specifically built for creating jewelry and rings using a CAD database which generates different ring types, with editable settings to change and alter this base shape.
RhinoGold has a range of tools that allow you to add more detail and personality to the ring, thus making it more unique, rather than a pre-created mesh with modifications. As RhinoGold is a completely new software to me I used a range of tutorials which taught me how to create and modify the rings with added details and features.
Some of the tutorials I found useful are:
The next challenge when creating my rings was the materials, a difficult task as rings have diamonds, gems, gold and silver surfaces which can look fake or CG generated if the materials lack realism. I decided to move to 3ds Max and V-Ray at this stage as I have used V-Ray quite often for material generation and felt at home there.
I initially tried using refractive materials and didn’t quite get the right results, so I decided to look for tutorials that could help me find which elements I needed to add or change. I came across a very useful tutorial online for advanced refractive material and improved my results noticeably: https://vimeo.com/66381086
Although the aforementioned tutorial improved my results, I still felt that the realism was lacking from the materials and scene set-up. Luckily, I found a purchasable tutorial that included all the aspects I needed to solve the realism problem, which can be purchased here: www.aversis.be/tutorials/vray/vray-20-render-jewelry-tutorial-diamond-rendering.htm
I noticed that my silver material was lacking the brushed imperfections that can be found in the real world, which resulted in less realism when rendered. I used a method of trial and error with a combination of roughness, noise, bump and displacement maps to get the necessary imperfections. This tutorial also helped improved my material further: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSGOzl1RWZs
HDR Light Studio is perfect for lighting jewelry as it handles detailed scenes with speed and efficiency, whilst providing constant feedback when painting lights. The flexibility of HDR Light Studio allows you to use reference images and match the lighting by eye which enabled me to focus on what lighting worked with my scene and add character to my images.
The functionality of the area lights also allowed me to scale and position lights closer to the model highlighting specific areas without effecting the rest of the scene. This approach enabled me to add more finesse to the scene.
To improve my render I used the bloom effect within 3ds Max and V-Ray, which added a lens effect to my render, softening the highlights. This provided a fall off to the glare generated from the bloom, adding a slight glow on the brightest areas from the lights. I used the Chaos Group documentation to guide me through the settings and controls because I have never used the bloom in 3ds Max and V-Ray before.
I found the jewelry project a useful, exciting and rewarding task, which provided me with numerous challenges and opportunities to learn valuable and transferable skills. I was able to utilise new software like RhinoGold to create the rings, as well as learn new material/shader skills for jewelry that I can use in future projects. I am very happy with the final results as they demonstrate a higher standard than I thought I could achieve for my first venture into this type of 3D creation and development.