My friend Justin Cary is designing some banners to be used at a convention where a local BBQ retailer will be showing its wares. These banners will be used to segregate floorspace dedicated to specific brands. Justin will be using brilliantly composed and photographed morsels of food as a design element on each banner. Yesterday he asked me if I’d build him a 3D fork to be used in place of the fork that he photographed, as he wasn’t really in love with the way the fork he used had photographed. He also suggested I take the occasional screenshot and document the how’s and wherefore’s to share the process, so here we go.
The first step was to find a fork to use as a reference, so I went to the break room and grabbed a basic metal fork and brought it back to my office to photograph it for reference. When you’re modeling an object 3D, it’s very useful to minimally have a front-facing and a side-facing photograph to load into your 3D modeling program and build your model right on top of the reference photo. Here are my two reference photos, after loading them into photoshop and making sure the fork is identically sized between the two photos.
And here you can see I’ve begun the modeling process. Obviously this is just the top of the fork, from a few different views.
In this next couple of photos, you’ll see that the handle has taken shape for the most part, now I just need to fit it to the reference photo along the Y axis.
The fork is mostly complete now, but after looking at some test renders I’ve decided I want to add a bit of a raised detail to the handle, just so it has a bit more dimension. You’ll see that edit happening in the second photo.
Next up, lighting. I used a technique called HDRI lighting to give the fork some realistic reflections. Essentially HDRI is a technique for applying a panoramic style photograph to the 3D program’s virtual environment, and using that panorama to inform the program how to light your scene. The white dome you see behind the fork does two things: first, it acts like seamless background that makes it easy to separate an image from its background, and it adds a slight amount of light to the sides of the fork.
And here’s the completed render that Justin could use in his design, both with the seamless white background, and with the background knocked out in Photoshop.
And here’s our new fork after compositing into the original photograph to replace the practically shot fork, along side the original photo.
Finally, just for fun, I wanted to see what the fork would look like on a plain white surface so I could see some shadows with it… We’ll call it a beauty shot. Yes, you can have a beauty shot for a fork that only exists in a computer ;-) The shots you see here are composing the shot in my 3D program, and the final render. Enjoy.