Beginner 3.1.2: Lights for engraved text (and some beginner this and that)

Context: Besides doing tutorials, I try to pick some item from what clutters up my desk and try to model/render it. (Well, it’s a plan)

I have this external backup disk on my desk. Seems easy enough. Basically just a small black box. But I tried to get the details right just to practice. So I struggled with the bump mapping, the rounded corners and the engraved text.

Now I’m struggling to do the lights right. To best see the surface structure and the engraved text. Like in this photo:

So this how it looks like in solid mode:
Screenshot from 2022-05-12 20-35-34

And that is the best I can get rendered:
Screenshot from 2022-05-12 20-35-59

I had to pull up specular up to 1 to get that, and I don’t think that the original material is like that.

Some best practices for settings the lights to emphasize the engraving?

how do you have your lighting setup now?

I started with the given one point light and tried to move that around for improved results. Added a second point light and tried various angles. Tried an area light from top/front and sides. Nothing really seemed to improve the rendered image. Went back to one point light and tried to find the best spot for that. But I kind of feel lost just adding random lights and pushing them around to see what happens.

Is it ok to upload small blender projects here for reference?

i believe so, yes

exthd.blend (999.4 KB)

looks like your letters just need a bit of a bevel to catch the light

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Did you do some sort of remesh before that as well?

nah, just applied the boolean for the inset letters and then CTRL+B bevel on the loops at the top of the insets, and cleaned up some of the wacky results in the crook of the S. There are obviously better ways to do it than my approach.

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Not obvious to me, but thanks for looking into it. I’ll try to play with the beveling of the letters.