Okay, I’ve been asked about the material that I used on the jacks render I recently did, so I decided to post a very brief tutorial on chrome in Blender.
An important thing to keep in mind is that if your metal has nothing to reflect then it will look wrong or washed out if it merely reflects the white sky you have set. Keep in mind that reflections are in large part what makes your picture beliveable.
Don’t overdo reflections without a bump for metal. The jacks I made were supposed to be overly sterile, but metal is not 100% smooth. Get a bump map, even just a low noise size stucci subtly mapped to the nor channel can be sufficient.
For scratches, simply open up your favorite image editing program and make some hairline grey lines in a lighter grey background and map that to the nor channel. While this method is quite simple, it is usually sufficient.
Here are the material settings I used for the jacks. They’re quite simple, but I believe that they worked and conveyed “metal” quite well.
There is no set formula for every situation. Just play with the settings until you know them well, and you’ll be able to make a good material for any occasion.