Hoping to improve blender proficiency


I’m really keen to improve at all aspects of 3d artistry, and I’m hoping that some of the artists around here would be happy to provide feedback on some of the things I’ve made.

over the next couple of weeks my goal is to create and post a small ‘sketch’ here every day or two, and hopefully get helpful feedback on these.
I’m interested in criticism or advice on any aspects of the images at all; lighting, texturing, modelling, compositing (and anything else I’ve forgotten) are all things I want to be better at.

but to begin with I’ll share something from fairly recently:

this is a metal bird that sits on my desk.

one question in particular:
is there a nicer way of presenting simple models like this without having to actually create very much extra content?

your comments are very much appreciated. Thanks!

Another recent render. Still hoping for any advice or criticism at all.

I’d like to dust flour over the bench top and the dough, but I can’t think of a good way to do this. Particles, maybe? or just an image texture?
Does anyone have a suggestion?

just finished this one.

I hear your plaintive requests for advice and wish I were knowledgeable enough to give some!! Good work, no idea how best to improve it!

I’d say an image texture would work well for the flour. You can take a black cloth or paper and sprinkle some flour over it in the pattern you like, then you can luma key the black out, leaving you with flour with color and alpha. You can even add a bump or normal map using the color map converted to greyscale to give it a little more dimension.

Best of luck!

Did you use cycles for these? The last to look like you did, but the first one looks like BI. Anyway, for presenting a render, if it does not have any gloss(not spec spec, gloss like the first image), you can just light it with a sun lamp, change the background to black(or whatever color you like, I find black works pretty well for making the model “pop”), and there you go, it should look pretty good. If it has some gloss, I would light it with planes(only applys to cycles) so you get good reflections, the planes will make it look nice, if you just used a sun lamp or point, you would not get “shiny” feel.

For adding flour to the dough and wood, I would for sure use an image texture. The dough looks kinda hard, if it where me, I would add some SSS(there are some tutorials out there for using SSS in cycles, if you don’t know how), and a bump map for sure, the bump map I think would help a LOT. I would make it a noise bump map,and maybe use a scale value of around 20, you would need to play with it to get what you want though.

I came across this thread as I was searching for a solution to the same problem - how to add sprinkled flour to my scene. After a lot of googling and experimentation I came up with this node setup which worked pretty well for me. For an image texture I used a noise texture I grabbed off the internet. I took it to photoshop, inverted it and added some randomness by messing with the black and white areas so that it would’nt look square when rendered (in blender I used a plane to map it on to). The node setup probably contains a few unnecessary steps, but since it works, I don’t feel the need to change it. I’m posting a screenshot with the node setup, and if requested I will also post the .blend file. Hope it helps!

For simple objects, a nice way to display them is on a floor plane that curves up into a wall plane. Make it a gentle curve and give it a simple material. This will get away from the cliche object sitting on a plane presentation, and the back wall will reflect some light onto the back of the model, softening the shadows and, if the plane has any reflective color, putting a bit of colored backlighting on the model. The key light will also not light the plane uniformly (since it is curved) adding a subtle gradient to the background.