Material/Lighting Advice for a standalone object

Hi everyone,

I’m new to Blender and 3D modeling as a whole, and I currently have about 2 weeks worth of experience and I’ve been familiarizing myself to the extensive functions available. I’ve been messing around for a while and my first project I’ve decided to make is a Charizard sword based off of a 2D picture I found online. I would like some advice on how to set the material/lighting to make my object look a bit more polished, similar to the style found here:

Because this is my first project and I’ve still yet to get the hang of 3D modeling as a whole, the model itself may not be that great. Here are a few pictures of what I have:

Even though this post is focused on material/lighting, any advice on how to make future meshes more efficient, that would be great as well!

If I need to provide more pictures of different settings, or if I need to fix something formatting-wise to comply with forum rules, please let me know, as I’m new to Blender and this community.

Thanks so much for any help!

Try to make the glossy shader’s color whiter and the roughness at 0.2 or 0.3

A good starting place for lighting a single object would be to know about what it known as Three Point Lighting (Google gives quite a few link up front)

You can download different lighting setups from blendswap

Note that is you have reflective materials you need something in the world from it to reflect, that could be emission planes or some image assigned to the world background

First, I need to understand your goal

You can’t mix realistic lighting with a stylized looking model

Yes, charizard looks cool, for an anime cartoon, is he going to look good in still image standards, eh… maybe

If you really don’t want to refine the model any further I suggest going the stylized route(Freestyle rendering)

But if you are willing to go with realistic lighting
I suggest you start sculpting and uv mapping
creating custom textures for the subsurface scattering

You know, the hard stuff

you can always go down the stylized route like well, the example is literally already in this thread
(even though I personally think that the dragon would look better if not for the procedural texture, just saying.)

Or you can go for broke with stylization and apply effects in a paint program that would make it look like a painting (which can actually be quite good at hiding simplistic design due to the additional detail provided by simulated brush strokes).

Though if you don’t want to go that route with stylization you can just enable the use of Blender’s freestyle engine.

Thanks to everyone for the tips and advice!

Thanks for the response! I feel now that the word “realistic” might not have been the best word to use. Rather, my goal was to give my object a metallic and polished look rather than an “in real life” look, which I agree would definitely be tough when dealing with an animated character. I experimented a little with the three point lighting system, and that seemed to work somewhat, but the I feel as if the shaders I used didn’t give off that polished and metallic look that I wanted.