Metal Guitar - Modeling / Lighting Study

UPDATE 10/10/2020: You can read an in-depth “Behind the Scenes” article about this project at BlenderNation! Enjoy :metal::sunglasses::metal: :guitar:

This is my second 3D project, and my first big modeling project at the same time. Learned tons of stuff, namely:

  • HDRIs are next to useless in studio lighting situations, especially if you want to achieve precise control over reflections
  • Hard lights are more interesting than soft lights (when you can use them)
  • Photorealism needs to be subtle: it sits on a fine line between clean CGI look and hyper-realism with too much “dirt”
  • Precise modeling from references/blueprints & lots and lots of modeling tricks
  • Complex masking with color ID (guitar body & neck) & using multiple UVs for “decals” (headstock)
  • True displacement for embossed text (tremolo, tuners)

As a sidenote, I’ve been reading the book “Light Science & Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting” while working on this, and it helped me greatly to properly light this tricky model having lots of shiny reflective surfaces. It’s an excellent book, my highest recommendation!

Finally, my main sources of inspiration have been these two absolutely beautiful (and expensive!) instruments from Padalka Guitars:

I’ve also uploaded this to my ArtStation, you can check out my other works there too.


Very nice! Lovely looking axe.

Thanks man :slight_smile:

Quit posting photographs here - this is a 3D forum.

All kidding aside - absolutely amazing work!

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Haha, I take that as a compliment @Safetyman :slight_smile: Glad you like it, photorealism was the goal, indeed!

love the hipshot on the tuners. The attention to detail is unmatched

Thanks @LilTreason, I appreciate it. There are a few things that aren’t 100% accurate but I just gave up after a while… Spent too much time on this already :slight_smile:

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These are maybe the most realistic Guitar renderings i have seen.The micro imperfections like scratches and dust really sells the result even more.Great modeling,great shading,and great lighting.

Wow, thanks @pixelgrip! I’m also a photographer, so my aim was to make it indistinguishable from a photograph. Good to hear that I managed to accomplish that goal!

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Insane work. Renders are perfect for product ads. Extra clean and real.

You really did nail the micro imperfections. And your studio lighting is on point. The literal ONLY thing that tips me off it might not be real is the strings are so low of a gauge it hurts to think about playing that lol! But for real, you nailed it!

Thanks @dogdayfear & @ThorntonStrolia, I appreciate it!

@ThorntonStrolia These were supposed to be standard 9-42 gauge strings, but I actually made them thicker a bit because that looked better on the render. Just checked my real guitar that has 9.5 gauge strings on it (in D standard / drop C), those actually look much thinner :slight_smile: Btw, the lower the string gauge, the easier it is to play (especially bends and vibrato), try it someday. Many people go as low as 8s or even 7s, now THOSE are like playing on strands of hair :stuck_out_tongue:

Lol I love low string gauges but I play 10s or 11s. I can’t do a 9. Long live my 5 boxes of d’darios. I’ve tried but no matter how big my calluses 9s always hurt. Lol :joy:

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You can try Ernie Ball Super Slinky (9-42), those are supposed to be easier on the fingers but I haven’t actually compared :slight_smile:

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I’d say that has more to do with a bad action, I use 9’s on all my guitars are they are super easy to play, I barely have tough skin, never mind calluses and I play every day. :slight_smile: A full setup by a good luthier can transform the playability of a guitar.


Probably. I dont play much anymore. Mostly just occasionally as a vibe these days, but I played daily from the time I was 9 til maybe 5 years ago, had 6 guitars, and I went through every size and every brand of string known to man. I was obsessed with trying new strings. I don’t know why. 15 yearold me thought it was fun LOL. I always loved my d’addario XL 10-46s the most. They just feel right when I play on them.

I don’t play enough anymore to worry too much. All I know is, anything less than a 10 lust looks like it hurts LOL but seriously. @johnnovak You killed this. That really is awesome.

@ThorntonStrolia Thanks again, when a guitarist says it looks like the real thing, that’s the best compliment! I’m a bit like you, I used to be super into guitar playing, but lately I just don’t care much about it. I only play when I need to record some tracks for a song or something, otherwise I just play games and do 3D stuff :slight_smile:

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I particularly like the “hand crafted in blender” detail on the back of the head lol

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Excellent work.

What trigger me is the “Metal” tag with single coil pickups… :-1:t2: :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
Another thing, got the feeling that there’s something off in those pickups’ position.
But I’m not a luther, so as long as you don’t provide us the sound, I guess I have to take this doubt to my grave.

You can get Single coil pickups that are in fact small Humbucker and they are as hot output wise like a Humbucker.

quick search

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