New blender user - First product animation

Hey Guys,

New to blender, and looking for some feed back. I’ve spent 2 weeks getting up to speed on how to use blender, as I am an engineer by trade.

My goal was to produce some fly by animations for marketing material, so we can show case our equipment and have a really good look around at the details of the machine.

I realize this is a different style to what I see a lot of folks on here rendering, but I appreciate that you all have a eye for the aesthetic.

Any and all feedback is appreciated.


Nice start. :smiley:
If you want to improve it I think the most important thing to do would be the lighting.

However, this is not the easiest scene to light as it is relatively complex. You have the object itself, you have the background and then there is the rail which connects the object to the background.

It would probably be better to practice lighting with a relatively simple object without animation and then move on from there.

Thanks! It has been a lot of fun learning how to use the program, its really amazing. I have a long way to go before I really start maximizing its potential.
Starting to see the community around it, is also quite excellent!

You got me… I’ve been really struggling with the lighting. This animation was probably done 10 times, and this was my best attempt yet (I think?)
I’m struggling between showing to much, and not enough. Reading lots, and watching tutorials but having trouble optimizing it for the entire scenes, I get one small section optimized, but as I move around more it just doesn’t hold up!

For lighting I always suggest:

Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter by James Gurney
It looks like it is not for these types of industrial visualisations at all but I make most of my money with industry vis and this book helped me a lot.

Other good reads are photography books.
Andreas Feininger - The complete photographer
for example.

But before that you can look up a few quick lighting techniques such as three point lighting, backlight, split light and so on, on the internet and apply that. It is easy and delivers quick results which are likely to be motivating.

I have recently been learning about HDRI environment lighting. It’s pretty cool, and an easy way to get the “general mood” of the scene.

Here’s a pretty good explanation:

Near the end they talk about “hiding” the actual image.

Here’s my shader for that:

Thank you for the suggestions. Will be picking up a copy, it seems like it is really focused on the fundamental properties of light and color. Seems like a good, timeless book.

HDRI is very useful and it is easy to make good renderings. It is a tool that every 3D Artist needs to know.

However, knowing how to plop an hdri in the world shader teaches you nothing about lighting.

Interesting, early on I played with the HDRI’s a bit.
These machines are typically inside a building, so I wanted to keep everything inside. The building seems to block out the HDRI lighting effects, where it really counts!
You got me thinking though, maybe ill “open” the roof to trick it into letting the HDRI light the interior. Will test this out next, thanks!

Would it be fair to say, the HDRI can serve as a good base level of lighting, that additional lights could then enhance further?

Sometimes but sometimes not. Sometimes a single hdri is enough. Sometimes you don’t need an hdri at all and sometimes you will want to use a mix of hdri, lamps and emissive shaders.

HDRI are great if your light and refletions are comming from the whole surrounding. This is very difficult or impossible to simulate with lamps.
But for studio light setups which are often used in product vis hdri are sometimes counter productive because you want your light to fall in a very specific way.
But sometimes they are useful because they can provide nice reflections which you would otherwiese have to build some sort of environement for.
Of course there are plenty of studio light hdri and they can be very useful. But they are also very inflexible.

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I appreciate your explanation. There are so many idiosyncrasies regarding lighting.
What type of industrial visualizations have you worked on? Could you share any that you are really proud of?
Starting to see it as my mission now to “follow the rules”, but also develop a unique style.
Going to keep learning, play around, and tweak things.

Before I learned about HDRI (2 or 3 days ago), I made several videos that are set in a tavern. The building is simply a cube with everything inside of it.

I was surprised when the HDRI did not get blocked, because I thought that it would.

I figure its because the walls are simply faces and not entire closed meshes. I will continue to learn.