Pencils & other desk stuff

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As it seems logical to me to model stuff i see everyday to get the feeling for realistic modelling (and partly texturing) I started with things that are on my desk. Below is m
First version (seriously WIP)[email protected]/274675203/

Second version

I know that the worst thing in these two images is probably the lighting … but hey it’s IMO the hardest thing to do (right after creation of decent textures). Which is why I concentrated on geometry and procedural materials. I also skipped on AO because it just eats up rendertime.

.blend files are available. Just ask. Same for wireframes (kinda high-density for some) and closeups.


EDIT: And no, I didn’t get the idea for this from the Desk Items: updated (more stuff) thread, i just now read it … some very nice models there :slight_smile:

Nothing seems to be casting a shadow on the ground plane, so some of the items (especially the two foreshortened pencils) appear to be floating. Nice job on the pen (I wimped out and did my fountain pen with the cap on. Damn, now I’ll have to model the nib… :wink: ) The claws on the staple puller seem to extend too far, but perhaps it’s just a different design than the pullers I’ve seen. The eraser colors appear too saturated. Nice beginning.

(EDIT: Oh! I’m crushed! I thought I was being flattered by imitation. :wink: )

New pencil. A closeup/single this time to show the details. Lighting: 3 default point-lights :slight_smile:

@Orinoco: There are shadows, but they are very faint. See just below and left the green pencil pointing towards the viewer. This is becaus I use a few very bright lights. As i said, the lighting is really bad :wink:

staple remover: Yes, there are quite some designs out there, but yoiu are right, i’ll move the handle further to the front.

rubber: i think i’ll post a closeup of this to be sure.

Thanks for your critics, they are most appreciated,

Nice begginning indeed!keep it up!

The lighting needs work though!

I’m using a four point set-up for my lighting. Three of the lights are hemi (no shadows) set fairly low (.150 - .200) to do fill lighting in the shadows. The fourth light is a double sun, (both set to around .400 to .600). One sun is set to diffuse and spec, the other is set to spec only. The spec only sun brings out the highlights in the metal parts, without washing out the scene with too much light.

Thanks for all the comments :smiley:


  • Fixed staple remover. The handle is now in the front.

  • Changed lighting a bit: 2 dim hemi lights (one from top, one for ground-reflection), two bright ‘suns’ (thanks Orinoco) and one default lamp in the camera-position (very dim)

  • Added mechanical pencil to the scene

  • Some material fixes. Most notably the rubber material: it now look better on closeup & from a distance. Also the dull black material for the pen now has a correct (and thus a tiny bit better than before) bumpmap. This can be seen in the lower part of the rubber closeup.
    On my todo list:

  • Still lighting (duh :wink: )

  • Metal material i use for all my metal parts … it looks a bit to ‘grey’. Tips for what i need to change are most appreciated :slight_smile: I don’t want to use any pre-made materials because i want to learn what all the settings do. The only exception is the copper-material of the staples (it’s tweaked though)
    Tweaked scene[email protected]/278964712/

Rubber Closeup


Not much to say here … the materials need some work, they are just default-mats with different colors :slight_smile: … thus the extreme spec.
Just ignore the lighting, it’s a bit too bright anyway. It’s my good old junk setup 3 point-lights (“Lamp”) with default setting except for shadows. Quick to setup (copy 3 times to various locations and turn shadows off on 2) and it shows quite a bit of the model.

Magic marker (WIP)


I’m using a light grey for the aluminum metal ferule on the pencil and the pencil sharpener, with a light blue spec. The accents on the pen are dark brown with yellow spec. The trick I use to make these seem like metal is using a second main light in the scene set to No Diffuse, so I can adjust the highlights. I use Ref in the shader to determine how light or dark the metal body color appears, and the Spec and hardness to adjust the highlights. The defaults work fairly well for painted or plastic surfaces, but when I turn the Spec sun intensity up to bring out the metal highlights, I have to turn the material spec down on the painted and plastic surfaces, and turn down the hardness to spread the highlight out to soften the highlight. The preview set to sphere is very handy for seeing the effects settings have on the highlight.

A lot of the effect of metal is in the lighting and the reflections. It’s not that your metal is too grey, it’s that its not reflecting enough light, so you’ll have to get lighting off the to do list to get the metal looking metallic.

Now i know why my setup didn’t work, I mixed up the settings of the two sun-lights (spec<->diffuse) No wonder I didn’t get the results you described :slight_smile: Thanks for explaining it this detailed, I think I finally understand it completely. I’ll try to fix it in the next image.

Other models to come: Different types of pins and maybe a pencil-holder.


Ok, another update.

The metal looks better already. I may have overdone it with the reflection-value, but better anyway.

Don’t mind the strange ‘shadow’ on the postit right of the rubber … It’s a misplaced postit-sheet (overlapping geoemtry) that i noticed to late. Also the rubber on the postit is to high up in the air :wink:


PS: Anybody noticed the ‘removed’ staple inthe staple-remover? It’s small, but it’s there :wink:

I think I’m near the final image. Here’s the images with some small corrections (postit, staple remover) and some paper clips.


PS: .blend file available. Just ask.

Looks nice. If you want to try a render with AO and ray on.

Ray is already on. I mainly need it for the reflections (and the shadows, but I’d rather use soft buffershadows here :-/)

I enabled AO (with 10 samples, “Both” and “Random”, EDIT: Energy=0.5) in the render below … but it’s only a minor improvement considering the amount of additional rendertime to achieve it (I’m working on a 650MHz CPU here … avery render-minute is eating my productive time i.e slow other applications).


Well, you certainly have a mastery of modeling and materials. But compositionally speaking, you’re sorta shoving all these great models right down my throat. The camera’s shoved so close to the subject that it looks like it could draw pencil-marks on the lens.

Why not pull the camera back a little… give me a little bit of desktop, a bit of setting.

Many thanks for the critics, you are right of course :smiley:
But to defend the images above i have to say that these closeups were intended to show the models, not a complete scenery (mind the ugly box they are located in). I never really realised that these object would jump onto the viewer, but it’s only logical given my current setup :slight_smile:

Just don’t eat solid food until the scars have healed, some of them are kinda sharp/pointy and can produce great pain when forceds trough the throat :wink:

A side-note: I reffered to the last two images as “final images”, but this was only meant for material & light tweaks … sorry if this confused s/b.

Why not pull the camera back a little… give me a little bit of desktop, a bit of setting.
Yeah, i planned to do 2-5 more things (i still need some bigger ones) and a desk to get a decent scene started. The beige half-box is getting lame anyway :wink:

But until then I’ll render some more closeups and maybe a test of the desk. The next updates will hopefully follow tomorrow or on monday.