Replicating A Jigsaw Piece (Shadow & Material Q)


I am trying to create the following jigsaw piece in blender:

While the shape and model was trivial I am having some trouble getting the ultra-soft shadow and the titanium/steel blue coloured top.

I have played around with different light types, positions and intensities as well as different reflectiveness values to no avail. Would someone be able to point me in the right direction? seems to be quite useful, but I am unsure what kind of illumination I need to get the desired effect.

Here is my blend file:

Regards, Freddie.

Hi. I can’t believe you didn’t get a reply yet. Possibly it was overlooked because your enquiry is more ‘Texturing and Lighting’ than ‘Basics and Interface’.
I don’t have a great deal of expertise to draw on but I can tell you what I do know.
Firstly the shadow in your reference image is almost certainly post process. The artist probably drew around the object with a feathered border and copy/pasted onto a white background. However, the info you have on lighting is a pretty good start; area lights and skydomes both give soft shadows. Something else you might want to look at is HDRI(High Dynamic Range Image) Lighting; basically applying an image texture to the world background which Blender then uses as a light source. As the lighting is more or less 360 degrees it gives a very natural looking result. Paul Debevec’s website is a good starting point for these. -
On object colouring you probably know that the world backgound tends to colour cast objects but if you use ‘Ramps’ to colour the object it gets a great deal less colour cast from the world background. Other than that it’s just a case of experience from trial and error and tutorial. Sometimes it helps to do a websearch on your chosen material to see how other people achieve their solution. Perhaps have a look at for inspiration.
I spent a few mins on this, I’m sure you can improve it:- colouring is very subtle.
Hope this helps.