Shiny espresso machine

After seeing a render of this espresso machine on the Maxon site (the creators of Cinema 4D) I just wanted to try this in Blender. So I downloaded a lot of reference images and started modelling. This is the result. The big picture is done with just a single light, the small version below is done with an HRD background.

Although the image with the HDR background looks more interesting, I think the espresso machine is just too shiny in this one. Another change is using a specular map on the floor, but I just have to experiment some more to understand how bump maps and specular maps work.


I think if you used more lights it would improve the render
3 point lighting setup would make it better (rather than one)

and I think you are right - the second one is too shiny (but probably because the floor is so dark)

Nice work. As an espresso freak myself, there’s some minor points you might want to consider.

Espresso machines have a tray in the base to collect overflow or spills. The knob on the front of the base looks like the handle to either the overflow tray itself, or a door that allows access to the tray. Either way, there would be a break in the material. You might have a break there, but if so, it should be a bit more noticable.

The metal grid under the cup lifts out for cleaning. Normally they’d have a finger sized round hole on one side or the other to make this easy to do.

Electrical cord.

Finally, there’s no steam wand. You have the knob that controls how much steam comes out of the wand, you’ve got the switch to heat the water to boiling to make the steam, but there’s no wand.

Part of the allure of espresso is the show that goes on while making it, so I’d think the shinier the better.

Good job. :smiley:

Thanks “waylow” and “orinoco” for your remarks. I agree that I have to improve on the setup of the lights. I think I will experiment somewhat more with the HDR background and ambient occlusion.

Orinoco, you are absolutely right! I forgot to add the steam-pipe (or wand?). I will add this. And you are also right about the tray. I had a separate tray but indeed I must have shifted it so that the seam between the tray and the base of the espresso machine was barely noticeable.

Your explanation about the finger-hole in the metal grid seems logical, but I didn’t see this on my reference images (see below). Perhaps you can push this grid from the inside out once the tray is opened. I do not have this espresso machine myself, I will see if I can find one in a shop to look how this should work.

And the power cord… ahum … I intentionally did not show it as I was afraid that I would not be able to model a convincing cord. I always struggle with things like cords, especially when the cord is bundled up.

Thanks again for you constructive remarks!


Added the steam pipe and improved the seam of the tray in the base of the espresso machine. Still have to improve on the lighting and the scene.


If you want to match the C4D render (I guess this is your reference image just posted two post up), then you will have too gamma correct your render. Right now, the contrast between highlights and textures and shadows is way too strong. And do that before you start tweaking your lighting, the reflectivity and the HDR map. Here is an example of a gamma corrected render. It would be better to do that inside Blender though.


Thanks for your tip. I will try that as soon as I have improved on the scene. I was just gathering some reference images for a power plug today, as I want to see if I can model the espresso machine in an realistic environment, such as a kitchen.

The image in the earlier post is taken of the web. I think it is a photograph, although the following website also shows this red machine in a story about a user of Cinema 4D that was hired to model the machine to be used as an illustration in the operating manual.

A user of Moi 3D has also modelled this machine, see

but I think his renders are not as beautiful as the ones shown on the Maxon site.
On the Moi 3D site several users tried to model this with the Nurbs based Moi application.

I thought it would be interesting to see what can be achieved using Blender.

Thanks again for your advice!


Made a new render today, with ambient occlusion (add/plain setting, 5 samples, constant QMC). I also added a back wall as a start for a more complete scene. I hesitated to put tiles on the back wall, but thought it would be too distracting to have shiny tiles in the background as well. The render starts to take a long time, about 20 minutes on my old Pentium 4 laptop. With ambient occlussion in both/sky texture setting the laptop seemed to lock up. I will experiment somewhat more with the lighting. Furthermore I made a first start with modelling a power plug/socket, but still haven’t figured out how to do this efficiently.


Added a tiled wall as a start for a more complete kitchen. The wall was created by using the array modifier on a single tile. The tile itself is in fact a subdivided cube, to make the edges a little bit round. The material is a combination of a shiny basic material, a cloud texture applied to the colour and a voronoi texture applied to the normal.

I also started a model of a powersocket. I started with a simple plane and extruded that. Then I transformed some of the edge loops into circles. I am not completely happy with the result though, as adding edges for the guide rails on the side of the socket made it somewhat irregular. I don´t know what I will do with it, perhaps start over completely with a different approach.


Since you’re making a single plug outlet, I’d suggest skipping all the details, since they will be covered up by the plug inserted in the socket.

I put my plans for a more realistic scene away and did some experiments with other render engines. I had no luck with Indigo and Yafray. The Indigo renderer crashed on me during the render, with yafaray I only got to dark scenes. I guess I have to study the manual somewhat more :-).

Then I did some experiments with my old Cinema 4D 6CEplus and was really amazed to see a very high render speed. It also seemed to take advantage of my multi-core processor.

Then I thought that what was possible with Cinema 4D in 2003 should also be possible with Blender in 2009, so I redid one of the early renders with a setup comparable to the setup used in Cinema 4D.

The edges of the reflections in the base of the espresso machine puzzle me, the seem a bit jagged. Can someone explain what causes this? Could it be caused by the material that I used, which is a copy of a car paint shader?


After some experimenting I was finally able to get an acceptable, though still not very good, render out of yaf(a)ray. I still have to work out how to apply the decals on the front, as I used a simple decaling technique with empties for this. I think I should have used an UV-mapped texture instead.

Yafaray produces a PNG image with interesting features. If I open it in XnView I get the picture as shown above, if I open it in PictBear (a japanese freeware that supports editing images with layers) I get the image as shown below.

I solved the miracle of the jagged edges I mentioned in my earlier post. The base of the espresso machine was not smoothed or subdivided. In Cinema 4D it was automatically smoothed on import.


Just completed my first render from Indigo. The application crashed during my first trials, but then I found out that I manually had to adapt all materials. Furthermore I had to change the light settings. Here is my first result. I am still not happy with the materials, so maybe I will try again using some of the materials supplied on the Indigo site. I am especially disappointed by the chrome, which does not seem reflective at all.


The last picture doesn’t show up here. Looking forward to your progression. I like this kind of step by step shots of improvement.

Repaired the link to the image, so I hope it does show up now.


Struggled a long time to use Indigo with materials from its materials database. I thought that the main error was that one of the materials, rippled_plastic, contained a material description in an old format. So I went on and on to correct every error the renderer encountered by manually adapting the material files. In the end I just recreated the materials through the Blendigo interface. The result is below. The chrome is now nice and reflective. The only error I haven’t solved yet are this white artefacts, indicated in the image. They do not seem to fade away in subsequent renders, so I do not think it is just noise. I removed all the textures in the material definition of the red paint and that seemed to remove most white dots, but unfortunately not all.
Another error is the black glass of the water container at the back. I checked the normals and they are all pointing outwards. I guess I made another mistake in the materials definition.


Started with modelling a 220V plug (Schuko-Stecker). As you can see the shape is quite complicated. It contains round parts, circular parts, indents, bumps etcetera. This is my second version as I completely abandoned the approach on my first attempt. In the second attempt I tried to start with less vertices as in the process the number of vertices will increase anyway. Afterwards I realised myself that I had made it a little bit too complicated. For example, there is really a round hole behind the pens of the plug, As if anyone would notice… ok lesson learned. But it was a good practice. I used the new ‘skin edge loops’ function which works quite well! There are still some things to be added, such as all certification marks. I will try to do this with a bump map. I haven’t used bump maps since about four years, when I modelled the grooves in a ‘petanque’ ball. So don’t be surprised if it takes me some time.

As you can notice I also have made advances in image editing, as I merged two images together, one where the mesh is visible and one where the mesh is removed. I did this with PictBear, but off course it could also be done with the Gimp.

Oh, almost forgot. Someone mentioned that I shouldn’t model the inside of the outlet as it will be covered by the plug. Well, I really started with a single outlet as this is already difficult enough. I planned to weld two together, as in our kitchen all outlets are dual. And I also consider a scene where the plug is laying around and the outlet is visible in a distance.


Here is my last render using the Blender internal renderer. I think it is not bad at all compared to my efforts with Cinema 4D (ok, very old version), Indigo and Yafaray. The Indigo version is most realistic, but it really takes ages to render, even on my new machine. And I haven’t found a solution for the artefacts. Looking back to my first attempts with the Blender renderer I noticed that the dial was too shiny.


Bromanchu, I think if you want to match the reference, you’re going to want to turn down the shiny a tad, also instead of using base white specularity, the reference has a more orangey yellowy specularity, and it is also much softer. You look like you just have the blender default specularity there, that’s why it looks odd.

I think if you put the hardness of the specularity around 25/30 and set the colour to a baby poo yellow, you’ll be much closer to the reference image. Also, see if you can find a HDRI that isn’t really noisy or busy. Busy HDRI’s don’t go well with small objects.

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