Thanks everyone for the great feedback! Image has been updated in the first post You may need to click Refresh or Reload in your web browser to see it.
Now for the individual replies…
Samoht: Thanks! The hammer is dinged now I realize in my rush to create a variety of nail shapes and sizes that some had gotten a little too shapely so I fixed that.
Fonix Wircs: Thank you. The hammer should now look like it was used a lot. Originally I wanted to juxtapose new tools within an older surrounding, but that concept didn’t seem to go over too well, so I have made many adjustments.
sonix: Yes, I found if I took OSA and Gauss down that the image came out clearer because AA was being added by the zblur plugin – more than I bargained for in the first image. The second image to me seems better in several aspects, including composition and physical focus. The camera angle has been adjusted. I also cropped this somewhat better I think. I appreciate your insight because I admire your work, so thank you sonix for the honesty
E-tek: I was going for a “new tool in old surroundings” scenario, which didn’t go over well, so that has been changed. I actually have a new tool set myself, and the hammer in that set is quite reflective like the original one I posted. The second render looks more like my old hammer now Thanks for the feedback.
basse: You’re right, as always basse Too much zblur. The table texture has been reworked. While it’s not perfect, I’m happy with it. It’s wood with history, wood from my desk actually I reworked the room/background somewhat. Since this render is essentially a detail from a larger scene which will change sometime in the future, I think what’s there right now works okay in terms of composition. Thank you for your insight, basse.
tlustoch: Thank you very much! The screwdriver handle came out better than I hoped. I have some Craftsman tools with handles like that, and it was cool to be able to attain that kind of translucent plastic like that. It took a while to get right. You’re on to something concerning the “easy is difficult” idea, since some of the simplest looking things in art can have much thought and work behind them. This was definitely something like that, because while the idea was simple enough – tools and nails on a workbench – it’s always a challenge to make otherwise everyday objects look fresh and interesting.
BgDM: Thank you so much, BgDM. I toned down the shine and gave the hammer some history. I revised the table texture, and while it’s not perfect I’m sticking with it for now because it achieves what I wanted it to achieve: to look like a place where work had been done. I like carefully applied blur myself. I take a lot of photos, and DOF is an important tool in several ways, including composition. Yet, blur can be a debatable thing, I find, in 3d cg, where somehow because it’s cg a lot of people expect or want sharper images, as if the render could have been taken with a cheap fixed focus camera rather than a good one with variable focus. There was too much blur in the first image, but now with zblur greatly reduced in the second (and final) render I think there’s sufficient indication of depth without sacrificing details. Thanks again for your time and insight, BgDM.
skeletor: Thank you so much, skeletor I appreciate that.
block01cube: Thanks! Blending on indeed
mystery00: Thanks, mystery00!
lilo: Thank you. I wasn’t going for one particular type of nail/tack in this scene, just a random assortment, like ones shown here for example (some of their pictures are squashed though until expanded). I also wanted some screws in there at first but settled on just having nails. In the second render I adjusted nearly all the nails. In the first render my attempts to vary things quickly left some unnaturally shaped nails, whereas in the second and final render things look much more proper.
emk: Thank you very much, emk. The zblur plugin takes into account the clipping start and end of the active camera, so I needed to adjust that I found in order to more properly apply depth of field. I think it’s now clear the focal point is the hammer and that there is a more successful indication of distance through the mild focal blur applied.
skeletor: If it helps, I guess I can be more of an impressionist, I suppose, than a realist at times. Photorealism is not always my first intent. Often I consciously avoid it. I photograph lots of things, but I also like paintings, so sometimes my works take on a more “painterly” essence than photographic, and that would not surprise me which can partly explain why at times I’ll portray something a certain way. Although in this case I had been a little too hasty in introducing variety in the nails in the original render. The final render has more realistic looking nails. Thanks again.
zgm-html: Thanks! The tool boxes are about what they look like in real life, red and shiny, but I’ve made numerous adjustments between the original and the newly updated image above, so hopefully things look much better.
Thanks again, everyone, for your interest in my work.
I think I better get back to my F1 now