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John E

Need Help with Plastic Texturing (LEGO)

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Hello all C4D gurus! I am in a bit of a knowledge pickle with regards to some texturing and lighting I am trying to work on, and I was hoping you all could help me. I was trying to decide if this topic best fit in textures or rendering, but I figured I'd try my luck here first.

 

The project I'm working on in question is to render a model I am animating in a realistic style that looks very close to how LEGO really looks. I have tried many different techniques over the last few weeks, but nothing has quite nailed down the photo-realistic look I am going for. Here is an image of where I am at currently:

lego_texture_tets.png

 

In order to better help you all out, here is a description of my current tech/render/texture setup and specs:

 

C4D Version: R13.061 (old, I know, but can't afford to upgrade)

Plastic Texture Settings Example (used by grey plastic that composes 99% of the model):

  • Color - Standard w/ slight fresnel gradient from light grey to lighter grey & mix-mode multiply
  • Diffusion - Noise texture, mix mode normal, mix strength 15%
  • Reflection - Brightness 15%, Fresnel texture w/ physical turned on, mix strength 20%, blurriness 5%
  • Specular - Mode plastic, Width 30%, Height 45%, Falloff 4%, Inner Width 0%

Render Settings:

  • Renderer - Physical
    • Sampler - Adaptive
    • Sampling Quality - Custom
    • Sampling Subdivisions - 4
    • Shading Subdivisions (Min) - 2
    • Shading Subdivisions (Max) - 5
    • Shading Error Threshold - 5%
  • Ambient Occlusion
  • Global Illumination

 

I am MORE than happy to share my other settings/scene details with anyone as well, just ask away! The scene is lit by a circular light array (sort of light a light-box), with one or two brighter directional lights to make the plastic look more realistic.

 

Any help would be VERY much appreciated! Thanks in advance!

 

- John

 

 

 

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Lego is quite shiny as I recall, so the first thing I'd check is that you are using a high contrast HDRI applied to a sky object to get those sort of realistic reflections picked up by the objects in your scene... then I think your reflection level of 15% is a bit low - I'd be aiming more for the high 30s I reckon.

 

Unless you have a specific reason for using it, I would turn GI off as well - that can often add a 'softness' to scenes that won't necessarily add to realism here.

 

CBR

 

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  • Good points. I SHOULD mention that the background HDRI is currently actually a high-contrast star-field, as this is actually the top of a space ship, and the background is later replaced with a moving star-field in post. I suppose I COULD use a different HDRI for the model, but I don't know if it would adequately represent the environment it is in. Here is what it looks like currently after GI is turned off, the reflections up to 30%, and the HDRI's contrast is boosted a bit:

    lego_texture_test_2.png

     

    Please continue to send tips!

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    If we're in space, then the should be massive sun somewhere right ? The stars won't help much but the sun could, so I'd make sure it was somewhere behind the camera so that you see it in reflections to best effect. What is also working against you is lego being largely flat surfaces, so the opportunities for seeing those refs is limited to the round bits unless you can set angles that put the sun or other luminants within the reflection view of the large flat areas.

     

    The other thing that is detracting from realism is the perfection in everything. Even if we imagine that this lego did actually get to space somehow without disintegrating, it would surely be covered in a liberal layer of exhaust detritus / dust and general filth that is entirely absent from the image so far, but would that compromise the look you are going for ?

     

    Additionally I'm not sure that 'all the greys' are the colours that instantly make people think of lego, so you may be losing a bit of psychological reinforcement there too, although of course I accept that if it has to be grey, it has to be grey...

     

    CBR

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  • I have actually been looking for a good way to add scratches/dust to the bricks in this model, but I haven't been able to find a technique that really works. The problem of course is that there are well over 1000 pieces in the model, and if I were to just apply a bump map to the texture I am applying to the grey elements, all the bricks would have the exact same scratches and a tile effect would ensue (NOT what I want :p). If you know of a way to adding unique weathering/scratches to the bricks where it is randomized from brick to brick, please let me know! This has certainly been something I have been trying to crack for a while.

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    Hi,

     

    Turn off The ambient occlusion too, that always adds a fake look to the scene . It's the boole of lighting! Absolute rubbish for realism.

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  • OK, so I've been trying some different techniques, thanks to your tips. For off, I tweaked some of the reflection settings and added a light behind the camera to add more depth to the scene. I think it really helped:

    lego_texture_test_3.png

     

    However, when I tried ion's advice about removing AO, the results were...not so great. IMO, it looks very fake and CG. But, just to get your input, here is what THAT looks like:

    lego_texture_test_4.png

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    Re scratches and whatnot, yes, you should be able to use a totally separate material for your scratches and whatnot, which means it can be assigned over the top of other materials (and whole groups of objects), and have its own independent mapping. Obviously that is contingent on you using an alpha mask so you can still see the texture underneath.

     

    CBR

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  • I knew about how to do that, it would just be insanely time consuming, given the 1000+ pieces on this model. I was asking if there was a way to create an alpha mask texture that randomized its design on each object it was applied to. That way I wouldn't have to design/adjust soooo many textures for each brick.

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    10 hours ago, John E said:

    I knew about how to do that, it would just be insanely time consuming, given the 1000+ pieces on this model.

    Not if you dump them all in a single null (per colour) and assign both materials to the groups rather than the individual objects...

     

    CBR

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