Before there was 2D. Now there’s 2D and 3D, and they live together in harmony. Product photography has been changing a lot in the last ten years, and things have been moving extremely fast in the last five years or so. 3D is here, has been here for a while, but it is becoming more relevant as the tools and resources are becoming more accessible to us mere mortals.
I have dabbled in 3D before and done so with very limited success and never been happy with the results and subsequently lost interest. I tend to think that if I cannot do things proper then they’re not worth doing. Besides I have sucked so bad at it. It is a vast field of knowledge, and I have had a hard time to get my head around it until now. But its pretty much a choice of embracing it or gradually get left behind.
I’m not interested in a set mantra of how things are made, the only thing that matters to me is the end result and that it looks the part. The important thing is to achieve the best results within the jobs budget, wether it’s all done in camera or finished up in post isn’t really that important to me. Purist hobby photographers with endless time on their hands can dabble in that luxury.
Every year I head to Iceland two or three times to photograph cars. For the last two or three years the thought of doing 3D composites has been in the back of my head, so while I’ve been on shoots I’ve built up a decent library of background images purposely shot with 3D compositing in mind. I’ve done a few attempts at rendering vehicles and compositing them but until now, never been really happy with the results and yet spent countless hours refining and honing my skill set.
Last week we urgently needed a new car photographed, but as I was unable to travel for the shoot, unable to find temporary replacement images. I decided to have another go at it, this time switching from Keyshot to and back to a more advanced 3D package, that I used on my first serious 3D composite job a few years back (which, by the way sucked so bad). Tons of reading up on shading, lighting, materials and rendering and I think I’m finally getting results that I dare to show to anyone. After all, in reality the principles are pretty much the same as with real world photography – however you’re in complete control over your environment and you can bring seriously big “softboxes” to your “location” and get the light absolutely perfect. Which is a good thing, as I am never able to use softboxes when shooting outdoors in the perpetually windy Iceland. Again, this is about having a choice and being in control.
It’s maybe not perfect yet, but I’m really excited about this and thought I’d share a few images.