Good matte plastic & Rendering Software?

So, my beloved ImageStudio which I found to be the best and rendering matte plastic in white environments with soft lighting, has been taken from me. I have PhotoWorks, Photoview 360 (2009 versions), and Alias Showcase. I have so far been unable to get desirable results in any of these.

PhotoWorks: Sucks at matte plastic (I picked Satin Finish White Plastic)

PhotoView: Sucks because all the white backgrounds have a weird light angle (un-editable) that highlights the product underside (who’s the genius that thought of that one?)

Alias Showcase: In my brief experience, seems like it’s good at glossy but also sucks at matte plastic and definitely looks much less realistic than ImageStudio.

Does anyone have ANY way to get white matte plastic to look good (and real) in a white background, in any of these programs?

I spent a few minutes just playing with this in Showcase and my suggestion would be to try playing with it in Raytracing mode vs hardware shade. If you want some surface noise (like a MT11010 texture) I find that it’s really dependant on a few things:

1: Your bump map size/amplitude. - This plays into how big your surface bumps are going to be. Generally, and especially in hardware shade mode you need to either over or under exaggerate this based on how close/far you are from the object. Because it is using an actual projected texture rather than a mathmatical procedural texture, the distance plays a bigger role.

2: Your HDRI map - most of the showcase “on white” images are specifically based around a skylight. If you were really setting up a product shot think about where your lights would be. They make HDRI photo-setups that may be more suited then some of the default ones with the primary light source from the front. This will all help control your highlight which is key to a white on white shot.

3: Keep in mind how white is white. Most “white” products wind up being somewhat of a light gray with a bright highlight.

One technique one of the autodesk guys showed me for getting that last 5% of a specific shader is to set your light, then on your shader disable all your maps but one (uncheck everything but color) and then tweak your color to get your base color how you want it. Then add on your highlight layer and tweak the individual settings again until you get the highlight the way you want it. Then lastly add the bump.

Effectively what that lets you do is what the professional CG guys have been doing for years, and using composited layers to generate your rendering, but you’re previewing it in real time. The CG guys learned that by breaking out your diffuse/specular/color into multiple layers, you could make small subtle tweaks without effective everything at once. If you try locking down your shader then changing the lights, your back to square 1.

White on white is tough, especially on a computer. I have the opposite issue (black products on black backgrounds) the problem is you’re trying to display a lot of complex information on a system that ultimately has 256 shades of gray, and many of your transitions may only be using 15-20 of those colors which leads to banding and a difficulty in establishing a lot of the detail that your eye percieves in real life.

Heres one example of the hardware shade (texture is invisible at low res) and another raytraced (texture is now more evident but the lighting in this scene is too blown out so the highlight melts into the background).

for Showcase consider this.

the environments are created with the Specular setting set to .5, where 0 = diffuse and 1= specular. Essentially its adjusting the amount of blur. if you are creating a new environment, you may need to increase the amount of blurriness by reducing the highlight map setting to .3-.4 ish.

For Materials with the default Environments, tryadjusting the contrast in “environmental lighting overrides” found in the Material (diffuse and Highlight). I typically dont go below .6 for matte objects but it really comes down to your preference.

for Raytracing, you can use the blurry reflections to get a soft matte material or Silvers. I rendered this in Showcaes with this technique.

there is also a youtube video on white materials. search for “custom showcase materials”

good luck.

Thanks guys. I’ll update with some results. It’s just so frustrating for me when they rush to get new technologies to market and then the interface goes backwards. I can tell Showcase has most of the same functionality as ImageStudio, but the interface went two steps in the wrong direction.

Anistropy on the silver knob on the bottom of the mouse - is that a shader or just being faked with a texture? Do tell. :smiley:

texture. right now the only way to get anisotropic linear reflections.

What I figured…looks good though.

Update: PV360 IS good at matte plastic, but the materials you assign to your model in Solidworks, which you would think would import without a problem, tend to de-saturate. If you’re going for richly colored matte plastic, you need to re-assign a PV360 material, then bump up the color saturation.

Also, there is absolutely no UI indicator when you select parts and then copy and paste materials.

Luckily, someone told me these pointers, so I didn’t waste any more time in this sloppy program.