While scouting the web for inspiration on lighting techniques, I came across this video on how to set up studio lighting for shiny objects like silverware.
It is a quite informative video, but it also shows how traditional product photography can be a slow, tedious and equipment-heavy process. Watching it made me really appreciate the many benefits of creating product images using the computer as the only tool. I have listed three main reasons why I love computer generated imagery for product visualizations here:
It is fascinating to see in the video how much a slight angling of the light source impacts the look of the image. However, it also shows the slow process of having to run back and forth between the light sources, camera and computer every time make a change and to assess it.
In a visualization software like KeyShot the same process is done by a single click and drag procedure and the result is shown right away.
This means that you can try out far more possibilities in the same period of time, thus making it faster to converge towards the best looking lighting for the final visual.
Let’s say, in a traditional photoshoot, you have perfected the position of your product and lighting, but want to try out another ground plane. You wouldn’t be able to replace your ground plane without moving your product as well and getting it back in the exact same position would be a slow and tough process if not impossible.
When creating a product visualization on the computer it is possible to change one single attribute without affecting anything else.
Again, it is a huge time saver. A few button pushes and you’ve tried out the look of several ground planes.
3. UNLIMITED (AND FREE!) POSIBILITIES
This is probably the one that I like the most. When creating a studio setup inside the computer, everything is free. Your creativity is not constrained by a tight equipment budget. If you need any extra source of light, you just create it. And you can adjust it to have the exact color, intensity, falloff, angle, etc that you need. If you need 100 sources of light, you just create them too. Zero bucks. If you need your product to be sitting on three gold bullions, you just create them. No cost. If you… I think you get the point.
The silverware studio lighting video inspired me to create a silverware visualization myself. I wanted to try out his single light approach. I created the visualization below from scratch in roughly an hour. Including downloading the model from turbosquid, setting up the materials and lighting, the render time and a bit of post processing in photoshop.
Another benefit here is the fact that if I need to change something, at any time, I can open up the exact “studio” in a matter of seconds and do the changes within minutes. No need to set up the studio once again (and destroy the setup for the new product shot that I was working on), take new photos and rearrange the setup back to where it was.