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Tutorial: Creating realistic Jewelry in Blender and Cycles


For those wanting to create realistic jewellery in blender and cycles, a new tutorial by Alex Telford is available on 3D World Magazine! There is an in depth text tutorial for those subscribed to the magazine, however I have also created an equally in depth video free to view online with accompanying source files.

This tutorial is split into 6 movies and you can also download the Blender scene file.

From 3Dworld:

Blender has long been regarded as fantastic modelling software, with a terrible rendering engine. Well not anymore thanks to the new cycles rendering engine.

Cycles is like the baby brother of Octane Render, and built directly into blender. So it’s no surprise that it comes with the same high quality and realtime rendering we have come to know and love from these GPU powered unbiased renderers. However, there are some drawbacks. Cycles is still well under development and is yet to support some features. One of these is light splitting, or how light produces different colors when hitting angles like those in diamonds.

In this tutorial you will learn how to quickly model a fine gold chain using modifiers, and manipulate it to write a message or symbol. Next we will look at easily creating gold and silver rings, with physically accurate diamonds using some simple techniques to fake light splitting. And finally, we will bring the render to life using HDRI lighting, and finish off with some color grading in the compositor to set the mood.


For all the videos go to the 3D World website.


      • Actually final render on video tutorial looks much better than the one in the header and is quite realistic (at least to me) :)

    • Michael Dawkins on

      Because it's one of the main purpose of CG. Many efforts in rendering engine are into creating a believable image, so that you can say "that feels real".
      Once you master how to copy the real, you can break the rules.
      Though I think it's normal to advertise a tutorial like that if you're demonstrating a brand new physically based renderer.
      And, it's only a word, you can go with freestyle if it makes you feel uncomfortable ^^.

      • I think the thrust of the comment is that the word 'realistic' is becoming over-used and thereby soon to be irrelevent.

        Though the header image leaves much to be desired for realism... and on top of all that I'm really tired of people calling blenders original renderer 'horrible.' which is simply not true 

        • Michael Dawkins on

          You are right.
          And BI isn't horrible, but you need more work to obtain what you want with it. On particular scenarios it will give a very good quality in a decent amount of time. Sadly when it comes to complex translucent materials and scenes that needs lots of indirect lighting, BI was a bit stuck in those areas. And at the moment, because it's more feature complete than cycles, it is still a good choice.

          • I agree except your first point... BI takes LOADS LESS work to obtain what you want from it. And in MOST scenarios it will give a very good quality in a decent amount of time. lol  The main problem with Cycles is that using simple materials will never give you anything more realistic than this much criticized header image. It takes hours of fiddling (guessing) with the unlimited possible Node Combinations trying to emulate a condition and few of the Nodes seem to do what you hope they will do. It is a ridiculously unstructured layout that gives you absolutely no clue as to how to achieve anything more unless you have a Masters Degree in Dot Matrices and Programing Logic. "Realistic" results take me 10 (TEN) times longer than they did in INTERNAL. And you can't say I'm saving time by not having to rerender in BI. With Passes you only have to render once in BI, after your lighting is set. All so I can have better GLASS?!?! LOL No thanks! I stand ready to e-smack anyone who says BI is a wretched render engine. I consider wretched to be painful to use, not result based...any renderer looks good when used skillfully. BI just doesn't have many really skilled users, sorry to say.

          • Michael Dawkins on

            " It takes hours of fiddling (guessing) with the unlimited possible Node
            Combinations trying to emulate a condition and few of the Nodes seem to
            do what you hope they will do"
            You seem to be struggling with nodes, it's surprising. I was kindof stuck with the lighting of an old project with BI, and this week I decided to switch to cycles, after 3 hours I already had much better results.
            I did mixed a few nodes and made some unsuccessful tests because it's the very first time I'm using cycles (not nodes).
            before :
            after (with cycles):
            As you can see both render are pretty bad, especially the lighting, but still, the cycles render became decent in a few minutes of fiddling with nodes.
            Would you have examples to show what kind of specific effect you achieve significantly faster in BI? Because from my little experience I would just throw BI away....

  1. Hi Guys :D
    Thought I'd clarify, when making tutorials for the magazine it helps to have 'realistic' or 'cartoon' etc in the title to give an idea as to the content at a glance :)

    Also the results have been tweaked by the 3DWorld Staff, This one is more washed out, and the video one is more pink.
    Neither is amazingly realistic.
    Sorry about that lol, wasn't my call, in the final stage you can adjust the composite to suit your needs :)

    Hope that clears some things up :D

    • Indeed, I know what you mean when editors decide to re-work something you have been working on for ages. But hey! Those are the breaks.

      Thanks for the hard work. Nice tutorial.

  2. The image looks good and a lot of work was put in the tutorial. But I have to rant a little bit. I'm a bit amazed that in a tutorial that is largely about getting a "physically accurate" render, little effort is made to get the physics right! The author talks about an effect called "light-splitting". This is actually called dispersion and is caused by the index of refraction being a function of the wavelength (or color) of the light. This means that if white-light exits a prism or a raindrop, different wavelength components do so under different angles. Cycles cannot do this correctly, because it renders in RGB numbers, not in wavelengths. In a sense, Cycles is not designed to do that.

    Therefore, I wouldn't call Cycles the baby brother of Octane. In Cycles, the physical correctness is not a goal, it is only a choice made because it makes the interface more intuitive. This is at least what Brecht himself says. To be physically correct, one has to actually render the complete visible spectrum of light, as opposed to just R, G and B. Octane and Luxrender do that, Cycles does not.

    And this is a good thing. Octane and Luxrender are already there, so there is not much use in starting from scratch. Cycles is not meant to replace them (or Blender internal for that matter).

      •  Were are of the new Blender Breed, Jumping hoops is what were good at ;)

        I think Photo-realism is possible with some cheats, but still on the horizon for quick renders lol.

      • YOU (user) can produce realistic results with Cycles much easier than with Blender Render but it's designed for animation, not for 3D Visualizations, so YOU (user) still needs to know more about lighting than Octance or Lux user.

        The advantage for Cyclas when compare it to Octane or Lux is MUCH bigger flexibility.

        If someone cares only about basic jobs and realism for stills, Lux is better choice.

    •  In that case my mistake, I have gone from what I've heard.
      From what I know when light moves through an object the light is bent, and all the
      different colors bend different amounts, This usually isn't noticeable, due to the refractive index is low. But in a diamond, where
      the refractive index is high, the different colors bend enough to break
      apart the white light into a rainbow of color.
      I've always referred to this as light splitting, though I'm usually wrong in such matters of terminology lol

      Cycles acts like a more lightweight version of Octane in my experience, hence why I personified it as it's baby-brother :)
      I suppose at some point cycles will support some form of light-splitting, (Crosses Fingers for photons like Mental Ray) :P
      but we make do with what we have :)

      • So you have to setup a light source which is emitting light of different wavelengths, as the real sun does. If you define a source of light to emitt just pure red light (like a LASER) there will be nothing to break apart. That's just a physical argument, I don't know if this can be done with cycles.

  3. Maybe I need to clarify. My initial comment wasn't specific for this tutorial. It was a general remack which comes through my find quite often. :)

  4. Well, for me as well, this image doesn't look realistic. So far I have done few tests with Cycles, because it doesn't supports yet multi GPU and only uses my weakest graphic card used for display, but I keep an eye on it because I need something to render realistic animations from inside Blender. On my Machine, Cycles renders too slowly without using my two external GTX 580 3GB. So I still use Octane as my main render for still pictures. Below, some images of a jewel, made some time ago with already old versions of Octane. The first one is the more recent render and uses light dispersions. The others have been done in the early age of Octane, without dispersion.
    And I have to say that you can find much better than my images on Octane's gallery. So, imho, I think that "realistic" is not the good term for the example shown on this page. Sorry !

  5. Oh, I forgot to say that an important thing when you want to render gems in a realistic way, is modelling the gems accurately, respecting the real cutting patterns. Each kind of Gem (Diamond, Esmerald, ruby) has its own cutting shapes with various numbers of faces. The angles of cuttings are very important, because the gem will have to behave has a multi-prism, catching light rays, and bouncing them back outside after some internal reflection. As each kind of gem has its own Indice Of Refraction, the angles and cutting shapes are different for each gem. For what I can see in the tutorial, the diamonds are way too flat and have not a realistic shape. So they will not behave as they should, even if rendered with the best of unbiaised render engine you could find. Imho, by improving the shape of the diamonds models, a better result could be achieved in Cycles.

    •  Hi, these rings were modeled of an actual necklace I was giving to my girlfriend :)
      I made the diamonds a little more flat to match the original style, Though you are correct about the refraction. If this was rendered in octane I would have focused a lot more on the shape to match refractions, rather than going for the style I wanted, though I like the result achieved with cycles, even if it does more resemble cubic zirconia :P
      You may feel free to adjust the diamonds any way you wish at that stage in the tutorial :)

  6. Alex looking over it now, so far looks great thanks for the work you put into this, instead of complaining if anyone can do better by all means please post another one I would love to look at them.

    •  Your in luck!
      3D world sends me about 5 commissions a month average so far :P
      Next month is something to do with animation :P

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