mentoring for creative advancement

Started by mattjgerard, August 18, 2020, 08:54:37 AM

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Where do you go for mentoring and improvement when you feel you've reached a plateau? I make basically 2 kids of images on a daily basis, and I feel like I can't get them beyond where I'm at right now. I make product images that are stand alone on white, and application images with our products in the field. The product images I'm not too worried about, but the application images I just can't seem to get to go past a certain level of realism. Here's what I have done to get where I'm at. (these are 99% kit bashed with Turbosquid and Grabcad models with our own product CAD files I do very little modeling)

1) Read up on lighting and been paying more attention to creating custom HDRI's
2) Using more eye level natural camera angle where possible
3) adding more imperfections to surfaces (still working on this one, learning new nodes)
4) compare to stock photography and reference images to mimic color pallets and surroundings
5) slowly built up a library of 3d environments, we use stock photos as backgrounds, its quick easy and works "enough" with the time restraints we have on each project. But building up a library of 3d industrial manufacturing environments (which I'm working on) will help the backgrounds alot.
6) Learning more about color correction and image treatment in post via Photoshop
7) Visiting the forum daily and soaking in as much as I can

But right now, lots of times I just look at an image and can't figure out what I don't like, and what it needs to change to take it up a notch, I think it still has a lot to do with lighting, and that might be my #1 to work on. The people in my office and my clients aren't too helpful, they will take pretty much what I give them, but I want to keep getting them better and better images.

Here are some examples, and any suggestions will be appreciated, overall or specific. I might start posting more WIP's to get advice until I get myself past this lull in creativity.


Hey Matt

Great idea - I'm happy to provide some thoughts, either privately via dm or email, or publicly whichever you prefer.

I'd say you're already producing some great results, I can offer a few thoughts here and there, without presuming that I'm any kind of guru - you can return the favour if you like! Everybody needs constructive criticism. I'm away for couple of days with my daughter camping but can pitch in middle of next week worst case.

best wishes - david aka smalldogstudio


Hi Matt,
First of all, those are a lot of great product renderings and I can see them serving their purpose just great.
If you'd like to improve with some feedback , perhaps I can share some of the things that make me notice it's a rendering instead of photo.
- The button would be the light and and strange diffuse on the yellow part, where the red button reflects greatly and has good shadows.
- the second would be the amount of reflection used in metal parts , this is because my experience in factories and having seen those kind of machines, most profiles will be rough or anodized. ( oh and the lack of tape to keep the boxes shut)

-The bottles, if you could add some bubbles to the top, this would simulate movement much more.

I think you're well on track and you efforts and dedication are really amazing, I wish I'll stay on that track as well.
The best learning experience could be a visit and some pictures of the real machines of factories, if photorealism is what you wish to achieve.

Other then that, if this kind of feedback is usefull, I think you can count on support from the forrum as mentioned by David.