Posts Tagged ‘automotive’

Use Your Illusion

Luxion KeyShot’s Power of Transformation

For professional photographers, the most exciting software releases in recent years was the introduction of KeyShot, a new approach to 3D rendering from Luxion, which made a marked departure from the engineering mentality usually associated with CAD.  Rendering used to require a large skill set, constant adjustments, and many hours to process a single 3D scene.  KeyShot, on the other hand, seemed made for artists. The debut boasted stunning real-time high-resolution previews, an extensive palette of perfect industrial-design materials, and automatic self-shadows that gave an instant illusion of depth to any CAD object.

With this year’s release of KeyShot’s follow-up, we take a sneak peek into how studios have incorporated Luxion’s CGI technology into their work. All these examples feature cars, the most expensive product to shoot professionally.  In these cases, however, no photographs of the cars were ever taken.  The photographers produced the product images solely through CGI transformations of 3D models.

Basic Black: Vond Studios, London

“The local supercar club came to us with the idea of using a rare car like Gallardo Nera as an appealing promotional image. As soon as we got the CAD model, we were supposed to render some previews for approval,” explains Michal Baginski, a designer at Vond Studios, which builds images for automotive, product-design, and architectural clients.Vond Studios took no photos for the project.  Baginski’s team used the backgrounds, materials, HDRI files, and lighting schemes from the software package.  The flawless realism on the first render, Baginski says, is arguably better than what would come off of camera rolls after a studio shoot.

“In KeyShot, we were able to do it in minutes. The idea was to have minimal in-studio setup, so we tested a few colors of KeyShot backgrounds and stayed with standard black. For the lighting, we just loaded one of the photo studio bundle purchased from the online store and adjusted it for an even reflection that would accent the geometry of the car,” he says. “After the image was done, we just applied some smoke and flares in our image processing software on top of the actual render.  It was easy as that.We completed all the images within one day.”

On Location: David Burgess

Just as Luxion KeyShot’s standard backgrounds can mimic various studio settings, photographers’ own outdoor shots can create the illusion of on location settings with the aid of High Dynamic Range Images (HDRIs).  And they can even do the rendering outdoors.

“I shot the backplate and HDRI at the same time and at the same location,” says London photographer David Burgess of his colorful ad images for the Ford Interceptor. Seconds after taking the shots, he found a piece of shade from the Nevada sun and processed the image in the Luxion software.

“I had my laptop with me so I could work with the CGI model as I shot the backgrounds to make sure I liked the way the image was looking,” he says. “It is much easier to shoot alternative backgrounds when you work this way as opposed to doing everything later in the hotel or back at your studio.

“I think this was only made possible with KeyShot, as any other software would not have allowed me this freedom to look at a full color, working CGI model with complete HDRI lighting on a laptop on location. KeyShot is the only real solution for photographers who work visually rather than technically.”

Read more about the new KeyShot from Luxion at

[Portions of this article appear in the February 2009 issue of Professional Photographer:]