Join Donovan Keith for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a simple chrome material using an HDRI image in the Environment channel, part of Creating Materials in CINEMA 4D.
Some of the most reflective materials you see in computer graphics aren't actually reflective. They are using something called an Environment Map. In this video, we will learn how to use an Environment Map to create a classic illustrated chrome look. In this scene, we've got a simple teapot in an empty environment. So when I render, all I'm seeing is this sort of simple gray version of my teapot. Now if I was to create a new material and make that material 100% reflective and apply that to my object. Rather, if I was to drag that material directly onto my teapot, I would still have a largely black scene. In fact, it's even darker than it was before because now it's reflecting an all black environment.
Well, I suppose I could build a really rich environment for this object to live in. Or I could go with a simpler solution, which is to use something called an Environment Map. So, what I'm going to do is turn off my Reflection channel, and instead, turn on my Environment channel. Now, in the Environment channel, what you want to do is load in a panoramic image. So I'm going to click on these three dots, navigate to my Texture folder, and import the environment panorama.jpg file. And I'm going to turn off color. So now when I render this image, I see the following.
What's also really cool is that as you rotate around your view. If you have OpenGL turned on,you'll get a real time update of your object and it's reflection. If you want, you can also take this and make it blurry by adjusting the Blur Offset and Blur Scale settings. Now, the blur won't show up in your preview. But if you render, you'll see a nice blurry environment. If you click on the Texture Preview chip, you can also adjust the Exposure. If you have an HDRI image, you'll have quite a bit of latitude here.
We'll be a bit limited because this is just a JPEG. By increasing the value, we can brighten the overall image. The difficulty with this is that it also brightens my darker regions in my image. So I'm going to leave Exposure at zero, and I'm going to adjust my white point. I'm going to bring that number down, so that my blacks stay blacks, but that my whites blow out. I now get something that looks like this. When creating reflective objects, the object's surroundings are as important as the shape and reflectivity of the object itself. A simple panoramic image in the environment channel can bring an otherwise dead reflection to life.
- Applying materials to objects, NURBs caps, and polygon selections
- Creating glass using transparency and refraction
- Building colorful backgrounds
- Creating plastic, metal, and concrete
- Mapping an image to a video screen
- Adjusting material placement
- Creating layered materials with photographs and the Filter shader