Bringing a Model to Life using Textures

Texturing your 3D model is really where it comes to life. It transforms a digital shape to an object that you recognise, using multiple images to create a photo-realistic texture. In this article I will focus on a stainless steel texture used on a watch case or watch bracelet.

For example:

Warrington Solid Stainless Steel Watch Strap made with Cinema4D + Octane + HDRI Light Studio

This first image has a very simple texture and relies more on the lighting to achieve a photo-realistic look. There is only one material applied to this model, Octane Glossy, with the following settings:

  • Diffuse: Black
  • Specular: Black & Float 1
  • Roughness: Float 0
  • Index: 8

Everything else can be left on default for the look in the first image.

Index

There are a few things to note here, the values previously mentioned can be changed depending on the type of metal you want. For example, the Index. Setting this to 1.3 is the standard value for glossy materials and changing this value can determine how 'metallic' the material can look.

Specular

Another value that has a drastic effect is the Specular option, the colour value within this can change the entire colour of the metal. Moreover, this is how you can achieve a yellow gold or rose gold look. Or you can go wild with some very bright colours.

Texture Maps and Surface Imperfections

Warrington Solid Stainless Steel Watch Strap 3D Render made with Cinema4D + Octane + HDRILightStudio

The image above makes most of multiple texturing methods on Cinema4D and Octane Render by using different 'maps' and 'nodes'. A texture map is an image containing data that is applied to a surface or polygon in a 3D workspace. They often contain RGB colour data and can be used to control the Diffuse, Specular, Roughness, Normal and other inputs. An image like this would be used to achieve photo-realism, but it's not always the best option - especially for rendering a white background image for website use.

Take this G-02 GMT for example, not doing the extra steps of adding surface imperfections benefit this render massively. Keeping it clean and symmetrical, this image aims to be 'perfect' rather than 'photo-realistic'.

Brushed Textures

You may have noticed throughout this post there have been a few images that contained a brushed texture. This is created through the normal map and the roughness map. Here is the same example from before although, this time I'm applying the brushed texture to the centre links as well.

The behind the scenes of creating this texture is quite interesting, as the 'maps' I have inputted are just flat images that have been projected onto that surface. Here's what the 'normal map' of the brushed texture looks like:

Now, if you're unfamiliar with normal maps, this will just look like a random purple square. However, in this image there is an extremely feint pattern and data to be able to create the ridges and brushing effect on your metal in Cinema4D.

I have also used a roughness map to be able to control how reflective the metal is paired with the brushing for full control on the steel. Here is an example of a roughness map, you may find the pattern is easier to spot.

You can create a range of results by using these maps. For example, if you were to have less float on the roughness the more polished the metal appears, visa versa.

Summary

Overall, I hope this was an interesting insight into texturing watch cases and bracelets. Showing the flexibility of the materials and the kind of results you can achieve through these render engines. Stay tuned for more articles that will go into detail about other aspects of 3D rendering.

If you missed them, feel free to have a read of the two previous Artist Notebooks!

The 3D Artist's Notebook #1 - How we use 3D rendering

The 3D Artist's Notebook #2 - Modelling a Watch