Nov 3, 2016

On combining Product Photography with Rendering

Typical product photography, or still life, is done on a tabletop. It is done on matte paper, on shiny perspex, or something more technical like an imajoo table or an LED panel. The setup would produce shadows, reflections, or nothing at all, as desired. After the shoot you can get quite a lot of help from retouching, but it is time consuming and does not favor a bigger job with many photos. But an even more exotic form of help is 3D rendering.

Here rendering sits somewhere between design and retouching. The practical use in product photography is that you can rearrange things with relative ease on the screen. The rendered output produces nice shadow and reflections, helps to maintain composition consistency within image sets (vertically and horizontally), and all long after the shoot had come and gone.

It does take a bit of a learning curve to run up, but afterwards rendering is a powerful tool when applicable. Here is a example photo of a book that I shot a few years ago. It is clean, with the background removed.

1) Here is the same 3D image, with a bit of help from rendering in Blender. The process adds a visible table with a gradient, clean shadows, nice front reflection, and natural a natural perspective distortion. With only a little additional effort, you can change the composition, like cloning multiple copies of the original object for effect.

2) Here is a more sneaky example where the feature composition was photographed but the setting was designed as a 3D scene.