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Duncan Ellison
chrome
on Jul 17, 2007 at 11:23:07 am

I'm attempting to make and animate 3D chrome letters as part of a logo. By selecting a monochrome picture as the reflection map in my materials tab and applying this to each object I have achieved great looking chrome side edges to my text....but the flat front faces of each letter don't look chrome - they look more like brushed steel.

When I look closely at the front face of the text I see that the refelction map is so highly magnified that it's blurred. Is there a way to increase the quality of the reflection so that the front faces of the text look highly reflective.

Alternatively, the only difference I can see between the front and sides of the text is that the front is flat and the sides are curved. Is there a way to put a slight curve on the front faces of the text (independently of the edges) in the hope that this will create the same look I get on the sides. I can't find a field or slider in the object tab that allows me to do this. It would be handy to know how to do this anyway, regardless of reflection.

Any help would be much appreciated.


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Jon Okerstrom
Re: chrome
on Jul 19, 2007 at 2:17:41 am

Hi Duncan,

good chrome starts with black objects, very high reflectivity and a great reflection map. The specular settings you choose for the highlights also make a diffference.

You can't change the geometry of the front and rear faces but you can modify or make a new reflection map. Try making a larger reflection map to gain more detail. Try animating the reflection map via layermapping to make your chrome come alive even with very little object or camera movement.

Jon



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Duncan Ellison
Re: chrome
on Jul 19, 2007 at 4:47:31 pm

Jon, thanks very much for putting me straight on it not being possible to change the geometry of the front face. I can stop flogging that dead horse now.

I had another go at the reflectivity bearing in mind what you said and I've had some success. Correct me if I'm wrong here but in order to get good reflectivity you don't actually select the reflected animated image using the reflectivty window. Instead what you do is texture mapping via the texture mapping window but select an animated image that looks like a reflection.

Following this method I now have really sharp images playing across the moving surfaces of my animated logo....but the challenge now is finding an image that makes the logo look like chrome.

In the meantime, thanks very much for your help.


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Duncan Ellison
Re: chrome
on Jul 20, 2007 at 5:06:15 pm

Hi Jon,

I'm further down the line since I replied to you and thing aren't going so well. As I mentioned, thanks to you I've managed to get sharp images moving over the surface of the logo by using animated images saved as layer maps and selected via the texture mapping pop up.

Try as I might though, I have not been able to create an image that results in a chrome look. I've come close with gradients on a grey scale but they look unrealistic because the image animates in only one direction over the surfaces but my logo is tumbling in 3 different directions in the x,y and z axis. I thought a solution to this would be to change the direction the layer is animating in to match each different face of the object as it becomes visible in the tumble? This would be very tricky and time consuming.....surely there is an easier way?

I've gone back to trying to use the reflection map selection in the bottom window of the set up window, because this option makes the reflection map move correctly over the surface of my logo as it tumbles, but I am still unable to get a clear sharp reflection. If I make a 720x576 image to use as a reflection map then click on the window and use the browser to select the image, the image is magnified and rough. If I follow your suggestion and make a larger image to use as a reflection map and select it the same way, Aftereffects crashes.

If I use the layer map pop up to the right of the reflectivity window to select a still or movie I get the same large magnification and subsequent loss of quality.

It seems the answer is to combine the image quality you get from selection via the texture mapping pop up with the movement you get from selection via the reflection pop up. Can this be done or is there another solution?

Any more help would be greatly appreciated,

Duncan.


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Jon Okerstrom
Re: chrome
on Jul 20, 2007 at 6:39:06 pm

Hi Duncan,

The one thing to remember about mapping is the difference between how the front faces are mapped compared to bevels and sides. Your layermap reflection won't "bend" from the front face to the bevel and sides.

Think of it this way: the layermap is stretched to fit the front face of the object.

In the case of sides/bevels, the map is stretched to start at the lowest, leftest corner of the object, and wrapped around the object back to the starting point. (Think of a long ribbon). You may want to make a separate layermap for the sides/bevels. Use a very short, wide comp.

Does this help?

Jon



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Duncan Ellison
Re: chrome
on Jul 21, 2007 at 6:37:34 pm

Hi Jon,

No, it doesn't help. It's not that I'm ungrateful, it's just that the sides of the objects have always looked great.....it's the front faces I am having trouble with. However, I have made note of what you have said in your last post for when I inevitably have issues with the sides and bevels in the future.

Going back to what you said in an earlier post about making the reflection maps big that has helped. I had since tried up to 2880x2304 with no success but today, in an act of desperation, I went up to 5760x4608 and got good sharp reflection which was fantastic. After this I had another crack at trying to reproduce chrome now that I could see clearly the results my attempts were having on the front faces.

I discovered that if you make a 5760x4608 reflection map full of narrow horizontal lines, apply it to your object then rotate that object so it's front face is angled down at a 45 degree angle you can see the epicentre of your reflection map as concentric rings. If you angle the front face upward at 45 degrees you get the same thing. What this means is that Invigorator 'wraps' your reflection map into a circle then pastes it onto the floor and ceiling of the environment you are animating your object in. This doesn't help make chrome but it does tell me a won't get a perfectly proportioned reflection of my reflection map and it's good to know how things work.

More trial and error of reflection maps has got me closer to chrome. I'm not there yet but tonight I'm rendering with a 5760x4608 reflection fetauring a stack of approx 12 horizontal strips of gradient colour from white to black. Test stills looked good but this method has massively increased rendereing time so I'll post again on this thread to let you know how it turns out.

Meanwhile, if you think of anything else it would be good to hear from you. Thanks again.

Duncan.


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Jon Okerstrom
Re: chrome
on Jul 21, 2007 at 7:53:16 pm

Hi Duncan,

I'm doing a project with lots of chrome and metal right now too. For me, it's not important that I get a crisp reflection because there's nothing else in the scene that needs to be identified.

Good luck with your project.

Jon



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Duncan Ellison
Re: chrome
on Jul 26, 2007 at 9:18:47 am

Jon,

Just to let you know how it turned out. The 5760x4608 refelction map made of 12 horizontal strips of grescale gradient worked really well. The front faces look clear and very reflective. I've got the look I wanted.

The edges looked wrong with the same map but I remembered your previous post about using a different layer map there and now they look good too.

Thanks very much for all your advice.

Duncan.


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Jon Okerstrom
Re: chrome
on Jul 27, 2007 at 12:46:24 am

Excellent news. Post an image if you can. I'd love to see it.

Jon



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Duncan Ellison
Re: chrome
on Jul 27, 2007 at 11:46:55 am

Jon,

I do have an image that I think best represents what I've done but I can't attach or link it to this post so I've sent it as a zipped file to the email address in your profile.

Cheers

Duncan.


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