All posts related to V2
Hi everyone. I'm just looking for thoughts on something that's been on my mind for a while: getting a good looking image from colourless transparent materials rendered on perfect white backgrounds. Phew...

We've been asked to do various product shots over the time we've been using Maxwell and have always gotten great results. What clients generally want/request is a perfect white studio setup which is fine for the majority of visuals, but when it involves an acrylic or glass object I sometimes struggle to get a good looking final result. Especially when said object is on it's own and the main focus of the render.

When rendering these objects on dark backgrounds or with other parts, the results are instantly amazing. Obviously darker backgrounds allow you to see the highlights and reflections/refractions to their fullest, whereas rendering them on white naturally tones down a lot of that stuff. My initial thoughts were to render onto transparent and use the alpha channel to place a white background on in post, but this often gives a more "dull" end result lacking the detail you see when it's on a dark background. Or, as clients have said, they need it "whiter" behind the actual plastic area.

Here are a couple of examples of an acrylic object I might typically be rendering. It's nothing too fancy in both detail and render set up, I created it just now to test rendering options. The scene is just the product floating with IBL, apart from image 3 which has a white backdrop as well as the same IBL. Each render had about 15-20 minutes to cook.

Image 1 / Acrylic rendered on black.
Image 2 / The same image with white background added in post.
Image 3 / The same scene rendered directly onto white. (Didn't have time to let this go longer, but hopefully it gets the point across.)

Aside from cutting the images out, no postwork has been added to these as I wanted to show raw results.

Image Image

So essentially all I'm wondering is, how can you get the dynamic look image 1 but on white. Although I like the result of image 2 personally, we often get comments on that technique not looking as they'd want it. I'm sure there are better material and scene setups than I've tried (although the acrylic material I'm using looks incredible generally), but I'm finding it difficult to solve the issue. Is post-work the answer? I'm continuing my tests when I get time, but any tips or techniques would be great too. Thanks!
Had a bit more time to play with some settings and ideas last night and generated a render that is just what I was looking for. And with no post work. :D


It's all going to be part of a product animation as well so it should look great when moving around.

(For those wondering, it's the "hopper" found in some water filter products. Here's how the solid model looks.)


Thanks again for the tips!
Last edited by RobMitchell on Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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