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Making Of 'Control Panel'

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Date Added: 15th June 2011
Software used:


This image was inspired by a reference photo I found on the internet. I was tired of the restrictions of game creation (which is my day job) and wanted to make something small and interesting. I'm interested in lighting and texturing so this was the most enjoyable part of this project.

The whole image took about a week to make during my lunch hours, and was created using 3ds Max 2009 and rendered using Mental Ray. Textures and post work were done using Photoshop CS3. I hope you enjoy this little tutorial.


The scene is reasonably simple and modeling didn't take too long. The shelf and walls were created using a simple plane and extruded edges to create the detail. The holes in the shelf were made using Booleans to carve them out - a little tidy-up was needed to create a nicer curve around the edges.  The buttons were cylinders extruded and beveled to create the desired shape. Every object in the scene was created using these techniques; I didn't want to over complicate the modeling phase as I wanted to concentrate on the lighting, texturing and rendering of this project. Here is a wire frame render of the scene (Fig.01).

I decided to move on to the lighting at this point to establish the mood I wanted to set. This would help with the texturing later on.

Fig. 01


I find the trick with lighting is to keep it simple. With this in mind, I only used three lights for the whole scene. I used MR Area Omni lights; this would give me the feathered shadows I wanted. Here is my lighting rig with the settings I used for the lights (Fig.02), and here is a clay render showing just the lighting (Fig.03). Please note this is not the finished lighting setup; I wanted to create the mood first using lighting, which would be further tweaked after the materials and textures were created. 

Fig. 02

Fig. 03

continued on next page >

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Faisal on Mon, 20 February 2017 11:18pm
Hi Andrew This is so helpful. Thanks for sharing. Can you possibly add a bigger picture of the lighting setup? This one doesn't zoom in to show the actual light settings though you do share the image. Its just too small. Thanks again!
Nick on Wed, 28 December 2011 8:52pm
This was a great "Making Of." Thank you for explaining things so well. As someone who is just learning, hearing the how's and why's behind it all is very helpful. Beautiful work.
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