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A little bit of panic: Setting up a decent render, tips and tricks.

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Hi everyone!

I'm applying to a school and one of the assignments are to create a 3D radio from a reference photo. The application states that "if you have no previous experience with 3D read this pdf etc etc". Anyway, I've worked a bit with Houdini (not nearly as much as I'd like to be able to) over the last months, and I thought, hey, I challenge myself to do this assignment in Houdini. Great.

Well, got freelancing work which I had to take (I work in the web design business to make a living for the moment) and time went by. Now I realised I had just 5 days left before the application was supposed to be done. So I started modeling, no problems, got a pretty good looking model, assigned some textures and well, now I just have to set up a render.

This is when I hit a brick wall.

No matter what I try I can't get it to look even a little promising, it just looks cheap.

I understand that rendering with mantra is a vast land of knowledge, but unfortunately, with 1 day left, I just don't have the time to get in behind the theory. It's a bit frustrating, I've worked with Cinema 4D and Maya before, and well, if you want you can practically push an "ease mode"-button and get an alright render.

I'm trying to render the model as it was photographed in a typical product advertising way, you know? White background, soft shadows, "gentle" lightning.

So, any one got any tips? tricks? I've looked at some links at the sidefx website without success, as much as I hate going this way about it, right now I don't need the theory, I need working real example of how to do it.

Can anyone help me out a little, things I should try/think about/do?

thanks for any help and suggestions. and excuse the "give me the secrets"-approach. :)

EDIT: Ehum, might also have posted this in the wrong forum. I suppose there's not so much code involved.

Edited by simonj
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