Advertising 3D visual of the limited edition Montblanc Agatha Christie fountain pen, version with 18k gold finishes.
The final look, after retouch.
It starts with a low poly body of the pen.
We add a smooth modifier and create a basic snake clip, in order to check for proportions.
High resolution meshes are now ready for the snake clip and the nib.
A close up of the sculpted details. The Meisterstück emboss on the cap ring is going to be in displacement.
The raw render, with a dramatic accent to evoke Agatha Christie’s theme. Rubies and their setting have also been added.
This Montblanc fountain pen is essentially a modelling project. The defining feature is clearly the sculpted snake clip, with the rest of the pen being ordinary low poly modelling. We had a choice of going full low poly and use displacement; however, sculpting the clip, nib and nib bed in 3D Coat turned out to be faster and funnier. This way we skipped the lengthy retopology, UV and texture baking steps, thus saving several hours and easily achieving our advertised Two Days delivery. By the same logic, the embossed ring with the Montblanc – Meisterstück logo was far easier to achieve with a displacement map created in Photoshop. We also used the Complex Fresnel plugin to perfectly recreate the visual properties of gold. Feel free to download the full resolution image, in order to appreciate the most subtle details.
use the right tools
Worth a mention that, at Stuttgart Render, non only we strive to achieve more with less but we also try to make the process as entertaining as possible for our team. If we agree that a non-orthodox approach will get us there faster and with less frustration, this is how we are going to proceed. In this case, the nib, an articulated hardsurface object, would have called for a low poly mesh, with unwrap and smoothing-friendly detail. However, with most of the ribbed nib body out of sight, we deemed that sculpting it with the tools available in 3D Coat would achieve the same visual result with way less trouble.
the real pen and render grammar
The real pen varies broadly, in finishes and detailing, according to edition. Looking at the photographs, you can appreciate the advantages of a fully CGI shot. A fully 3D scene gives unmatched control over the finish of surfaces, amount of detail in focus and the artistic mood of the shot itself.
On the other hand, the freedom of CGI must not be abused. Often a 3D visual is rendered with a camera angle, lighting or physical properties that do not belong to the real world. This totally breaks the illusion of reality: a major loss that has no justification whatsoever – it is simply, and painfully, wrong.
An under-performing render, commonly, will have physically incorrect depth of field, ambient occlusion on corners or many different light-reflection passes freely mixed together in compositing. The latter, especially, is considered cool by several artist and studios. De gustibus non disputandum est, however, this approach is offending to the eye and one’s intelligence, attempting to sell to your brain a visual that claims to belong to our world and dimension, yet breaks every rule of it.