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Jewelry Photography vs Jewelry 3D Rendering: What is More Realistic?

Will Jewelry 3D Rendering Replace  Jewelry Photography?

A good friend of mine, Ivan Logvinov,¬†sent me these shots of cool examples of jewelry photography, and asked my opinion. I¬†immediately¬† started to think what can be done¬†differently (my “review and critique” process kicked in:-) but¬†then I realized that one of the rings was one that I already¬†photographed a couple years ago.

Then I started to question Ivan where and how he got these photos, and the answer was that this is a 3D rendering of jewelry, and one of the models was done using my shot of that huge diamond ring. So, I am asking jewelry photographers: if it will be that easy to create such realistic 3D models of jewelry, do we need to think about switching to work with something else? Or, is it still far from a good jewelry photography?

Lets take a closer look at these 3D rendering of jewelry below and see what we can do better (or differently) using jewelry photography as a tool of creation.

 

 Jewelry 3D Rendering Examples, 2 Gold Rings

Jewerly-photography-3d-rendering-example-rings

 

These two rings look amazingly good to me, and the only thing I can think of doing differently is the angle (a¬†little¬†lower). Of course I’d had to do ¬†focus stacking¬†to get such perfect focus and a deep DOF.

 

Diamond Ring, 3D Jewelry Rendering Example

Jewerly-3d-rendering-example-ring

Here I see some imperfections of the diamond’s crystal shape, it looks like it’s missing facets on top of it. Ivan explained that it would be an easy fix for his 3D model: he did not add enough facets on the diamond to speedup this work, as it was just a test for him.

Lets see how my jewelry photography of this ring looked like, Ivan used it to create his model for this 3D rending:

Example of Real Jewelry Photography of the Diamond Ring

Jewelry Photography by Alex Koloskov

 

I like mine better (he-he;-), but considering that Ivan was not even close to a jewelry photographer (and any photography, he bought his first DSLR just a couple months ago) and his diamond ring was “just¬†a test”, as he explained. The result is freaking amazing to me. I can only imagine what could be done with the real ring in hands ¬†and few hours more spent on creating the model…

Does it Sound Dangerous for a Jewelry Photographer?

Not much of a danger, in my¬†opinion. But if I’d be running a large studio specializing in jewelry photography, I’d definitely¬†would hire (or make from existing team members) a 3d rendering specialist. Imagine how mind-blowing could be a union of jewelry photographer and 3D modeler? Would be cool to hear opinion of jewelry¬†photographers¬† like¬†Vadim Chiline. (BTW, Watch our updates about Vadim, we’ll have something really interesting for you on Photigy)

 

Ivan shared a few screenshots of how he rendered that diamond ring with us. It was about an hour’s work, he explained.

 

3D Jewelry Modeling Using 3D Max

As you see, there is a lighting setup and diffusers around the ring, same as in jewelry photography process we do in the studio. Of course there are much more in 3D renderer to be set for a good result, but in general everything is about lighting. I am wondering how cool it would be for a jewelry photographer to have this program with a set of the most commonly used models of jewelry pieces. And be able to play with the lighting in the 3D rendered before going to a studio for a shot?

We all know that most jewelry photographers will prefer to play with the real stuff (I am the same). But still, with the 3D rendering program we can learn and experiment with different lighting for jewelry photography while staying away from our studios. What do you think? :-)

 

Diffuser and Background All Around the Jewelry Ring

Jewerly-3d-rendering-example-setup3

 

Diffuser and Background All Around the Jewelry Ring

Jewerly-3d-rendering-example-setup2

 

The Lighting for Jewelry Photography.. in 3D

Jewerly-3d-rendering-example-setup1

 

 

 

So, is it time for me to talk to Ivan Logvinov about private lessons for 3D modeling? I want to learn this stuff!

More about Ivan Logvinov: He is a businessman, actor, 3D modeler and an amazing  friend. Together with his wife they run the Solo School Of Fine Arts in Atlanta. This is an amazing place for kids to learn Russian culture (language, art, music, drama, history and much more), our kids love to go there.
Check out Ivan’s 3D modeling portfolio.

 

P.S
If you were wondering how that diamond ring we have looked like before the post-production, here it is, enjoy. Note that before an image is one from a sequence I created for focus stacking.

Atlanta photographer jewelry diamond ringdiamond-ring-retouching_h

 

 
 

More jewelry photography tutorials and courses:
Jewelry photography post-production course Jewelry photography course

9 responses on "Jewelry Photography vs Jewelry 3D Rendering: What is More Realistic?"

  1. Hi,
    I have 4 catalog for jewelry, we are about to open a new online jewelry store . The number of total products may be more than 300+ for different kinds of inventory and products. we want to take the snaps from catalog and convert to 3D photo rendering in studio lighting. Please let us know about your charge and service. Its a new store so we wont be able to give you more for the service!!!

    Hoping for your positive response!!!
    For personally contact 8177168856 or email rajbhaumik@gmail.com or rajbhaumik@ymail.com
    or facebook raj bhaumik

    Thank you

  2. Just wanted to add a little note to this post: I’ve been starting to get companies asking me to “retouch” computer generated images. This year alone I’ve received a request twice. Times are indeed changing.

  3. actually 3d is much better looking and adding some faces for the diamond is not a problem actually, also it has much more realistic reflections on inner side of ring. as for photo- there is just topaz denoize plugin used and nothing really “wow” in retouch itself…

  4. Hi Alex,

    Great post! Sorry I was away on vacation this past week. So just read your new post. Yep, I have some input here. I do think 3D modelling will find its way more and more into our daily lives, perhaps replacing the need for some photography/retouching. Currently, today, I do not think so. I’ve got several clients which have hundreds of styles, which are designed the old way (not by CAD), and the budget/time required to get a very nice model and then a render isn’t effective. One of my clients who designs everything in Rhino, renders with VRAY has issues that they design for their 3D model machine (wax mold). The prongs are often too big, and finally the render of the stones is often what isn’t great.

    Sites like JamesAllen.com which feature plenty of computer created models is a great example: Though they look great, they look too fake. I’ve been noticing some clients coming to me asking to keep their jewelry “real” looking. I’ve seen some jewelry retouchers completely recreate stones facet by facet, which yes, can be stunning, when badly done, is wretched.

    As a jewelry photography and videography studio, I have many “small time” clients which don’t have budget to hire a 3D artist on staff (or have a good machine with licenses to run all the softwares). They usually need 1 product photo, perhaps 2 per item at the same angle. Cost for web photography is relatively cheap vs time for a well designed and rendered item.

    Nevermind the nice “glory” or beauty shots where there are multiple items put together against backgrounds – they fail miserably as far as I’ve seen.

    @ Flo: I agree, Cinema4D is amazing to learn 3D, super well designed user interface. Sadly, the support and community for that program here in North America isn’t amazing vs what’s available for 3D Studio Max. Everything is designed for that software. Also, I find Cinema 4D limiting because it’s not as precise or “metrical” for engineering things that need exact modelling. From what I’ve seen Rhinoceros 3D is a great tool for that.

  5. These days, many jewelry artists use special 3D programs to design the things. These programs are able to render high quality images, or export the models to be used for 3D printers and/or other 3D rendering programs, that can produce even more realistically looking pictures.

  6. hi alex, thats great pics,
    can u show the video of that shoot to better understand lighting setup..

  7. Alex, I like your version better too. The ring looks more expensive! :)
    Can you show how did you create that textured background?
    Thanks,
    Alex E.

  8. That’s a great example of what I was talking about in the forums: why a graphical vector-look IS looking good but isn’t worth the “trouble” of hiring a photographer, photographing and retouching for the client. This style can easily and quickly be achieved by a graphics artist. Now Ivan shows that even photorealistic looks can be achieved easily by a 3d artist, photographers should know why they’re still needed:
    1: the physical experience you get when handling a product creates connection for the product and you might get better ideas how to present the product in the most fitting and best way. Sure, the 3d artist could get his hands on the product as well, but this would cost more and would be more time consuming
    2: knowing what’s looking good and how to achieve it: sure, 3d gives you way more opportunities for lighting, creating gradients and all that, but when you’ve always only spent your time modeling and rendering, there’s no experience from the photographic side – I don’t know how to express it properly, I hope you get what I mean.

    Alex, about your wish to dive into it: the first steps are hard to achieve, when trying it for yourself, but once you know how stuff’s working, the mediocre stuff is pretty easy – and that’s all you need for still jewelry shots.
    The potential best 3d-artist for jewelry shots would be someone with some years experience in photography who then learned 3d. I learned media design and even though we’ve had photography classes, it wasn’t until I put some time into product photography to realize that it would have helped me a lot right from the beginning in all my graphic-work.

    btw: for learning purposes I’d suggest cinema4d. personally I think it’s more user friendly than 3ds max and you can achieve the same quality. there are some freeware 3d programs as well, but I don’t like them too much.

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