From: Johannes Schloerb email@example.com
Date: Saturday, September 23, 2000 03:50 AM
As I mentioned before, it is always the best way to use raytrace reflections rather than refmaps. Not only to receive inter-object reflections, but especially to have a true "photo studio" look.
Those tips are ment to apply to designs, that are supposed to be as clean and accurate as needed for "advertisement photography", for instance. (dammit, my grammar is even worse than the refmaps on the MAX CD)
Imagine an ad in a news magazine, that depicts a new car, a vacuum cleaner or anything else, that has a highly reflective surface. If shot under studio conditions, they'll always have those fine "horizon gradients" and some bright spots here and there - at a second glance you'll also notice, that those reflections are aligned in a well-considered way (my vocabulary sucks as well!). They support and even emphasize the shape of an object - very important for metallic objects, since they are almost ONLY defined by their reflections.
So first of all: BUILD that photo studio! Create an environment, that contains lit screens, "light dishes" and even spotlights! Don't place a light in your scene, that doesn't have a _visible_ lightsource.
Now, how do you easily control, where on an object's surface an item will show up as a reflection later?
It's very simple: create an omni light in the center of a light dish for instance (it doesn't matter if that omni is actually switched on), link the dish to the light. Now use the Alignment function from the toolbar and choose "place highlight". Within the camera viewport: click on the spot on the objects surface, where you want the reflection to be - and then select the omni light! Finished! The light dish has now automatically moved to the correct position.
Proceed with all the other "reflection bodies" in your scene. You'll certainly have to fine-tune the setup, but the major part is already done.
Also make use of the raytracer's "distance blurring" for reflections. Very sharp reflections may otherwise disturb the appearance of your object.
OK, that's it for now. I know, it's been quite a rant for nuts... but in my opinion the best way to create stunning results!