I planned out in advance how I was going to complete the model briefly, before getting started as I said before – to ensure I didn’t encounter any game-breaking issues.
I decided the best way to model the main body of the model would be to use the Loft NURBS generator – the essential reason for this being the degree of control it gives me over smoothly tapering each end of the main body of the phone. I created a spline from the reference materials I had set up in the scene (using the symmetry object to ensure accuracy) and repeated them alongside the reference changing size in order to match the design. I changed the cap types to fillet with appropriate steps and radius values in order to give a bevelled, smooth look (as this was a visualisation model).
One issue i encountered through doing this was seams appearing once the Loft generator was applied to the splines – i later found this was due to mismatched points and subsequent overlapping splines. I researched the issue and in combination with experimentation by myself I solved the issue by moving the points apart, connecting and deleting the remnants of the two objects, and welding the points together into one. I made another extrusion with Loft NURBS for the indentation where the screen and digitizer would be placed, favouring it over the Extrude generator again due to how I was able to easy manipulate the bottom spline, giving a tapered effect to the indentation.
I produced the glass digitizer using an Extrude generator as I didnt require the same level of control as I did previously. I spent a long time perfecting the glass texture after I added the textured screen underneath in order to give the right effect on top; In addition to bevelling the sides of the screen to mimic its real-life counterpart, I used the refraction index of glass (commonly accepted as about 1.52) to meet my aims of realism for the product, as well as slight reflection to give a glare from the overhead lighting rig, and appropriate specular highlights. I added capacitive buttons in the same way, by making a small plane with the texture applied to it. Measures I took in preparation for this including tracing paths to a reference image for the symbols, since it was a high-definition 3D model I needed to use a vector texture for potential close-up shots, leaving options for different applications open.
The final step for this stage of the production (a model highly representative of the final product) was to look at environment, lighting, and rendering strategies. I turned on channels for Global Illumination, Ambient Occlusion, and Caustics as well as building a rainbow-coloured overhead lighting rig to light the scene. Global Illumination is a key asset to photorealistic rendering as it renders the scene using light emitted from reflections and other objects, rather than just rendering the scene with light from the light source (Christensen, 2010). Caustics was necessary due to my usage of glass texturing for the digitiser; the glass now not only casted shadows where appropriate, but the caustics (light rays caused by light refracting through the glass) were now included, adding to the realism (Lynch, 2001). Ambient Occlusion works in tangent with Global Illumination to make the scene more realistic; each point of illumination is the function of geometry elsewhere in the scene, and it provides darker shadows and areas progressively into un-lit areas (Whitehurst, 2004). I produced a set of renders with these effects in mind, as well as my lighting rig, and gradually adjusted specular highlights, reflections, and the smoothness of the body material with a higher contrast specular highlight in order to represent hard plastic with a clear, sharp highlight.
Christensen, H. 2010. Point-Based Global Illumination for Movie Production. [e-book] Pixar Animation Studios. Available through: graphics.pixar.com http://graphics.pixar.com/library/PointBasedGlobalIlluminationForMovieProduction/paper.pdf [Accessed: 27 Mar 2014].
Lynch, D. K. and Livingston, W. C. 2001. Color and light in nature. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Whitehurst, A. 2004. Andrew Whitehurst . Net. [online] Available at: http://www.andrew-whitehurst.net/amb_occlude.html [Accessed: 27 Mar 2014].