Rendering and Reality

Below are a computer rendering and a photo of my newest creation, soon to be installed in the Autodesk Inc. offices on Lake Oswego in Oregon.

I extensively use the CAD Software Fusion 360 for my designs and use the open source 3D software Blender and the commercial render engine Indigo Renderer to help design these objects. I’ve worked with CAD, computer graphics and rendering software for almost 25 years, but it still fascinates me how close the computer simulation and the photo are.

I’ve made no attempts to get these as close as possible and there is nothing calibrated in my workflow. The render comes out of Indigo Renderer without any post processing and the photo is straight off an iPhone 6. Mind-blowing, really!

About trippylighting

Mechatronics Engineer

Posted on February 6, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. That is incredible. Wouldn’t have thought that this is possible. It almost seems as if the render is more realistic than the real thing itself haha. Great job 🙂

  2. Amazing work, both the real thing and the 3D work! By the way, if you ever get into IP issues with the name of your lamp just call it The Famous Drummer Lamp, or Trippy Ringo perhaps. You’ll throw in a free riddle for the same price then 😉

    I got here because in the past year I have seen your name in many reactions on many Fusion360 questions I ran into when learning the software.

    I read about your workflow of Fusion360>Blender>Indigo. I am running into the limits of Fusion’s rendering capabilities when trying to render a realistic lava lamp. I can’t get the glass and liquid to conduct and emit light. Part of it must be due to my ample experience, but I am also pretty sure that i need a better render tool to achieve the desired result.

    Is it possible to render a design made in Fusion directly in Indigo? If I understood it correctly you only use Blender as step in between for modelling changes or additions that Fusion doesnt handle. As I am quite new to 3D stuff I am wondering which render tool I can best use to render the lamp designs I make in Fusion. Maybe as a newbie and startup I should even start with an open source or free render application unless Indigo is really worth the buck..

    Anyhow, thanks for all your helpful comments on the Fusion forum, and for this insiprational and informative website!

    • Hi Cas,

      Specular materials such as glass are very limited in Fusion 360 and the emitter materials don’t really seem to be refracted, which makes rendering luminaires in Fusion 360 very frustrating and unrealistic.
      To my knowledge, there is no other external render engine available for Fusion 360 except Keyshot, but Keyshot is very expensive and does not support GPU rendering (AFAIK).
      I use Blender as an intermediary step when rendering with Indigo. Models are exported from Fusion 360 into .stl and then imported into Blender, where I re-assemble the stuff and then assign materials. Indigo and a good number of other render engines provide plugins for Blender.
      An excellent free alternative should be LuxCore Render Not as fast as Indigo, but very capable with a very good Blender plugin.
      But Blender’s Eevee (real-time) and Cycles render Engine are also not bad at all and there are loads of tutorials.

  3. Thanks a lot for your swift response! After reading earlier about your workflow I downloaded Blender and ran into a comment somewhere else about Luxco Renderer and actually already installed that as well. Quite a steep learning curve ahead I’ve seen, especially for someone who is only used to the intuitive interface and way of working in Fusion, but I’ll give it a go then And also good to know that if rendering speed becomes an issue I have to turn to something like Indigo. So thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

    Curious to see your next lighting project!

  4. By the way, if that license price for Indigo is a one-off license fee it is not that expensive and definitely worth a try in the future..

  5. Per your recommendation, I am revisiting Blender to create video stills for some of the animation work I am doing right now. One thing I discovered is that exporting to *.fbx seemed to work really well, i.e., Blender respected the objects and materials used in the Fusion360 model…my outputs are going to be rendered stills for Webrotate360, *.glb for Windows 3D Viewer, and *.usdz for iOS devices. We actually make stuf, and are going to setup cameras and turntables to capture images of the made models in a conventional format… thank you! -:Dave

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