Boxshot supports a lots of reflection features by the small number of parameters, so it is relatively easy to get used to them and get good results really fast.
There are several controls in the Reflection section of the Materials panel:
- Fresnel reflection - controls the Fresnel reflection mode (see below)
- Saturated by artwork - controls if the diffuse texture affects reflection (see below)
- Level - define the level of reflection
- Level mask - a grayscale map that allows you to have different reflection level in different places of the material
- Blur - controls how rough is the reflective surface
- Blur mask - a grayscale map that controls the blur level over the shape
- Tint - a color to multiply the reflection result
There are some other reflection-related options at the "Deprecated" section at the bottom of the panel:
- Raytraced reflection - switches between texture and environment reflection
- Samples - controls how many rays to trace when computing reflection
- Reflection texture - defines a texture to reflect
These options are deprecated and will be removed soon. All the reflections will become "raytraced", so there will be no need to have a special "reflection" texture. The "Samples" parameter only makes sense for old raytracing engine which is also deprecated. It doesn't really matter anymore.
Reflections are not saturated in Boxshot by default. This means if ray hits a reflective material, it simply reflects. The only thing that affects reflection is reflection tint, so you can color up the reflection. This is perfect for metallic foil effect, or plain metals.
For saturated reflections, ray first passes the diffuse layer and reflects then. This means reflection will be colored by the diffuse texture and look like a reflective metallic paint. This is good for complex labels, especially if reflection masks are used.
The image above has three balls. The one at the back has simple diffuse texture. The one at the left has non-saturated 100% reflection on top of that texture and the one at the right has the same reflection, but with the saturation option enabled. You see that reflection picks up the color of diffuse texture.
You can read more about this here.
Fresnel reflection simulates plastic surfaces, which reflect better at glancing angles. See the image below to compare fresnel and standard reflections:
The left sphere has 30% reflection level, the right sphere reflects automatically, according to the Fresnel's formula. The reflection level is defined by the angle and by the index of refraction, which is defined in the Refraction section below. There is a lot of information about Fresnel reflection in the Internet, there are tables of refraction indicies for various materials and other useful things that may help to achieve better results.
The chrome effect is useful to make reflective, metallic surfaces. It is usually done by reflecting a special "chrome" texture. See the can images below:
The left can reflects nothing, while the right one reflects a special "environment" texture. Feel the difference!
Blurred reflection may be really useful for rendering brushed metal and similar materials. See the image below:
The left can has sharp reflection, while the right one has blurred. Use the Blur slider to control the level of blur and the Samples parameter to adjust the number of traced rays per sample. The more samples traced, the smoother surface you'll get.
Reflection blur mask helps to make UV-spot surfaces - simply load a grayscale mask having black pixels for glossy areas and white pixels for blurred one, so you can get something like this:
Plane at the left has blurred reflection and no mask, while plane at the right has the same reflection and a mask.
Boxshot comes with a set of built-in materials. Try them and check their parameters to learn how they work that way. The other source of information is Google where you may find enormous amount of information about the reflection process and various parameters affecting it. Lots of commercial rendering engines has the similar parameters, so you may refer to their tutorials, as well.
Finally, feel free to contact us if you feel that something needs to be added to the reflections processing in Boxshot.