An Introduction to KeyShot - Video Transcript

KeyShot Tutorial Series - To help you learn KeyShot and Rhino.

This is the video transcript, published alongside the video, to further support your Rhino for Windows and KeyShot learning experience.

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Hi this is Phil Cook at Simply Rhino. In this video, we are going to take a look at an introduction to rendering out of Rhino [Windows version] with KeyShot. KeyShot is an easy to use, photorealistic renderer, and if your aim is to create great looking images without a steep learning curve, then KeyShot has much to recommend it.

KeyShot is a standalone product and imports data from many common models. So if you use Rhino with, for example, SolidWorks, then KeyShot can render content from both. A useful addition for Rhino users is the plugin that allows for live linking, meaning that the geometry can be updated in Rhino and be pushed to KeyShot on the fly, and we’ll look at this during this video.

The starting point for the exercise is this Rhino model of a wrist watch. All of the components are modelled as water tight solids and each set of components are on individual layers. So for example, the hour, minute and second hands are separated as are the painted areas of the hands which will be rendered in a different material. By default, KeyShot applies materials on a per layer basis. We’re using KeyShot version 6.2 and we’ve installed the KeyShot for Rhino plugin and this gives an additional short menu with the following options: render; export; update and include nerves. I have the latter checked.

Before pushing this out to KeyShot, I’m going to turn on the geometry for the crystal and then go to my KeyShot menu and hit the render button. KeyShot will now open and the geometry appears inside of KeyShot. KeyShot presents us with a  real time rendered view and then some options on the left and the right. Briefly on the left we have materials, colours, environments, back plates, textures and an area in which to store our favourites of all of these.

To the right of the preview window we have our scene, and if I expand the scene here, you will see our file here and then all of the various components of the file on their separate layers.

Next to that we have material and here we can see the individual materials that are applied to the components in the model. These are mainly black at the moment because this is the default that’s carried over from Rhino. We then have the ability to edit the environment, lighting, camera and the image parameters.

Let’s first of all look at manipulating the model. The mouse gestures are slightly different in KeyShot to Rhino and to rotate the object I hold down the left mouse button and drag.  And to zoom, I use the scroll wheel as in Rhino, but the scroll wheel direction is reversed. If I want to pan, I hold down the middle mouse button or the scroll wheel and drag.

Let’s now look at applying some basic materials. There’s a good visual material library and a good set of standard materials. So let’s go to metal and steel and basic and apply a polish steel to the watch case, and the same material to the basal. Now at the moment these materials look a little lifeless, so let’s got to environment and drag in a basic environment. By default, this environment is used both to light with for the reflections and also for the background. We can change those parameters of course later on. Let’s go back to materials and add some further materials. So again, I’ll add the polished steel to the crown and let’s add a rough steel to the buckles. This material looks a little bit too rough. So let’s go in to the material editor and double click on rough steel and reduce the roughness.

Let’s go back to materials, and this area on the case has a brushed texture. So there’s a couple of brushed textures here. A light brushed texture would be good and we’ll add that to this area. Now I’m going to look at controlling the size and the mapping of this texture a little later on but for now I just want to get the basic material in place.

Let’s go to cloth and leather and just for the moment put a nylon material on to the strap. Again, we’ll look at the texture and the mapping of this a little later on, and of course our crystal here is covering most of what is going on in the face of the watch. So let’s go to our scene, locate the crystal layer and just turn that off.

Now all of the materials for the components of the dial come through as the default. So at the moment we can’t identify these. So although I’m still going to drag and drop the materials, I’m actually going to apply them to the appropriate layer in the model from our parts over here. So I’m going to first of all go to metal an precious metals, and use a platinum here and I’m going to use a polished platinum and I’m going to apply this to the surround for the applied markers and numerals and also to the logo and the boundary of the hour hand, minute hand and second hand. Then as most designers do, I’m going to change my mind and use a polished steel, or actually just a steel for the hands. That’s better. I don’t want those to be quite as bright as the boundaries for the numerals.

Okay, then I’m going to create a material for the self-illuminating paint inside of the hands. So let’s go to paint materials and matt and we’ll apply a matt white paint. I’ll go to the materials over here and locate that material. Double click and get in to the editor. I’m going to make the colour more grey, just so it’s not so bright and I’m going to reduce the roughness a little bit. In my materials over on the left hand side here, I’m going to go to the top level and add a folder. Call this folder watch, and then I can save this material. Actually before I do that, let’s rename it and save this to my new folder. Okay, then I can go back to scene and I can apply this to the infill for the hands. Let’s go back to matt paint and pick the actual full white material now and let’s apply that to the minute track and also to the text on the dial. And also we need a material for the dial itself as well.

Now the dial material, again, I think we’ll edit this. So I want to make this a little bit darker and less rough. Now we might swap this dial material later on but for now this will be good. Let’s save this. So that should be saved in here now. So we’ve got our dial now and our super luminova saved in our watch folder.

Okay so now I can go back to the scene and turn back on the crystal and then give this a material. So to keep things simple to start with I’m going to use a simple glass material, a clear glass and use the basic glass. In order to improve this material slightly, I go to material, edit this material and turn on the two sided value, just slightly increase the refraction on it to make it look a little bit more like crystal. But I don’t want too much reflection on here, just enough that I can get an idea that the crystal is actually domed.

Okay so you’ll see that we’re starting to get a really good basic viable render now. So before we go in and play with any of the textures, let’s just look at a couple of things we can do with the scene. So in environment, we can rotate the actual HDR that’s used to light with and also is used to create the reflections and this is quite nice the way we can preview this on the fly. We can increase or decrease the contrast, brightness and we can choose whether to have the environment in the background or whether to have a flat colour and of course we can change that colour and make this a grey scale and we can choose to have ground reflections to flatten the ground as well.

In lighting here, we can move from our basic lighting preset to product for example, which will give us a little bit better calculated solution. It will take a little longer to calculate but our lighting will be better. We can do things like increase the quality of the shadows. You can see the shadows are a little bit blocky down here, so we can increase the quality of those. All of these things of course increase the quality of the render time but ultimately will give us a nicer image.

Let’s go back to the nylon fabric and look at the texture on this. We can either choose to increase the scale of the texture here and we can choose a mapping style here as well. There you go, and you’ll see if I increase this, you’ll see how much bigger this gets now. Just to speed things up, I’ll go back to the lighting here and reduce this a little here just so we can see the texture. So this has got much more of a texture that we want here. The box mapping would be a more appropriate texture for this because then we’ll get the texture on the side here. It just wants to be slightly smaller than that and that’s looking pretty good. Let’s also look at the texture of the brushed metal here as well. So let’s go back to the material and look at the texture here and let’s try a planer Z map for this and turn this round. I want the brushing to go top to bottom here. I might need to zoom in a little here to just see this. Indeed, I might need to turn up the scale to see which way this texture is going because it’s pretty subtle. That’s better so now I can see that’s going the right way I think. Let’s just turn that up a bit more. There we go, I can see that going lengthways now. So let’s just make sure that’s mapped on the sides as well and turn the value of the scale right down again now.

Okay so let’s just leave that for a moment to regenerate and we should be getting close to a reasonably good render now. So this is looking reasonably interesting now. One of the things that I’m not happy with is the size of this logo here. This is a good opportunity to show the update feature in the Rhino plugin. So let’s go back to Rhino here, hide the crystal here and take a look at the elements of this logo and let’s look at increasing the size of these. So I’m going to scale this 3D and make this quite a bit bigger and I also need to make sure that I adjust the height of this as well. So I’ll have to turn off a few layers. And then I need to move this vertically, turn on project of course here and snap that on to the top of the dial. Show all of the other components now and I’m going to make sure that those objects are selected there and just hit update and go back to KeyShot and you’ll see that my logo has updated. This is also the case if I create new geometry as well.

So if I just put something in here for the sake of argument and update, this will come in to my KeyShot document.

Okay, so this gives us a really nice way of live linking the two programmes together. One of the things that I want to do when I’m designing something like this, which is effectively a piece of jewellery is have a really good handle on the effects of changing materials and the scale of certain items. So the render window here is progressive inside of KeyShot’s, this continually updates and I can either choose to wait for the render to update and use effectively a screen capture, or I can render out to a saved render file. A couple of other things that I can do here inside of camera, is that I can turn on depth of field. I can select a point of focus, click on the model where the focus is and of course reduce the aperture here. Let’s make this about F12 and just get a little bit of blur in to the back of the image. Once you have depth of field enabled, this adds considerably to the time that the real time preview takes.

Okay so now we’ve let the progressive render go for a little while, you’ll see how all the shadows now are smoothed out. We’ve lost that blockiness that was down here. We’ve got nice depth of field going on now, nice smooth blurring here, nice and sharp around here where we set the focus and we’ve got a reasonably good image.

I’m going to take that depth of field off now and let’s look at rendering out an image. So first of all we can pause the real time render and then we can go to the render button here and we can choose either a preset size for the render here or of course set our own values here, and we can choose either to render a region or the entire image. We’ve got options here for the level of quality we want to use. We can choose how many CPU cores to use and we’ve got render queueing in here as well. So let’s hit the render button and you’ll see the render starts to create. Now this is more akin to a normal ray trace render now, where it’s rendering the scene bucket by bucket or piece by piece and we’ll just let this render complete and you can see the quality of the output.

Okay so there we go, we can see the final image now. Let’s just take this up to 100% and you can see this is reasonably good. You can see we’ve got a bit of an error here in the surface. So we can go back to Rhino and fix that but overall the image looks fairly good. So let’s just go back to fix this in Rhino. So uncheck the pause here. Let’s go back to our Rhino model, and there you can actually see the problem here where we actually have a duplicate surface there. So let’s just take this out and take this part and push this back out to KeyShot. Go back to KeyShot. There we go, that looks much better.

So you can see this idea of having the update in KeyShot really, really useful, just being able to go back to Rhino, update the geometry, push that straight back to Rhino again, really good. So let’s just do a few little tweaks on this, just manipulate the view slightly. Just move that refraction slightly as well, get a little bit more interest in the brushed area of the case and move this strong reflection out of the way of the logo there. I just want to see a little bit of light on this crystal here. That looks a little bit better, so let’s render that out and take a look at this.

Okay so there we go, we’ve obviously shortened that sequence a little but we can see now we’re at 100% and you can see this looks pretty good. We’ve fixed this problem with the strap. We might choose to reduce the brightness of the white hands and the numbers and markers slightly but other than that, this is looking pretty good. So there we go, first simple render with KeyShot and Rhino.

Thanks for watching and please do check back for regular video updates at Simply Rhino.


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