This corkscrew could be lit in many ways but in this tutorial, we will be creating quite a dark image overall using highlights to show off the form. We will use soft edged strips of white, black and gray.

The white will come from the direct specularity of the lights. The black will come from the absence of any reflection. The gray will come from the reflection of the studio because the environment is empty.

Import the Geometry

Download the corkscrew and studio meshes from the links above.

  • In Houdini, go to File > Import > Geometry... and select the studio.obj. Repeat the process for corkscrew.obj
Smooth the Geometry
  • Let's subdivide the corkscrew and the studio. Select both the nodes and choose Add Arnold Properties from the Arnold toolbar.
  • This will add the Arnold tab to the nodes property window. Go to this tab and change the Subdivision Type to Catmull-Clark and the Iterations to 4.

Create a Camera

Back at the object level, tab-create a camera and view through it by using the yellow drop-down menu in the top right corner of the viewport. Frame the corkscrew. Select the camera node and under the View tab, change the Resolution to HDTV 1080. Test renders will be done at half this resolution, but we will change that later. Change the Focal Length to 35 and reframe it. This will accentuate the Depth of Field that we will add later.


Add a (Temporary) Light
  • Tab-create an Arnold Light. Select the arnold_light1 node and go to the Light tab. Change the Light Type to Skydome and increase the Samples to 2. We will change this light later when we come to tweaking the overall lighting.


Create the Floor Shader

The shaders for the studio are very simple. A default Standard Surface shader for the floor and a darker version for the reflector. 

Lets create the floor shader now and do the others later.

  • Go to the SHOP and tab-create an Arnold Shader Network. Rename this to floor. Enter this vopnet and create a Standard Surface shader and connect the RGB output to the surface input of the OUT_material.
  • For now, we will assign the floor shader to everything. Go back to object level and select both the corkscrew and studio nodes. In the Material put the path  /shop/floor.


Render Output
  • In order to Render with Arnold, we need to add an Arnold ROP to the outputs. Go to Outputs in the network editor and tab-create an Arnold node.


  • Click on the Output tab and tick Override Camera Resolution, set the Resolution Scale to 1/2 (Half Resolution).

  • On the Sampling tab, increase Camera and Diffuse samples to 4
Test Render
  • Press render in the ROP to see the corkscrew at this stage.


You can download the result of this section below.



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