Gold Chrome Bug Heads

So I recently had this interesting request. A relative of a friend of mine is an airbrush hobbyist. That’s right, using a real airbrush. The usage of this tool is to be greatly respected, as it is an arcane and delicate art, taking years to master. It was once the only way to accomplish certain graphic effects that computer users now take for granted. It occurred to me that I actually have one of these locked away, an old Paasche VL that I haven’t touched in over a decade. I originally bought it with the idea of airbrushing t-shirts. Yes, t-shirts. Please don’t laugh. Every mall and amusement park had an airbrush booth once. So, this gentleman was unsure of his technique for rendering chrome objects, and wanted me to model a chunk of objects that he had designed for a painting, and render them in CG with a chrome shader…for reference. I was actually doing CG pre-viz for an analog airbrushing project. I’ll wait a second for the irony to sink in.
All that aside, it gave me the opportunity to further explore a CG effect that quite frankly I just haven’t had much call to mess with, despite the old chestnut that it is: the chrome surface. Since the target was an airbrushed object, I didn’t resort to my old trick of using a photographic reflection/environment map. I wanted the reflection to be featureless, save for the boundary between ground and sky. It took longer than I thought to get it right, but I’m happy with the result.


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