Exploring Iray®+’s Capabilities through Extravagant Jewellery Design

Posted on 14/03/2017

There’s little question about the importance of 3D visualisations in today’s design-driven fields; and how such fresh visual immersion holds major potential for companies worldwide. Photorealistic visualisation has become an essential tool in today’s architectural, engineering, automotive and jewellery marketing workflows and it’s easy to see why;

Interactive rendering solutions enable proactivity towards clients, customers and various audiences, through high-quality visuals and engaging promotional collateral from initial design through to the point-of-sale, leading to an increased web traffic, industry recognition and a chance for early adopters to shine out and outperform their competition.

We’ve taken a closer look at how Iray+ can become a great tool for design visualisation and creativity in industries as varied as architecture and BIM, all tiers of automotive or media and entertainment. No matter whether images are created for design departments, marketing teams or external stakeholders, when it comes to bringing concepts to life and creating deceptively realistic visuals, 3D artists deserve (almost) all the credit.

Although, we are experts in Iray+ technology, Lightworks has set out to interview independent 3D artists; engaged in the most different of industries and projects, working with the Iray+ plugin. Our aim was to explore and understand why this technology is indispensable when it comes to conveying creativity and expressing diverse visual ideas. This month we sat down to talk with Bernd Haier about his jewellery designs.


Rendering Jewellery with Iray+

Bernd Haier is a Germany-based CG artist, mainly engaged in architectural and constructional projects, with numerous years of experience in the 3D visualisation field. Coming from Freudenstadt, close to Stuttgart, he quickly developed an interest in 3D design and started experimenting with software such as Turbo Silver on his very first Commodore Amiga in the early days of computer-aided visualisation; scratching the very surface of photorealism.

2. ring v1-2K-logo

As of today, he mostly works with Autodesk’s 3ds Max and blends his remarkable technical skills stemming from parametric architectural design, with a special fascination towards glass-made jewellery creations.

Bernd remains an ongoing enthusiast of this exceptional rendering technology and keeps on exploring its unique platform to fulfil his artistic vision. His fascination with GPU rendering – and Iray+’s ability to be scaled in performance across multiple graphic units –  eventually led him to upgrade his workstation from his Quadro graphics card to three NVIDIA Titan X Pascal GPUs with increased cooling and a significant step up in performance.

When asked about his work and inspiration, Bernd eagerly explained that he approaches each jewellery project from a sculpting point of view and experiments by forming a complex shape with the help of Iray+’s rapid pre-rendering and the morph target animation tool in 3ds Max. In the next step, he creates a suitable material for his creation; by modifying and applying one of Iray+’s physically-based materials onto jewellery models created during the pre-animations.



Iray+ allows for seamless, physically-based material exchange; to replace and export complex, real-world materials and move them to other applications with a few clicks while maintaining the appearance of custom textures and finishes throughout the entire workflow. This uniform user experience helps to speed up the creative process, eliminate risks and incorporate materials into the design process at any stage.

Jewellery animations, photorealistic light conditions and lifelike materials are key to Bernd’s workflow. Apart from a plethora of custom-made Iray+ material, and the access to transferrable MDL (Material Definition Language) materials, Bernd explains that tone mapping can also be an excellent toolkit for a subsequent light setup. Physical Sky and IBL (image-based) light with HDRI images represent a “huge help when creating realistic lights, without the need to purchase and set up expensive light equipment for time-consuming photoshoots”. 

Supporting Image for Exploring Iray®+’s Capabilities through Extravagant Jewellery Design

Introducing a world of shiny immersion

To make jewellery pieces or even entire collections reach their potential, each element of a jewellery design has to be crafted to perfection.

With Iray+’s immediate visual feedback and accurate visual calculations, bespoke and individual creations can easily be customised in order to achieve outstanding photorealistic results; eliminating the need for multiple, time-consuming test renders or prototypes.

One of the greatest benefits of Iray+’s interactive pre-rendering capability, as Bernd explains, is that he can seamlessly exchange complex materials and when he discovers a new, exciting shape he can save it for future design purposes. Bernd and 3D artists with a taste for experimentation can easily combine textures, colours, displacement maps and measured materials to achieve the perfect look they’re looking for thanks to an extensive material library.

Preparation time usually takes around two months until reaching a final jewellery animation from a new creative vision in Bernd’s design workshop, while individual render times don’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes per image with nearly 5000 passes – which is necessary to “avoid unpleasant surprises that stem from too much noise or flaws of designing elements”.

Another Iray+ feature, which Bernd finds incredibly useful is the plugin’s wide spectrum of real time and interactive visualisation scenarios. Iray+’s quick, real-time preview function works great in combination with scalable GPU rendering; harbouring great potential for up-and-coming 3D artists and jewellery modellers who wish to take into account more resilient, affordable and extendable hardware components when building their new workstations.

When discussing his further interests, Bernd revealed that apart from architecture and product design, he takes an increasing interest in automotive visualisation while expressing a strong desire to closely follow the latest industry trends, including one field in specific, which has been routinely dissected by nearly all technology blogs as well as Lightworks in the past year.

In Bernd’s view, virtual and augmented reality seem to be equally important for the jewellery market as they are for other sectors that are keen on searching for new streams of clients, innovative channels of distribution and sales while conveying brand messages a bit differently. With Iray+, virtual reality can easily be made part of any organisational and design workflow; bringing within reach stunning materials with real world properties and full-scale environments, which enable true interactivity, immersion and outstanding client reviews.

Bernd’s work is available on platforms such as Youtube and Vimeo as well as visual portfolio sites such as ArtStation, Behance and DeviantArt. Later on this year, we’re going to be taking a look at the automotive CG works of Thorsten Hartmann and explore how Iray+ can aid the design workflow in the car industry. In the meantime, don’t forget to check back for our latest features on the most electrifying industry trends and give Iray a go with this 90-day free trial.

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