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I use the image below as my "learning vehicle". I have now learned how to model balloons, texturing the balloons and put text on the balloons. One of the qualities of this image is the reflections (of a window ?). I have no idea how to do that. Is this a background image ? Some HDRi lighting ?

enter image description here

I used the answer of m.ardito to create this test file. I create four planes with the array modifier and made these planes emissive. I also created a sun lamp. This resulted in the image below. Although I now have the "window like" reflections" I still have a couple of issues left:

1) I think I need a second lamp (sun lamp) for lighting the sphere but this gives reflections I don't want. How to solve that 2) How to get those window like reflections with sharp edges ? My reflections have very soft edges

enter image description here

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The simplest (or maybe fastest) way would be add some squared light for the baloon surface to reflect.

In blender cycles, for baloons try a red glossy (adds some mirroring), and add a "light" shaped like a window (either four planes in a square pattern or a single "light" plane with an opaque cross frames in front), with its material set to "emission" (cycles).

In blender render, the baloon material should have a degree of "mirroring" and the light could be four planes with a white material having "emit" shading.

It's a matter of experimenting a bit.

If you need a whole complex natural environment reflected in the baloons, like trees, building, people, etc. only then you need really to use hdri.

basic blender render example: "window" settings "baloon" settings

I edit my answer to add some more, as asked by the OP.

If you would like to absolutely avoid other reflections, you could use environment lighting, instead of lamps like this (blend file will follow), or an area light instead of sun, or some more tweaks to avoid that big specular..

I'll check your blend file later (and add mine) to find why you have those very soft edges...

here is mine... http://amrc.altervista.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/baloons.blend_.zip

enter image description here

also keep in mind that stock image could also be post processed later to get a perfect result... this is quite common to achieve artistic results.

ABout your soft "window" reflection edges, they are due to your setting for the glossy bsdf node (you have a quite complex node setup in this file!)

enter image description here

set it to 0 for perfect sharp result, or adjust to your need

like

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I tried to apply your suggestions but have some issues left (see my edit). Hope you don't mind to have a look ? $\endgroup$ – Old Man Oct 11 '15 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ you're welcome. I added above a picture from another experiment I did today, later .blend file will follow. $\endgroup$ – m.ardito Oct 11 '15 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ thanks for you extended answers !! I now understand that the roughness of the glossy shader controls how blurry the reflections are. And yes, at roughness = 0.0 the reflections of the four planes are very sharp. But also the reflection of my sun lamp disappears ... don't understand that. In your file you have one object Plane but it consists of four planes ??? How do you do that ? $\endgroup$ – Old Man Oct 12 '15 at 12:11
  • $\begingroup$ Glad to help. The 4-quad object is like 4 planes joined. I actually did it cutting from a bigger plane, but you could do it also joining separate simple meshes. Blender objects can be made of separate structures, even not connected by any edge. You could also do an object made by just points each not connected to anything... $\endgroup$ – m.ardito Oct 12 '15 at 12:21

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