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I recently came across this image:

What I am trying to acheive
(source: makeuseof.com)

How can I recreate this style in Cycles? I can manage with the modeling part but I have no idea with such lighting. I have tried a glossy shader, a powerful point light and a white background, but it is no where near the realism of the above photo. Currently, I have managed this:

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ remember that dealing with glossy objects is not about lighting the object, but creating something to be reflected by it. See this post: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/15683/… $\endgroup$ – cegaton Nov 26 '15 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ I usually create this type of lighting with several sun lamps aiming in slightly different directions with different shadow sizes. $\endgroup$ – PGmath Nov 26 '15 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ Also, make sure you are mixing with a Diffuse shader as well. $\endgroup$ – VRM Nov 26 '15 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ @cegaton The displaced cubes should reflect themselves $\endgroup$ – Farhan Anam Nov 28 '15 at 9:45
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There are two main differences I see between your render and the reference image: the shader and the lighting.


Shading

It looks like in your render you have only used a glossy shader with a red color for the cubes. However in the real world, the glossy reflections are rarely colored (except on metallics), the color comes from the diffusion. See how the glossy reflections on the reference image are actually white (the color of the light and background), not red?

Here is my node setup for a general plastic material.

enter image description here

The base is just a diffuse with a little bit of SSS and gloss, then a sharp Fresnel gloss mixed in.


Lighting

There are 3 main differences I noticed about the lighting in your reference image versus your render.

  • The white backdrop. To make a white backdrop like what is shown, create a plane, extrude the back edge up, add a subsurf modifier, and add some proximity cuts near the corner to hold the curve to the corner. Just use a pure white diffuse shader for its material.

enter image description here

  • The shadows are very soft. To create soft shadows in Cycles you need to use larger values for the Size parameter on your lamps (found under the Lamp rollout of the Object Data properties panel). This effectively blurs the edges of shadows produced by that lamp.

enter image description here

  • The shadows are directly underneath the object. To create shadows like this I like to use several sun lamps aimed in slightly different directions with different shadow sizes and strengths. I usually have one slightly brighter main light, and two dimmer backup lights with even larger shadow sizes aimed in opposite directions and angles from the main light.

enter image description here


Result

Here's my result:

enter image description here

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The original image seems it has been rendered using a simple white Background lighting rig. There's no single point lamp in the original image, as far as I can see. Furthermore, the shader simulate a smooth and reflective plastic material. This is the result with a modeled plane for the background, a cube with bevel and arrays applied, then displacing some of the cubes, with a simple diffuse material for the background plane and a shiny red plastic material (with Fresnel and Energy conservation, PBRish) for the cubes. enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I will also point that it seems that the main light source is coming from above. Maybe also you can use the HSV value node for the background plate material and increase the value of the color up to 1.1 in order to achieve a more white background. $\endgroup$ – Jorge Losilla Martínez Nov 26 '15 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ The suggestion of the background white object really makes it much much better. Also, I used the same point lamp and got a decent result. But can you please help me with setting up the material of the cubes? $\endgroup$ – Farhan Anam Nov 26 '15 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ And as for applying the bevel and array, I did the same thing. The bevel is not that apparent. I should increase it. $\endgroup$ – Farhan Anam Nov 26 '15 at 17:27

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