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Rendering Nicely with Blender

In this tutorial you will learn how to showcase your models after you have invested hours in modelling. It is based on  this video tutorial from BlenderNewbies.

I suggest, that you get the smoothing of your model right, before you start with this tutotial. If unsure, refer to this tutorial: Smoothing with Blender.

This is a very simple model, a cube that was subsurfed several times to bevel the edges a bit. It will serve as an example object for this tutorial.
First of all, we will insert a gradient as a background. In the Shading menu under World Buttons on the World tab, replace the default blue and black color with light and dark grey, for example. In the Preview tab, check Blend and preview your result.
Second, insert a plane under your model. It's color doesn't matter, but make sure, that it is large enough and that shadows are turned on. Furthermore, check the option OnlyShad under Shading -> Material buttons -> Shaders.
Now, select your light source and change it into an Area light under Shading -> Lamp Buttons -> Preview. On the Lamp tab. increase the area lamps size a bit. I chose a value of 2 here. You might have to adjust the lights energy a little, because the area lamp will be too bright otherwise.

In the Shadows and Spots tab, ensure that Ray Shadow is checked. Left of this button, select Constant Jittered.

Finally, in the Shading menu under World Buttons on the Amb Occ tab, turn Ambient Occlusion on. Set the Gather Method to Approximate and try Samples: 8.

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