View Full Version : How does one create/render that nice OSX reflection thing ?

06-29-2005, 04:09 PM
Ola !

You guys probably all know those Apple OS "Aqua" buttons, and that nice reflection look they have. Well, I thought that would be easy, but I have tried for about half an hour now and just don't seem to be doing it correctly.
Does anybody know a tut on this or has some quick tips ?
I have problems with flat objects especially...but the spherical ones, too...
Thanks !

06-29-2005, 04:50 PM
It's done with a 2D program (i.e., Photoshop). There are many tutorials for it around the net. Google is your friend.

06-29-2005, 04:53 PM
If doing it in LW...you've got to have a good reflection map...shiny things are boring in completely white rooms.

06-29-2005, 08:04 PM
Its all about reflection. Works better if you have a curved surface too. Just put a luminous poly in the scene and move it around until it looks nice. Heres one i did real quick. Scene and stuff is here for you to try it out.

u wild
06-30-2005, 05:48 AM
I did them in Photoshop

Feel free to use the files attached to your needs. :)

Best regards



OSX Style Buttons (http://threedee.home.solnet.ch/img/OSX_Style_Buttons.rar)

06-30-2005, 06:47 AM
I did these some time ago. I had to create a ton of new shapes for a software interface using the "aqua" look.

The scene is pretty straightforward and simple. Feel free to use and abuse it as you see fit.

It's all in the reflections!! :)



Scene archive: Aqua_rig (http://www.thorngrafx.com/aqua_rig.zip)


06-30-2005, 11:48 AM
Hey, folks !

Thanks for all the kind replies and files.

Phil, thanks for the scene, You rock !!!

06-30-2005, 01:13 PM
I rendered this out of LW a while back. The secret was definitely in the reflection map. I also used a sphere facing out for the map, then a flipped sphere facing in for the blue inner and lit them seperately. Also used gradients on the blue inner sphere to control it's color.

In the end it worked well and can even be animated and moved around.

if you want, I can post the reflection map I made. On the reflection map, I had to fake the horizon down to get the relfection highlight to appear in the right spot.

sorry for the compression artifacts.

06-30-2005, 04:03 PM
come on guys, using lightwave to do this fx is like shooting sparrows with a bazooka. like kvaalen said, any 2d program will do it. preferable photoshop. google and you will finde lots of tuts. with a little practise, it'll be done in 5 minutes.

06-30-2005, 05:22 PM
shooting sparrows with a bazooka.

But it's a can't miss proposition :D

and that globe looks sooo cool

Even with the Aussie and antartic continents crashing unto Africa.
Tho there must be some horrendous earthquakes...it looks cool

06-30-2005, 05:42 PM
I agree with Kike01. :rolleyes:

Comon everybody grab your spears, your shotguns, your torches! We're gonna go on over and root out the guy who started this thread. Yea! we'll Get'em common! Get Hiiiiim!!!!!

Nobody's gonna do something in LW that you could do in photoshop in this town! AHHHH!!!!!! Comon!!!!!! GrrraaHHH GET HIM!!!!!

Seriously - or is that the problem - there is nothing more satisfying than pushing the envelope and it is not even really pushing the envelope. Personally I have done theese kinds of things in photo shop and also I have done things in photoshop that should be done in lightwave.

The cover of a Photoshop magazine last year had a scene of an old movie theater that a guy did in "3D" in photoshop. In fact there is a whole group of guys working in photoshop with this technique of photoreal 3D stuff put together entirely with 2D elements! So what.

Have fun using whatever tools you have and feel like using to create whatever you want to create.

Just stay clear of the mobs! :D

But hey everybody has an opinion, That's why this is a forum. :)

Image below for a book cover I created entirely in Photoshop (Sketch was scanned as was paper BG) Flower bumpmaps a little off but it is a WIP.

EDIT:Pic was a little large, Here's just a detail.

06-30-2005, 10:43 PM
Just my 2 cents... I managed to create 10 different icons of varying shapes, sizes etc. in minutes after I made that Aqua rig. So creating the rig and then creating the shapes (based on AI outlines we already had) was all done in under an hour. I have created the Aqua buttons, bars etc. with Photoshop and this is definitely a HUGE time saver!

So for me, 1/2 hour creating 10 icons in LW compared to an hour or two (maybe more on the complex shapes) to make a 2D paint proggy create 3d-looking icons... hmmmm I don't call it a bazooka, more like a 3d tool to create 3d. :-)

Surrealist: Bert Monroy (http://www.bertmonroy.com) was the artist you are talking about. I've seen him doing that stuff live and it's amazing.

BTW, I LOVE Photoshop and use it daily

And besides... no one really told Emmanuel "how" to use Photoshop to create the effects.

Here's a little test with my Aqua-rig.

Load aqua_rig, switch to modeler, create a capsule primitive, squash it a little, send to layout, clear the disc, hit F9 render: 30 seconds or less...


switch to modeler, create a torus primitive, squash it a little, send to layout, clear the capsule, hit F9 render: 30 seconds or less...


switch to modeler, create a teapot primitive, squash it a little, send to layout, clear the torus, hit F9 render: 30 seconds or less...


OK, that was fun. :-)

Anyway, use whatcha got... use whatever works.

07-01-2005, 12:29 AM
That's great work by the way man.

Edit: Oh and thanks for the link. I was just thinking I would love to find that guys stuff on the web.

One of his Photoshop and Illsustrator - no scans!

07-01-2005, 12:56 AM
hi I'm sorry if i come across as a bit grumpy but frankly I'm an advocate of form and function in icon design. Rather than bagging a technique to be used for this or that I think you should be encouraging different applications for 3D.

Anyway here is a link for somone that is pushing icon design.
He's the guy responsible for some most of the best OS X icons. Now go and render yourself an icon :)


07-01-2005, 02:38 AM
Great link. This guy is a pro.

Here 's a quote from his website:

Here is a collection of some icons I have created for OS X software developers. To see a larger collection of the icons I did for each product click on the preview icon next to the job description. I use Photoshop, Illustrator, Icon Composer, and my newest tool Cinema 4D to create my icons. If you want to see me walk through my icon creation process check out my interview on TechTV. If you think you need an icon for your application send me...

Render on!

07-01-2005, 06:29 AM
But it's a can't miss proposition
but nothing will be left of the sparrow ;)

if it realy takes you an hour to do that fx in photoshop, i agree, it's better for you to use lw.

this is my result after 5 min. in photoshop:

07-01-2005, 07:19 AM
Kike01, I agree with you on a simple one like that, more like 30 seconds for me. :-)

Like I said, I had to create a phone, mailbox, PDA, Workstation all in about an hour. So it was Lightwave and FPrime for me! :)

Here's some 2D icons, usually takes me 5-10 minutes each for these:

Kinda wierd how these threads go. It's LW forum so I helped someone out with a simple LW scene. simple as that.

07-01-2005, 10:38 AM
photoshop is fine, as long as you don't have to animate your icons.

and Philthorn is right, once you have your light and texture setup, you can crank out variations quicker in LW than in photoshop. I recently had to design a series of icons for SciFi UK, and we used LW to version them and ensure a consistent look.

07-02-2005, 07:49 AM
i think you guys missed the point. his question was:
...those Apple OS "Aqua" buttons, and that nice reflection look they have...
he did not ask about icons ore animating. if you look at my psd you will see that you can change the color and text or add icons in seconds. you do the button only once. and if you look at most of your results, they look more like plastic then apple os aqua butts. sure this forum is abut lightwave but the fastest and easiest way is to use photoshop. like a saying in german: if you want to drink a glas of milk you dont buy the whole cow. we gave him a cuple solutions now let him choos. it's always good to have a couple solutions.

07-02-2005, 08:03 PM
I don't mind it....it's interesting :D


07-03-2005, 12:15 AM
Ok so using LW on this is like using a bazooka to shoot sparrows. I think it is important to mention that if you actually HIT a sparrow with a bazooka, you can sleep easier knowing that it is one completely dead sparrow.

I do not think there is a single recorded (and credible) case of a sparrow surviving a direct hit from a bazooka. In fact, I think suggesting that a sparrow could survive a direct hit from a bazooka might go a fair ways towards undermining the credibility of anyone who might suggest it.

So what I am saying is, if the tool works, and he likes it....why not? Personally, I much prefer Lightwave to Photoshop. Of course, in doing it with lightwave, he can put some line in the description like "interface features 3-D rendered buttons to make the program look as good as it runs," or some such thing.

07-03-2005, 11:02 AM
Indeed I forgot to mention that I would probably need to animate such buttons (clicking on them or mouse over will rotate them), thats why I didn't need advice on the Photoshop way of doing it...thanks all for contributing !!

07-03-2005, 11:42 AM
Speaking of icons, some might not have seen these ...