Chrome Shine Effect

I have a flat png of a logo and they want me to make it have a chrome look when comping it onto the building. Aside from creating a 3D element of it and applying a chrome texture, any tips or tricks you guys might have to knock this out? I realize this is quite vague and as always, thanks in advance!

Can you just create a thin angled matte and wipe it across the front and use that to grade up the metal? Maybe multiply the matte with some horizontally stretched noise tracked to the sign.

I find looking at real world references for this kind of stuff will immediately put you on the right path. I just googled “chrome sign building” and you can see these three images, it’s the reflections to me that really give it the chrome feeling.

The simplest 2d method: I would mock up a reflection plate, depending on the environment (so could be a picture of buildings that I manipulate and color correct to taste, or an open field with wind turbines, or honestly it probably doesn’t even matter that much), then either screen or add it on to the element if I like how the bright open areas of my reflection area make the chrome pop, or softlight or some blend mode like that if I want to keep the base brightness of my chrome element and darken some areas to simulate the reflections.

A couple things to note: if the camera is moving anything other than a nodal pan, that reflection should be set back in z depth appropriately to simulate the parallax of the reflection. The simple hacks for this are 3d track the scene, use a locator that’s further back in z, and project with that. The distance should be relatively the same back in z from the object as it is in in front of the camera. So if I’m thinking in simple units, if the buildings reflected in the sign are are 10 meters in front of the building, I want to use a locator that’s 10m behind if I have it. The other method would be a reflection map in flame, but that’s going to be harder to art direct and control in my opinion. Also, if it’s a shallow depth of field, that reflection needs to be more out of focus than if there is a deep depth of field. Finally, could help to add the ever so slightest bit of distortion to the reflection when it’s parallaxing against the element, but probably something to look at and say “does this need this” or “is this just weird looking and distracting and possibly not very realistic.”

Hope this is helpful in any way!


What about applying an IBL of the scene to light the logo?


To do it as a 2d hack I suggest building it in parts…essentially as passes and then comp together

1 - an image in action which is 100% an environment map, graded to match the scene lighting, with the png matte, and position/track in action use as output 1 from action. Can use a freebie hdr for this form the web.

2 - copy the image above and offset just the front environment map…this will be used for bevelled edges below in step 3. Use 2 as output 2 in action.

3 - pipe out the Matt output of the output 1 and do an edge detect. Thickens depending on how
Much bevel needed. Even if it has no bevel at all it should have a very thin edge at least.

4 - comp 2 over 1 using 3 as the matte.

4b - if we are at an angle then use a 2d transform of Matt output of 1 and subtract that from 3 so you only see the bevels facing camera. (It’s a fudge and not always gonna work perfect. To get it really right you can roto out the back faces)

5 - use a noise texture for distress

6 - use grad as a matte for sheen/spec accents keeps these sharp relative to the focus at that depth.

7 - play with blur on the 1 and 2 outputs image fronts, prior to them going into the action (ie only the front and leave the matt from the one as needed…this can approx different types of metal reflection from Matt (very blurry) to full chrome (sharp)

8 - add shadows on the building as needed…

If there is a camera move you will have to hand animate the environment maps (1 and 2) offsets using this method. Usually works pretty easily on Smooth moves if you can approx the correct parallax shifts well enough. If it’s aggressive or bumpy then best to track and invert and then multiply that with an expression….

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I’ve used PSD mockups in the past as a beginning point for these sorts of things. (The Kramery logo @BrittCiampa linked to is one 3D Logo Mockup Modern Facade Chrome Sign Free PSD - PsFiles).

You just need the right IBL to light the logo, there are tons on and play with shader