My Lighting Challenge Render: Lighting and Texturing an iPhone 4S

December 2, 2011

In this video, I show you how I built my render for the first GSG Lighting Challenge from a couple months ago. First, I show you some of the ways I figured out how to light the scene and then I get into changing some of the textures and dialing it in to get the final look. The goal was to make a pixel perfect render of the intro to this iPhone 4S Video from Apple. There were ton of renders and critique in the comments from some really great artists over the last couple months. Hopefully it was a helpful challenge. I know I learned a lot doing it. I will be looking for an excuse to do another one of these soon.

My Final Render

Tutorial Focus:  , , ,
Software:  ,

  • Awesome Tutorial Nick!


  • Damn I wish I had a MacBook pro :'(
    But good vid 🙂

  • Yeaah great render. Looks really good!

  • Hi Nick, thanks for another great tutorial. One thing that I noticed is that the iPhone screen looks a bit opaque – did you texture it using the color or the luminance channel? Cheers!

  • That was really a fun tutorial. Learned a lot – its always in the details. Thanks Nick!

  • Sir you are great .

    Mac Pro 12 vs HP Z800 vs 3DBOXX 8550 XTREME = Fast physical render.

  • Hi.Very Good,tnx

  • Very good rendering. Really.
    But talking about being pixel perfect… this is an IPhone 4, not a 4S. 🙂

  • anisotropy = an-iso-trop-ee
    anisotropic = an-iso-tropic


  • wtf, Your not a gorilla

  • Not bad at all. Does the phone not have transparency on the camera? Was interesting that when using AO you didn’t have to tick the evaluate transparency variable.

  • Its been bugging me for weeks, but I notice in your recent videos the string that’s supposed to hold your microphone in position has not been attached to the hook. Could you please fix it?

  • Nick! You are the master of all lighting masters! You really got this one close to the original!

  • Thanks for another great tut Nick. I especially liked the part about targeting a animated Null for the DoF shift. Seems so simple, but this kind of information is hard to find and doesn’t always come naturally to folks still learning about the larger 3D universe, not just an applications buttons. I also appreciated the moments where you talk about the chrome banding material and building up metals. I need a lot of glass and metal materials in my work and always struggle with this. On line information about the true depth of the material editor beyond the basics in Cinema seems to be lacking. More of this exploration is appreciate and encouraged. As always, thanks for what you do.

  • Great nick… just downloaded the model and starting to tweek a lil … by the way … its 4am here in mexico city but .. i can sleep later … peace out you GSG fellows

  • hi and tanks for tut but pls learn us LIGHTING metods and tecnics U just show us light kit .
    agian tnx for all tuts

  • Great Nick,

    I really did pick up some good tips here.

    The DOF targeted to a animated Null is really great tip to know

    What made you decide not to use GI for this exercise?
    When do you know when to use GI?

    Again brilliant tut my friend


  • Short question.

    Would it be legal to use such a result, modified model in an individual website advertisment, for example with a promo-video on top of the IPhone?

    c. u. stevie

  • Hi I am French,
    I’m for some months now and this is the result :

  • I Gorilla….

    Very nice, but i try to make a white version, but i have some problem’s with the white shader, can you help me?

    Best regards


  • Very nice! Question: I see that you replaced the material with a pic of your home screen, but what if you wanted to add an external compositing tag (kinda how you did in your plasma tv tutorial) and bring the whole scene inside AE for more compositing, how would I do that?

  • can you make it explode just at the end of the vid?

  • You can use the project for free?
    with materials and lighting

  • I like the shining in the phone, great job 😀

  • Hey, Nick …please make a tutorial about this…l ! Thanks!

  • Your tutorials are great!! Keep em comin’! Im learning C4D now. It’s a great program but there’s one thing that annoys me…..Render Layers? Where is that? In maya you can make renderable layers, then there’s no need for image buffers. My first project in C4D needed everything rendered separately so there was time remapping on each sequence.. There is a script out there but its a little buggy. Any suggestions? Heres my website

  • Hey Nick!
    I’m having some trouble
    I followed everything you did, and I’m ready to render this out
    But once i hit that render button, it says “Unable to write”

  • Great work sir..

    God bless you

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