Rendering a Guitar in Blender with Cycles

Hello and welcome to this tutorial on rendering a guitar in Blender with Cycles!

In this tutorial by Kent Trammell, you’ll be taken through the process of rendering a sleek, electric guitar image in Blender with the Cycles render engine.

What you’ll learn:

This tutorial will walk you through all of the steps needed for the lighting, shading and rendering of this guitar in Cycles. You will how to create a soft, satin cloth material, how to create layered shaders for the guitar body and other various techniques needed to give you the final render result.

Want more?

Login to your Citizen account and download the source files to make your own version of the guitar! You can even upload your results to the gallery via the button below to Submit Image. 

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46 Responses to “Rendering a Guitar in Blender with Cycles”
  1. Posts: 2

    What i really like about you guys, is that you always try to make something new and prototype.
    Brainstorming is hard to find in our work-line!Keep it up!

  2. Posts: 228

    Yes, nice work! My first impression was,”Wow, what a nice velvet shader!” The original seems a tad more matte…did you mix it with the factory velvet too? Pretty neat idea with the masking. It’s a creative approach. Personally, I would just duplicate similar materials, assign them to their respective vertices and make the changes there. I think you should have gone a lot deeper into the masks themselves…unfortunately without an understanding of how the masks interact, this technique is very difficult to understand. Actually, it seems like you meant to, but just forgot in the excitement of finishing!lol I’m sure with a greater effort I could eventually break it down, but I prefer to separate all materials anyway. Very nice result, and you really got amazingly close to your initial image. The compositing tips at the end and the AO shader were fresh as well. Some good stuff here. Keep it up Kent.

  3. Posts: 1
    vito670 says:

    nice tutorial , would be great if you made one about how you created that curtain

  4. Posts: 26

    I got most of the idea of the shader and I was able to construct it following the video, however i would be very interested on say a series of videos with simple explanations of what this or that node does, I’m still unclear s how the Fac input on the nodes work, and the masking while I get the general idea, meaning green blue and red get transformed to gray scale values then they are connected via multiply, add, and mix shaders via the color or the fac nodes, thing is after so many connections Im left wondering why you did them.

    Something like three or four basic connections types related to your shader without the spaghetti madness would help newbies like my self get how the shader network works so we can create a new shader completely different form yours while using the same core principles.

    As i gather there’s

    RGB color masking

    Fac Color connections and mix shader uses.
    (and its on this ones where I the most confused)

    Glossy and diffuse shaders are explained and used
    very often on your vid so those i got the best.

    I think for this video, or any other shader network video cg cookie makes
    there needs to be a good breakdown of the elements of the shader with
    simple examples, and after that’s covered then jump into the madness 😉

    Still on the overall its a really good tutorial with a great model a great shader and a great end result, its just the explanation part could be improved quite a bit, I also would love more videos form this same teacher as he clearly has awesome ideas and a deep understanding of nodes on the whole, i just wish he took more time to breakdown the knowledge.

    • Posts: 190

      I’m sorry, I should have explained the concepts of the shader network more clearly. There are several tutorials here on CGC focusing on simpler node setups that you should check out. This was meant for “advanced” users and I had to assume the viewer had experience with nodes, lest the tutorial be 2 hrs long. I’ll try to implement your suggestion of “simple examples, and after that’s covered then jump into the madness” for future shading videos.

      Thanks for watching!

  5. Posts: 40
    dionne theakstone says:

    I was very impressed with this tutorial, i wish Kent had explained the mask A-B and how he made them and why he uses that tec,,,, as that was a huge key to this tutorial.

    • Posts: 190

      I used the 2 mask textures the same way “ID Masks” are used in compositing. When practicing the tutorial I tried making specific textures like “guitar_glossy_hardness” and “guitar_glossy_color” but I found myself jumping back and forth from photoshop to blender way too much. It proved to be much more efficient to use a mask so I could control shading on specific parts of the guitar. This allowed me to stay focused in Blender rather than jumping between apps.

      The mask was simply created in Photoshop from the working PSD file I had for creating the guitar’s diffuse texture.

      Thanks for watching :)

  6. Posts: 4

    thank you for this tutorial Kent! AWESOME. Finaly i understand with the masking.
    i just want to ask, how did u do the unwraping? did you scale it manualy again?
    thanks again

    • Posts: 190

      I’m sorry for the horribly late response..This was a model I built years ago in maya. I simply cut the seems there, exported, and unwrapped the UVs in zbrush (which has the best pelting algorithm of any app IMO).

      Thank you for watching!

  7. Posts: 4
    mauiblend says:


    What would you say are the advantages of using your technique as opposed to say separating each part and making different materials for each. Do you gain performance in render times by having one complicated material vs more but simpler materials?

    And thank you for the quality tutorial, I really appreciated your different techniques.

    • Posts: 190

      Great question Maui Postma – I’ve not take the time to test if the complicated material renders faster than multiple simpler I can’t say it’s absolutely the “best” method. It just makes more sense in my head to do it this way. There’s nothing wrong with breaking down each piece and giving them their own simple materials. Whatever results in the best image is my advice!

      Thanks for watching!

  8. Posts: 40
    dionne theakstone says:

    my graphic card cycles does not read,, please is there a list of recognized cards that blender reads ,, id like to buy myself a graphic card but dont know what one to get? please help?

  9. Posts: 2

    I have an Asus VGA ENGTX560 DCII TOP/2DI/1GD5, 1024MB, GDDR5.Everything is good and smooth so far.Got it here in Greece for about 200 euros!

  10. Posts: 22

    I loved the background scene on your image, so i’ve tried it with my guitar model, I came quite close to it, but i couldn’t get that silky effect off. it was all textured with the eye from photo, I specially was not watching tutorial to see how close i could have got to ur result, but one way or the other U have to admit that I’ve modeled much, Much cooler guitar!!! Great tutorial, TNX!

  11. Posts: 8

    This is probably a very good tutorial, the problem is I am not there yet, to fully understand the conecpt of texturing and render setup in Blender. I hope Kent that you don’t mind that I am borrowing your scene for use inside modo? without your guitar ofcourse, I am putting mine there.

  12. Posts: 3
    Luke Millis says:

    Excellent tutorial – many thanks!
    I had problems with the high gloss particularly, but found pausing the video and taking time to trace the connections helped. Didn’t quite get the same result (pretty close, though), but as a newbie to Blender, your tutorial certainly taught me more about the node editor and what it can do.

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