Chivas Regal Composite CGI (Part 2)

Watch as CGI master Ethan Davis continues to collaborate with Karl on a stunning composite Chivas Regal whisky image. 

In Part 2, which follows on from Chivas Regal Composite CGI (Part 1), Ethan uses a cube that Karl has photographed to calculate the necessary axes in order to match up the perspective of the two images.

He also introduces the wooden surface from Karl’s shot to ensure the colour and texture of the wood matches his CGI barrel.

As Ethan begins lighting his image, he puts into practice many of the lighting techniques Karl teaches – for example, using his understanding of the Inverse Square Law to achieve the perfect lighting on the rim of the barrel.

He goes on to demonstrate render layers, denoising, the Cryptomatte node, and more.

In this class, Ethan works with various models and textures sourced online. If you’d like to follow along and create your own version of Ethan’s background image, you can download FREE models for the barn and barrel racks, as well as the paid-for worn wood plank texture he uses. You can also download the fSpy camera calibration app, along with its Blender add-on.

In this class:

  • Blender tools and techniques
  • Creating CGI backgrounds
  • Lighting techniques in Blender
  • Compositing photographs and CG images
  • Using render layers in Blender
  • How to denoise renders in Blender
  • Using the Cryptomatte node in Blender

To see Karl photograph the product itself, check out Chivas Regal Composite Photoshoot.

If you enjoy this class, be sure to watch Dior Fahrenheit CGI.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.

Please note that this page contains affiliate links. While we only recommend products and resources that we believe in, we may benefit financially from any purchases you make via these links.

© Karl Taylor and Ethan Davis



  1. I’ve been using C4D/Redshift for over a year now and I have also been dabble in Blender since about 2020. I personally find C4D / Redshift to be much more intuitive, especially when it comes to render passes. Redshift allows you to set up AOV’s (render passes) with the click of a button while C4D allows you to conveniently save your final render as .PSD or .PSB with each render pass being on their own layer. When you open up that .PSD or .PSB in Photoshop, most of the layers conveniently have the correct blend modes already applied to each render pass using a blend mode of Linear Dodge (Add) in order to appropriately rebuild the beauty layer. Having each render pass on it’s own separate layer gives you much more control of color, reflections, refractions etc. all from within Photoshop.

    All that to say, when watching these videos, I feel like the post production aspect could be covered a little more thoroughly. More specifically as it relates to setting up render passes, exporting those render passes and using those render passes to rebuild the beauty layer inside of Photoshop. I see that Ethan is in fact rendering out several passes like Diffuse, glossy, transmission, etc in some cases. But when I watch the tutorials, it’s unclear how these render passes are actually being utilized in the Photoshop file. Unless I’m missing it, I’m not really seeing this being covered in the lessons.

    Question for Ethan: once you have your render passes set up in Blender and you go to save your file, are you saving these render passes out as individual TIFF files, then bringing them all into the same Photoshop file later? Or are you exporting a multi-layered EXR file (which requires a plugin to be read by Photoshop?) Once you have all of those layers in a Photoshop document, in what order do those layers need appear in and what blend modes are being used to in order to properly rebuild the beauty layer?

    I’ve read the documentation for render passes on Blender’s website: but it’s not clear by the diagram how each of these layers add up to create the “combined” image.

    I’d like to be able to control reflections, refractions, color etc all in photoshop using the render passes that are used to build the beauty layer. Not just render out a single image with everything baked in. Do you have any good resources you could point me to?

      1. Thanks for the reply ArturR. I did watch the 3D Basics Post Production and the beauty layer wasn’t rebuilt using render passes. Ethan mostly used the render passes as utilities for making selections and small adjustments. Unfortunately, I didn’t find what I was looking for in that series of videos.

  2. amazing seeing how it was done i am sure it take a computer with a lot of raw and memory to handle all those settings thanks so much i enjoy it it was great frank garvan

  3. Gary Stasiuk

    This is really quite cool. I’ve been wanting to try something like this but I wanted to see a walk through of the hoops you need to leap through to solve issues. It was good to see the colour matching of the materials and the depth of field matching. The window didn’t really work in the scene, but perhaps in a future example it would be good to revisit that issue with how you might solve that out. I’ve done some glass and liquid work and I go through many tweaks to find something acceptable so I would be interested to see how Ethan would solve that. I’m curious if you would have considered placing a 3D person in the background, out of focus of course. Would need to feel like supporting cast, but could be done I suppose. One question: If, for example, you had some still images of very specific people or brand items (in similar situations) that you would want to insert into the background.. would you prefer to composite them in afterward or integrate them in blender and render them with the scene? I suppose it depends on the item and its complexity.

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