Load Modeler and create a 2 x 2 x 2cm box as shown on the left.
Rename the „Default“ surface setting to something appropriate.
I named mine „IceCubes“ .o)
Hit „Tab“ to make it a subpatch object, we'll need more polys later as we will use Bump Displacement to deform the ice cubes.
Save your object.
Now add a plane approx. 1 x 1 meter or use an object of your liking. Save this object, too.
Load Layout, load the plane and the ice cube.
Clone your ice cube once and place it slightly behind the first one, so you can see the Surface Thickness later.
Now change your light type to a Point Light, put it left to the cubes, clone it, place it right to the cubes and uncheck „Affect Diffuse“ as we simply want to have more Specular highlights to make them look more interesting...
Furthermore, I would suggest to set „Ray Recursion Limit“ to 4 - higher values will increase render time!
Also, check the „Ray Trace Refraction“ button because we are using refraction to give the ice cubes a more realistic look.
Select the „IceCubes“ surface for some basic changes.
Click on the Surface Editor image on the left hand side to see my settings.
Don't worry about the „T“ buttons, I will explain them later.
Check „Smoothing“ and „Double Sided“.
If you want, you can do a quick render by hitting F9.
Your image should look similar to mine.
I wanted the center of the object to be non-transparent with a gradually increasing transparency towards its outer area. We will do the settings for that in the Transparency Channel later.
First we will define two colors to strengthen the thickness effect. The upper key defines the color of the transparency towards the outer area of the ice cube, the lower key the color of the opacity in the center. I have chosen a range from 0 to 4cm instead of 0 to 1cm* for a smoother transition between the colors.
* Remember, our ice cube's dimensions are 2 x 2cm, so the center would have been reached at 1cm distance.
Color Gradient applied
Color & Luminosity Gradient applied
Color, Luminosity & Reflection Gradient applied
Gradients: Transparency Surface Thickness
Here comes the most important part for creating Surface Thickness.
By playing around with the values you will notice that the smaller the distance from key 1 to key 2 is, the sooner the non-transparent areas will appear.
I placed mine at 1.75cm.
Color, Luminosity, Reflection & Transparency Surface Thickness Gradient applied
Gradients: Transparency Incidence Angle
Color, Luminosity, Reflection, Transparency Surface Thickness & Incidence Angle Gradient applied
Bump Maps: Layer 1
Bump Maps: Layer 2
Color, Luminosity, Reflection, Transparency Surface Thickness & Incidence Angle Gradient & Bump Maps applied
Now go to the Object Properties Panel and check „Bump Displacement“ and enter a value of 5cm. This is enough to deform the overall shape a bit.
Color, Luminosity, Reflection, Transparency Surface Thickness & Incidence Angle Gradient, Bump Maps & Bump Displacement applied
I hope this tutorial was helpful to you.
Now at the end of this tutorial have a great party with your ice cubes and some cocktails :-)
For those who are not willing to struggle around with the settings simply download the scene file (LW 8.5 and 9.5 scene file).
If you have any questions, comments or ideas for a new tutorial, I would be happy to hearing from you. Just drop me a line. Don't forget to change the eMail address to „icecubes@...“, otherwise your mail will end up in Nirvana.
Before your next party you may want to read my other tutorial about better scaling results with Photoshop.