I modelled these beakers in Lightwave 11.6. I was going to just use hard surfaces and turn smoothing on for the curved surfaces, and that would have worked had I not used too few sides on the original disc I used for the beaker. But faceting was really obvious so I just subpatched the models and hey presto – smooth curves. Beakers are easy to model: start with a disc and then bevel up. Micro bevel to avoid any right angles.
I’m quite proud of the scratches on these beakers. I had a very large image of scratches that I added to the bump channel and turned the opacity down to maybe 50%.
The first image is with a white background because I always create the first one in a “radiosity dome”, if you like: a luminous white dome with 100% diffuse and a white 100% diffuse floor, just to test out the models and textures. Once happy, I added some textures to the floor and adjusted the luminosity of the dome (which provides the light).
Once that was sorted I started messing with depth of field to make the more distant beakers blurry.