9 Tips to Help You Create 3D Interior Design Photos
9 Tips to Help You Create 3D Interior Design Photos

3D rendering interior design photos can be a daunting task. There’s an overwhelming number of details you need to pay attention to if you want your photo to turn out just right, and it takes a lot of time and effort to achieve this.

Even the smallest changes in the texture, lighting, or décor can have a huge impact on the overall appeal of your 3D render and can mean the difference between an obviously photoshopped image, and a photorealistic one.

So, let’s take a look at some of the most important things you need to focus on when creating a 3D interior design photo. These tips will breathe new life into your designs and attract more clients.

Create from Reference

Whether we’re talking about the pieces of furniture that you’re rendering in 3D, floor tiles, or light sources, having a real-life reference will always make your job easier.

Regardless of how creative you are, without a reference, it’s easy to overlook some of the important features of the objects you’re rendering in 3D.

Let’s say you want to create a bookshelf. It’s a classic piece of furniture that you’ve probably seen a million times. You know exactly how it looks. But how does the light affect it in the morning? How does it look in the late afternoon? Are there any dents that have different shadows and colors in artificial light?

Studying your real-life reference will tell you more about the texture and the material, and you’ll be able to create a much better 3D render that’s not only appealing but photorealistic as well. Of course, your render doesn’t have to be the exact replica of the reference, it’s just something that will help you create a more realistic design.

Don’t Go Overboard with the Colors

If you want to create a photorealistic 3D interior design photo, you have to be careful with your choice of colors.

You have millions of amazing colors to choose from, each one more beautiful than the last one. However, sticking to natural material colors is usually the best. This doesn’t mean that you have to stick to the monotonous earthy tones and use only browns and beiges (the choices of color depend entirely on your taste, and that of your client).

It simply means that you want to avoid colors that are too saturated and those that are pitch black or perfectly white.

When you have pops of color, such as bright red or intense magenta, creating the chromatic aberration effect can make them stand out even more. This color fringing (or distortion) is often seen in real-life pictures, and it can be a perfect addition to any 3D interior design photo.

Pay Attention to the Textures

If you want to impress your clients and viewers and create a photorealistic 3D interior design photo, it’s the textures that will take their breath away.

Most 3D rendering software comes with their own library of textures and materials, so browse through all of your different options to find those of the highest quality.

You’ll need to pay very close attention to materials such as wood or leather. They’re easily recognizable materials with unique features, so it’s easy to notice when something is off with them. They’re never perfectly smooth, and you need to ensure that they have adequate reflective properties that make them stand out.

When creating textures, you want your audience to be able to feel them. One glance at your 3D interior design photo should tell them exactly what the materials would feel like to the touch. So, use high-quality materials, and invest as much time as needed to perfect their appearance.

Lighting Will Make or Break Your Design

Lighting is everything in 3D interior design. It will bring all the colors to life, the textures will become visible, and it can set the mood for the entire scene.

Depending on the scene you’re trying to set, you can use different light sources, the best one always being natural light. A combination of direct and indirect lighting will work wonders for the creation of a photorealistic design.

If you’ve created your objects from reference, you can study how different light sources affect them in real-life, then try and recreate that in your design.

What you need to pay very close attention to are the reflections. Not all textures and materials have the same reflective qualities, and you need to ensure that your matte surfaces aren’t as glossy as your fine china and champagne glasses.

Play with the Shadows

You cannot shine a light on every nook and cranny in your 3D interior design photo. Even if you have many different light sources, you’ll always have a variety of different shadows in your designs, and not all of them will be the same – some will be darker and some lighter.

Playing around with shadows will allow you to add depth to your designs. With some basic shadows, you can place more focus on certain objects, or divert the viewers’ attention away from them. Highlights and shadows will make the whole scene more vibrant and lifelike, so don’t be afraid to play around with them until you find what works best for the design.

Careful with the Scale and Size

Even if the lighting is great, all the shadows and highlights are in place, and all the textures and materials are of the highest quality, your design will lose points with the viewers if the size of your objects is unrealistic.

Whether you’re creating your objects from scratch or are importing them from the library, you need to ensure that their sizes are realistic and proportional. It will be glaringly obvious if something is too small or too large.

You can easily edit and adjust your measures in most 3D rendering software, and ensure everything is exactly the size that it’s supposed to be.

Getting the size just right isn’t only for the visual effect, it’s crucial if your clients decide to go with your creation. It will ensure that everything can fit nicely inside their home or office, and they’ll encounter fewer problems down the line when the construction begins.

Beautiful Décor to Breathe Life into Your Design

As an interior designer, you know that it’s not all about how practical a space is, but how appealing it is as well. You cannot just add the essential furniture, a few books, and be done with it.

The space you create needs to be livable. This means it needs to have beautiful décor. Picture frames, flower vases, throw blankets, coffee cups, they’re all essential for creating a realistic 3D render and impressing your clients.

The point of 3D interior design photos is to help your clients visualize their new space. All the details that they’d like to have should be included in your renders.

This is what will add some personality to your designs and make them stand out. You’ll want to invest time and effort into perfecting every detail of your interior design photo.

Achieve a Realistic Render with Imperfections

Nothing in life is perfectly straight, perfectly smooth, or perfectly glossy. Remember this when you’re creating a 3D interior design photo.

Primarily, there’s no such thing as overusing your beveling tool. Even the sharpest edges of your design should have a certain roundness to them. You’ll see what a difference this makes when you add your light sources. Perfectly straight edges will seem fake, while those with a slight curve to them will seem photorealistic.

Secondly, feel free to add some cracks and scratches to the fine china, or a few loose threads to the throw blanket over the couch. Some wear and tear on the dining room floor, and a faded color on the staircase.

These small imperfections will make it seem like someone is actually using the space you’ve created, so it will look much more appealing and realistic.

The Human Touch

Your interior design photos are created with the aim to attract clients and help them visualize their new space. The easiest way to achieve this is by adding people to your photos.

If possible, you can actually use the photos of your clients, your own photos, or simply download stock images and use them in your designs.

This will typically be one of the final steps of your design, but you’ll still need to stay focused. Ensure that the people belong to the place. This means they’re casting shadows over the furniture, you can see their reflection in the TV screen, etc.

These small details will bring your whole design together and ensure all your viewers are impressed.

The Bottom Line

Creating a realistic 3D interior design photo is by no means easy. It takes hours upon hours of hard work, but knowing what to pay attention to will help you create a realistic design that’s awe-inspiring.

Many small details are easily overlooked, and these tips will help you stay on track and help you create a perfect 3D interior design photo.