Whether you are using Unity, Maya, Cinema 4D, 3ds Max Design, or any other rendering software, you probably want to create inspiring renders. 3D rendering artists often consider switching over to a tool that appears to offer more features. What if we told you that rendering software is not a significant factor in creating amazing renders?
Are you wondering what the other factors that somehow eluded you are? Yes, 3D rendering is an art. However, there are still a few tips and tricks that can turn structure your artistic process and help you create stunning renders.
Without further ado, we give you ten actionable tips you can use today to improve the look and feel of your renders in any rendering software.
Before you start rendering your scene:
You’ll soon find out that not all the famous art pieces nor popular renders affect you in the same way because we are all different.
To create an attention-grabbing render, you have to keep in mind the profile of the people the render is intended for. Many details in the render will attract some audiences – others will be attracted by the color palette or the abundance of the objects in the render. The rule of thumb here is to create an image that’s relevant for your audience and, at the same time, serves the initial purpose of the render.
For instance, if you are rendering an interior, the accent should be on the textures, elements, and light composition. Rendering exterior images will require you to focus more on landscape and how the object reflects its surrounding.
Every render features its central or main subject. While keeping a render clean is imperative to prevent other objects from stealing the main subject’s spotlight, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t include them. Other objects’ purpose is to complement the main subject, grab the viewers’ attention, direct it to the main subject, and keep it there as long as possible.
Our instinct is to look for relations between objects. If you enrich your render with objects relevant to the main subject, you will enable people to spend more time discovering and looking at these relations.
Adding furniture and accessories to your interior renders will help you grab viewers’ attention and communicate your idea better to them. The same applies to any render despite what is the main subject.
Let’s say you are working on a render of a car. Rendering it in a garage, car salon, motorway, or city traffic will provide better results than merely providing a car render with only white space around it.
One way to do it is to render your main subject in expected environments. If your project allows it, you can take your main subject and render it where it is least expected to be seen. It can help you grab more attention and even attract people that are not from your intended target audience.
In order to qualify as a fantastic render, the image has to be balanced. Balance in a render refers to visual stability. It’s one of the main principles of organization of structural elements of design. You can achieve it through the smart use of various artistic elements, including lines, colors, and textures.
It’s important to note that you are not required to deliver a complete visual equilibrium. You can use completely opposing forms but deliver them so that the entire render evokes a sense of balance.
To do it, you always have to start with the viewer’s perspective. As a renderer, you have complete control of the perspective. You can change the perspective of a render anytime you want to achieve balance.
Another way to balance things out is to play with the elements in your render and manipulate symmetry. For instance, you can approximate symmetry or use biaxial or inverted symmetry to achieve balance in a render.
Adding or removing elements and changing perspective will help you achieve balance in renders that can feature irreconcilable elements and the main subject.
Balance can be achieved in asymmetry as well. It can help you deliver outstanding aesthetic value and grab the viewers’ attention. It can be achieved via the smart use of colors to balance asymmetrical compositions or vice versa.
A proportional render is an attractive render – it’s the number one prerequisite you should meet before you think about doing anything else. Whether you are creating a render following your inspiration or for a client, you should make sure to scale your elements properly.
You’ll receive technical drawings accompanied by construction documentation. You have to take these numbers into account to maintain accurate proportions throughout your render to satisfy them. Site plans are also crucial if you are working on exterior renders. These will help you scale all buildings properly and uphold project requirements.
The impression is what counts here. Stunning renders should deliver an authentic and realistic appearance – that’s why an entire field in the rendering niche is called realistic rendering. If you are working in this sub-niche, you need to make sure that everything is scaled right.
On the other hand, it will also result in an attractive render. How come? People are used to proportions they see in their everyday life. While playing with scales of elements is a valid artistic approach, it can make renders less attractive to people who expect a natural proportion.
Creating a scene set means setting everything according to the project specifications before turning the rendering on. It doesn’t include only objects, but textures and lighting as well. To start creating a scene set that will result in an attractive render, you have to set horizontal and vertical axes. These are used to align your model correctly and save time having to render the scene again.
The horizontal axis is critical as it sets the base for your scene and helps you keep your perspective from being distorted or getting silly renders where objects appear to be hanging out of nowhere.
Look at the renderer as a photographer. It won’t create an attractive image if you don’t make the scene set correctly. Consider the entire composition and choose the best angle to highlight the main subject and give the viewer perspective of other composition elements.
Finally, don’t forget the light. You can leverage the light to deliver more attractive renders. One that spotlights your main subject just as it would be seen if it were a digital photo and not a render. While we are at it, let’s take a closer look at the light.
Light is a vital part of every render. Whether it is an interior or exterior render, the light will help you render an image that references the target mood or desired concept. That’s why even the most straightforward rendering tools have advanced light source settings. The question that remains to be answered is: “What is the right lighting?”
The right lighting is the one that logically applies to your scene set. Your sets will almost always exclusively reference a real-life setting. You should make sure to add lighting sources that a client or viewer would expect to see there. It’s all about making the light as natural as possible – nothing more, nothing less.
Some projects will require you to add rain, fog, or smoke. Keep in mind that all of these are light barriers. You will need to adjust your light correctly to achieve that right, natural look. Don’t forget the common pitfall here – blind spots. These spots are dark, and they lack shadows.
Rendering artists usually forget to add appropriate shadows to all existing elements. It will take you more time to do it, but proper shadows will add more authenticity to your render and make it more attractive.
Finally, once the rendering process is complete, you can take the render into post-processing software to fix minor issues with light, contrast, and colors or add glow where it’s needed.
Stunning renders feature high-quality textures and materials. The viewer has to be able to identify all the materials in your scene. It makes the render authentic and realistic. There are three things you have to pay attention to when using textures in your sets.
Every texture you plan to use has to come in high resolution or at least in the resolution you plan to use when rendering. It will improve the overall quality of your render.
Then you have to make sure that textures match the material properties. It will make your render realistic. Pay attention to other material properties to make renders more realistic. For instance, metallic surfaces will require you to edit reflections, gloss, and refractions.
Avoid using repeated texture patterns on large surfaces. Often you will have to use textures in very high resolution to be able to cover large surfaces.
Contrast is one of the fundamental design principles used across industries. If you use it properly, you will have to make beautiful renders and positive first impressions. Contrast can inspire visual interest and make sure the viewer spends more than a couple of seconds looking at your render.
There are several ways to create contrast. The most common one is to use colors. Give different sizes of room shades found on opposite ends of the color wheel (black/white, blue/orange, purple/yellow). You can do some contrasting with textures (rough/smooth). It will help you add visual weight to your set.
Finally, leverage materials and shapes to create contrast. It will help you make objects distinct from one another. Combining natural and artificial materials with objects with sharp and rounded edges can help you change your render’s look and feel.
Empty space is vital in design. It can help you make your renders more attractive in several ways. Empty spaces simplify your design and make it easy to comprehend. You can use it to direct the focus of the viewer to the most critical elements.
You can use empty space to highlight specific design elements or groups of objects to ensure that viewers see them as a group. Some sets can be over cluttered with items because the project requirements specify it. However, you can always clean it with some empty space.
Clean and relaxing visual effects are attractive these days. Empty space allows viewers’ eyes to rest and enjoy a gorgeous render.
In the end, you have one more thing to do, think of how it all fits together. You have to consider your composition, main subject, balance, scaling, lighting, textures, materials, shapes, and empty space.
Visualize your set before you click that render button. All the elements you’ve added, configured, and setup have to perfectly fit together for a render to be appealing. It’s better to give it more thought beforehand than having to wait hours for a render to complete only to realize that you need to fix one more thing.
With all these tips and tricks in mind, it can be hard to go back to your rendering software and do some work. However, all the tips we’ve covered are vital if you aim to deliver attractive and attention-grabbing renders.