12 Awesome 3D rendering tricks and techniques

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3d rendering is one of the newest art forms. It requires patience, skill and a lot of trial and error. Before you’re able to master the art, you’ll need to sit down and go to work. With hands-on experience, you’ll begin to learn how to perfect your renderings and make your work appear more realistic than ever before. Below, you will discover some tricks and techniques for making your 3D renderings look so much spectacular and realistic.

 Start with good reference materials

Long before you boot up your software, collect as much reference material as you can, especially photographs.  Remember, don’t copy another artists’ work, but get inspiration, look at how the light flows and spills, and see how different surfaces reflect in different contexts.

Use a linear workflow

A linear workflow is a mathematical formula which ensures that the light flows correctly throughout your design and fall appropriately on all the surfaces in it.  Using a linear workflow will make sure that the light and colours in your design are properly displayed and give you a realistic looking image.  Without it, light and shadows can look very artificial.

Test your lighting with low resolution renders

Objects with high resolutions will take a long time to render, so when it comes to testing out any lighting in your render, have your objects set at a low resolution and keep the shadow and reflection settings down, allowing for quick renders.  Start with the first light source in the image, and then add more one by one.  This will allow you to quickly test and adjust all the lighting in your design

Name your lights

This may sound a little strange, but descriptively naming each of the lights in your image will save you a lot of time in the long run as it prevents you from getting them confused.  Moreover, if your render is a model for something which will eventually be built, for example, a theatre stage, having each light properly named will be of great help to the engineer tasked with the construction.

Break huge scenes into separate files

Rendering large and complex scenes, such as cityscapes, can take what seems like forever even on a high-end PC.  Many veteran rendering experts get around this by breaking the scene down into separate files, which allows them to be managed more easily, and then rendered together at the end.

Observe the rule of thirds

While 3D rendering may have replaced traditional photography in many industries, a good 3D artist will apply the compositional rules of photography to their work. One well-known example is the rule of thirds, in which an image is divided into 9 equal parts, and points of interest are placed along the lines dividing these parts of where the lines meet. (photo)  Some things never go out of style, and artists and photographers have been observing the rule of thirds for hundreds of years.

Add in Asymmetry

While your 3D graphics engine will perfectly balance all the angles in your renders and produces images of perfect symmetry, the real world doesn’t always work like that, and your brain will pick up on something that is ‘too perfect’ even if your conscious mind doesn’t.  If you’re going for photorealism, add a touch of asymmetry to your work to make it more lifelike.

Bevel Frequently

 One of the most common errors for beginners is forgetting to chamfer or bevel edges. Remember that real life very rarely has sharp edges. In fact, it is nearly impossible to find sharp edges in nature. On top of that, pretty much every man-made object will have edges with a little roundness. Bevelling is a minor tweak, but it can really make a huge difference. Adding bevelled edges to your works can help add realism to your works, while also bringing out all of the small details. As a 3D modeler, you should force yourself to learn the bevel tool first and foremost.

Increasing Realism With Blurred Backgrounds

When you stare out into Mother Nature, you will note that the objects in the distance tend to blur a little. They’ll usually begin to lose their color intensity as well. Using something similar in your work is highly recommended. The depth of field or just adding a blurred background will help to greatly increase the realism of your works. Add a shallow depth of field to your work. This will help isolate the subject and enhance your composition. It is possible to add depth effects at rendering time or in post-production.

Dirty It Up A Little

 Perfection is almost always a pipe dream. Have you ever seen a perfect image in real life? The answer is likely no. When crafting your works, you should never to be afraid to add a little grit or dirt to it. If you want the most photorealistic images possible, you need to emulate what you see in Mother Nature. Consider adding cracks to concrete and make sure those trees aren’t entirely perfect. Mixing it up and eliminating the error of perfection is recommended for achieving a more realistic rendering.

Don’t Force Bounce Colors

 Many mistakenly believe that global illumination means that extra bounce lighting is not needed. It is vital to understand the global illumination will replicate the lighting almost identical to live-action cinematography. With this in mind, you should realize that each surface can easily reflect light elsewhere. When adding bounce colors to your images, it is absolutely vital to use the right colors. If you’re adding bounce light to characters, you should be sure to use a warm color. Adding a little red or pink to reflect the skin tone is a good idea. The bounce colors for buildings should more closely reflect their natural color.

Using A Gradient Map For Cloud Shadows

 If you want maximum photorealism, you should definitely add cloud shadows. The best way to do this is by using the gradient map. The spotlight and Gradient’s phase can be a great way to simulate moving clouds. You can also use a similar setup to emulate forest lighting.