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Zach Fein
New member
Username: Zfein23

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2007 - 11:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hi, I'm a new member here but a long time user of form-Z. I'm interested in any suggestions I can get concerning the realism of my renderings. What more can I do to achieve that "image-like" quality I see in in so many renderings?

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support@formZ.com
Moderator
Username: Tech

Post Number: 1565
Registered: 04-2001


Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 10:15 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Zach,

That's not a bad start, but here are a few additional suggestions:

1. Textures, Textures, Textures...

2. Your surfaces look very "flat." Add a subtle Reflection -- perhaps Mirror with a 5 - 10% reflectivity to surfaces like your floor, and perhaps the table top. (You need to go into the RenderZone Option / Raytrace Options (options button in the upper right) and set the Minimum Ray Contribution to 1 less than the lowest reflectivity that you want to see, so if you set the Reflectivity to 7, set the Minimum Ray Contribution to 6 or less...)

2a. If you want blurred reflections, use a Glossy Reflection -- but note that this will add a bit of time to your renderings...

3. Use Soft(er) Shadows.

4. Enhance your lighting: You might want to add a bit of RadioZity, and / or use a few large rectangular Area Lights.

See the following threads for lots more suggestions and details...

http://www.formz.com/forum2/messages/16/11399.html

http://www.formz.com/forum2/messages/142/5940.html

http://www.formz.com/forum2/messages/142/5940.html

http://www.formz.com/forum2/messages/142/10929.html

http://www.formz.com/forum2/messages/142/147.html

http://www.formz.com/forum2/messages/16/10307.html

http://www.formz.com/forum2/messages/16/10987.html

http://www.formz.com/forum2/messages/142/15360.html

...and post an updated image when you have time...

Good luck!

ZWebTech Support
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Andrew Dehus
Junior Member
Username: Adios

Post Number: 29
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 10:22 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A few thoughts, to be taken (as always) for what they're worth:

-Lighting: the interior ceiling lights should probably be casting soft shadows. I'd recommend turning off the shadow casting on your two rows of pendant lamps (meaning the geometry, not the FormZ lights). Something that most find appaling, but I do anyway, is to increase the ambient light to around 25-35% and adjust the interior lights after that. It washes out the image a bit, but it takes the edge off of unrealistically dark shadows (like what's under the table).

-Textures: the scale of the wood textures (particularly on the cabinets) seems off... getting these right will help.

-Color: The books bother me a bit... seem too brightly colored and without sufficient variation. You could take a photo of books on a bookcase and map that image onto them.

-Reflections: the floor looks kinda flat. Generally I use a 'glossy' setting on them with a low reflectivity (15-20%), but it will increase your render times significantly. Also consider bump maps to delineate floor planks. You might also try this on the table and countertops. Generally speaking, reflections are an easy way to add interest to a scene... just don't overdo it!

-Detail: In terms of modeling, it helps to observe closely what you're trying to reproduce and keep refining it until it's visually correct. To my eye, the chairs just don't look 'real' yet. Walls and cabinetwork should have base molding, and consider adding elements that make the space feel 'lived in'- like artwork, small appliances, etc. Add a small bevel or radius to any sharp edges... furniture and cabinetwork usually have them in reality, and it's another easy way to add 'sparkle' to the imagery (beveled edges pick up light nicely when used wth the plastic/metal/glossy reflection settings.)

-Composition: looks pretty good to me, but it'd be nice to see a bit less of the ceiling.

-Photoshop: I find that no matter how much effort I put into a rendering, I still find things I don't like. Photoshop allows me to take care of a good bit of that. In this image, I'd consider adding a warm colored 'overlay' layer.
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Brian Parish
Junior Member
Username: Upsidedown

Post Number: 29
Registered: 05-2001


Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 11:11 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I agree with everything above.

The light fixtures seem to yellow to me. If they are that yellow, the light they cast would be that yellow. Follow Andrew's last tip instead of trying to get it exactly right in formZ.

You can create a nice lighting effect by placing many low level 10-20% soft shadow casting point lights. Set the map resolution to .1 so they don't eat up too much ram. Similar look to adding area lights, but the render faster.

Let some sun come in that back window.
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Steven Houtzager
Junior Member
Username: Stevenhoutzager

Post Number: 29
Registered: 11-2001


Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - 01:10 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Nice start Zach. I would also give it 3 point perspective. You have 2 point perspective now. And I would round the edges of the tables, chairs. Remember, white walls are tricky so you may want to color them. The Occlusion shader from metaShapes would put some soft shadows in the wall corners. Good Luck

Steven Houtzager
Industrial Design Predefined Materials Set
http://intuitionusa.com/materials
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Zach Fein
New member
Username: Zfein23

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - 10:23 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I'm an architecture student, so I'm sure most of you understand that I don't have much spare time to work on my renderings, but as of now I've taken your advice and here is an updated image.

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Matt Edmonds
New member
Username: Mattedmonds

Post Number: 16
Registered: 10-2001
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 02:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Getting better...
The first thing that jumps out at me as weird is the homogenious material selecations. It's as though everything in your scene is either wood or grey. Try adding a specular component to the cabinets (slight gloss). Maybe also a very fine bump to your walls.

Second, Change the color of your ceiling lights to a true white. They stil come accross yellow...

Third, ditch the back of the guy outside. If he's going to be the only figure in the scene, its weird to see him from behind.

Fourth, change the glass wall at the rear of the image to be more transparent and use a photograph... added in photoshop afterwards.

Fifth, you need something on the table to keep your eye in the foreground. A magazine... a vase... a cup and suacer... anything.

Sixth, consider an rug under the dining table.

Seventh, door-pulls on your kitchen cabinets (handles)

Eighth, consider the design of your chairs. They;re still too square. Probably not particularly comfortable.

Your shadows are much improved, and the rounded edges are helping a lot.

Keep it up!
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John Rafferty
New member
Username: Johnrafferty

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 04:40 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Hi Zach!

I find that photoshop is a absolutely neccessary tool
in the process and you might have to render multiple
passes to give you better control of things like blur
(e.g. depth alpha).

I hope this is okay but I have just tweaked your file
to show you what can be done in photoshop alone
(this has been overdone to show how different it can look).

Obviously there are things you still can do in FormZ to improve the original render first such as those mentioned above.

Photoshop test
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Des Clarke
Advanced Member
Username: Desclarke

Post Number: 146
Registered: 11-2001


Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 05:16 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Outstanding John! Incredible difference..

Des
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John Rafferty
New member
Username: Johnrafferty

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 05:47 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Hi Des!

Thankyou for your kind words! :-) I think I overdid it on the colours and blur but I wanted to show that Photoshop is an incredible tool and is definately an important part in any render process. Of course it would be nice to be able to do as much as possible right from the render but until then...

Cheers

John
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Andrew Dehus
Junior Member
Username: Adios

Post Number: 31
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 08:47 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Zach-

That's really looking much better. I'm personally not a big fan of the 3 point perspective, but that's just one guy's opinion. At this point, IMHO the few remaining problems are detail related. I can understand if you don't have time to add *too* much detail, but I think the biggest thing standing in the way of that being a truly nice rendering is the chairs. If you can reference a real chair and build it accurately, I think you'll be infinitely more satisfied with the results.

BTW, many people find it easier to just use furniture models that are purchased or otherwise found on the internet... anything that is .3ds format will usually import into FormZ reasonably well. You can try here to look at a decent selection of freebies:

http://www.e-interiors.net/

Others here may have other links to share.

Also, as others have shown, Photoshop is your friend!
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Matt Edmonds
New member
Username: Mattedmonds

Post Number: 17
Registered: 10-2001
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 11:46 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I forgot to mention it... but John's nice PS edits call attention to light levels... In most cases light levels *outside* windows will be much brighter than most areas inside. Because of this its always a good idea to render your scenes with alpha channel backgrounds so that you can independently brighten your skies or photographic backgrounds to provide a proper contrast.

generally speaking, in photography, a well balanced image has brightness values that cover the complete spectrum from absolute white to absolute black. Computer renderings that are trying to look real should often try to achieve the same spectral range. Again... Photoshop is your best friend!
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Matt Edmonds
New member
Username: Mattedmonds

Post Number: 18
Registered: 10-2001
Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 11:49 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Oh yeah, kudos to John for showing the effect of depth of field... although exagerated, as he states, it helps.
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Jean-Luc DAUREIL
Senior Member
Username: Jean_luc

Post Number: 154
Registered: 07-2001


Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 03:02 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

about http://www.e-interiors.net/

In addition of what you said Andrew, (and because i personnaly use this link a lot) I want to focus on the GREAT new tool "object doctor".

This tool is very usefull to clean up these geometries. In addition with it the reduce mesh tool make miracles!

jL
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Zach Fein
New member
Username: Zfein23

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 11:38 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

The suggestions have really been helping, thanks again for all the help!

Here's my latest rendering, from the same view:



I brought in some new chairs (Thanks Andrew for the e-interiors link, I've been looking for something like that for awhile.) As for the window in the rear, It faces a park and some neighboring houses that a did a quick site model of - so I haven't decided if I'm going to photoshop a picture in the background or use that massing model. I'm still ironing out all the details, once I get the arrangement of the kitchen down, etc, I will finish the cabinets and add some things to make it seem lived-in.

A lot of the things I've been working on in this model are from a design standpoint. It's an architecture studio project (I'm a student), and in a few weeks it should be complete. I'll post some more renderings when I get them finished.
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Andrew Dehus
Junior Member
Username: Adios

Post Number: 33
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 01:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Zach-

Look at the progress from your first post to this most recent one, the difference is pretty impressive. You should be pleased with it!

I look forward to seeing how you continue to refine this project. Perhaps when you're close to finished you could ask for some input here on photoshop tricks.
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Jeffrey Lebowski
New member
Username: Dude

Post Number: 18
Registered: 10-2006


Posted on Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - 12:48 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I like to rotate chairs slightly so they arent exactly aligned with everything else. There is a tool on Z's downloads page that will randomly move or rotate things. You could select all those chairs and tables and randomly rotate them all +- 3 degrees.

I would add a vase and place settings at the table, too.

Good work!
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Richard Rush
Member
Username: Rwrush

Post Number: 74
Registered: 04-2001
Posted on Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - 01:37 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Zach, you have received a lot of good suggestions, except for one, in my opinion. I think you should go back to a two-point perspective, similar to your original view. But lower the viewpoint and/or center of interest to get less ceiling and more floor. You may also need to change the aspect ratio of width to height of the frame. Use the "keep vertical lines straight" option in view parameters if your eye point and center of interest are not at the same height.

There is a centuries-old convention in architectural rendering that used 2-point perspective except in unusual circumstances (and of course they were easier to construct than 3-point). This convention was continued after the invention of photography when special equipment was developed to provide the perspective "correction." It is an approach to architectural perspective that feels right to most of us (or at least many of us), and I think it's consistent with how we really see architecture in the real world where our brains do the perspective correction. I like to think it's more than just the habit of looking at all those wonderful old renderings for so many years.

Your rendering has come a long way, Zach.

Richard

PS: Are you an architecture student at the University of Cincinnati? I graduated from there in 1969 (that's not a typo!).
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Zach Fein
New member
Username: Zfein23

Post Number: 4
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 04:38 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks for the encouragement, Andrew. Also, Jeff, thanks for the rotation idea, I'm thinking I'll have two sets of views when this project is all said and done - one that appears lived in and used, and one that is more formal. I'll rotate the chairs, maybe pull one out, and get some place settings, a vase, etc. on the table and counter.

Richard, yes I'm an architecture student at U.C. Despite being here 35 years later, I'll bet I have a handful of your professors. I'm just about to begin co-op'ing in a few months.
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Zach Fein
New member
Username: Zfein23

Post Number: 5
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 10:50 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

So Here is the final rendering I made of that image, to present with all of my final project materials. Overall everything went very well - although (as always in school) the rendering was underappreciated in comparison to things that took a fraction of the time, effort, and skill to create.




And an exterior of the home, I tried to create a dusk scene: