Did you know that the U.S. construction industry contributes $10 trillion to the American economy each year? This is a huge amount of money and demonstrates the construction boom that exists in the U.S. right now. However, even before a building has been constructed, it has to be marketed—and in most cases, sold or leased. To be able to do this effectively, you need to have a realistic rendering that will be accurate and appeal to customers.
You can create photorealistic renderings that will convert to sales by adding imperfections, textures, lighting, shadows and asymmetry. You can create visually appealing and lifelike realistic images by paying close attention to angles and details. For more ideas, check out our guide on the 10 tips to create more lifelike renderings for 3D visualization designers.
1. Pay Attention to Details
Surfaces are never clean, and spaces always exhibit some sign of life. Perfect angles and pristine objects do not exist in the real world, and your renders can seem fake if you leave out the small details.
Interior renders can detail fire alarms, plug sockets and light switches on the wall or highlight the plant in the corner of the room. The coffee table might have books or drinks sitting on top, and there may be paintings or family photographs hanging on the walls.
Exterior renders can show maintenance holes in the streets, dead leaves on the sidewalk or the back of a road sign. The little details make a big difference when making realistic renders.
2. Use Bevel Techniques
The goal of architectural renderings is to convey the scale and beauty of the finished construction. Elements that give away that this is a render and not a photograph are distracting to the viewer and give an air of unprofessionalism.
One basic way to avoid this is the use of the bevel tool when rendering. Leaving sharp edges can be a dead giveaway to a viewer. It shows that an image is not a reality. Even real objects have at least a slight rounded edge.
Be sure to bevel most or all images. The effect of light hitting a rounded edge can even add to the 3D effect in an image. Often, the first skill a renderer should master is learning to use, and not overuse, a bevel tool.
3. Use IES Light Profiles
Lighting gives images and objects dimension, and using light properties to highlight your renders will make them appear more realistic. Correct lighting in a physical structure, especially a dwelling, adds beauty. It further gives an impression of space. This is why space and light planning is a main priority of house buyers.
3D rendering software gives you the creative freedom to design a space and lighting that doesn't have to be physically possible. However, a photorealistic 3D rendering should exhibit real-world light qualities to make the area look natural, even if it isn't physically feasible.
Using IES Light Profiles to accomplish realistic lighting in renders is an effective way to illustrate space and light in a building. IES Light Profiles contain accurate photometric information. This means people can use them to create realistic light-shape and luminance in a render.
This is an effective shortcut. Instead of calculating light behavior for each building or room that you create, these profiles can provide examples as a basis for accurate models.
4. Employ Depth of Field
Depth of field is famously employed by photographers and filmmakers to highlight picture elements that match the photographer's goal. It either brings an element to prominence or reduces the focus of the background to accomplish the same end.
The depth of field strongly affects photography because it becomes shallower when the camera is near the object. Close-up shots can draw attention to the image's focal point for your photorealistic renders. This can be employed either at render time or afterward in post-processing. Application of depth of field before render will give you greater control over the outcome. However, producing the same effect in the post-processing stages is faster.
5. Add Chromatic Aberration
You may have seen the effects of chromatic aberration in photography. This occurs when colors slightly separate due to the camera lens not rendering them at the same convergence point.
This, of course, does not happen naturally in CG renders. To fake a more realistic rendering, photoshop users can offset the red and blue channels by a pixel or two.
While this will provide realism to an image, remember that even in real photography, an excess of chromatic aberration is considered unprofessional. Keep it to a minimum in your renders to avoid falling into the same trap. Subtlety is class in this context.
6. Use Specular Maps
Specular maps will not be a new concept to most experienced renderers. Specular maps provide instructions to your render engine to provide a realistic level of gloss for each item.
For example, the sun shining through a window on a polished table will provide a nonuniform level of gloss or shine across the table. The specular map will indicate where the shine should focus and how much.
Even on an object that does display relatively uniform glossiness, such as ceramic dishes and polished metal, specular maps can be employed to help you indicate imperfections.
7. Avoid Perfectionism
There is such a thing as too much perfection. Any real surface will have imperfections such as scratches, smudges, cracks and signs of wear. If you are looking to create images that are photorealistic, you will need to incorporate flaws that may exist in the room or building.
If you are looking to render an image of an existing room, flaws may already be evident. Be careful not to cover too many of these over. In other cases, the building may be new when the surroundings are not. Including negative elements that are not detrimental to the purpose of the drawing — especially for sales purposes — can help photorealism.
If flaws are a step too far, give the room a lived-in feel. Add furniture items or other household belongings but not perfect tidiness.
8. Add Asymmetry
Many people associate beauty with symmetry. This may be very achievable in the controlled environment of a rendering studio. Mathematically controlled models will be perfectly symmetrical. However, much like in real life, perfect symmetry is unrealistic and can be spotted by the human eye. Avoid sacrificing realism for perfect mathematics. Feel free to switch off symmetry and allow small variations for realism's sake.
You can incorporate asymmetry with costumes, poses and other small details that make models and objects appear more lifelike. Asymmetry will give your render a natural appeal and make it look more real.
9. Use Lens Affects
Photographers tend to remove effects such as glare and bloom from images to create a sharp visual that is crisp and clear. For 3D renders, using lens effects can increase the realism. Too many effects can be harmful, but the proper balance can enhance the appeal of your rendering.
Blurring backgrounds, angling shots and squeezing are all standard lens effects. You can accomplish a blurred background by using the depth of field, but the other effects require additional skill.
Angles can rotate the image from its original position, allowing you to enhance a focal point or eliminate a background object. Squeezing an image can enable you to compensate for frame ratios. You can stretch horizontally or vertically to make up for the space you don't want to use in your render.
10. Add Finishing Touches
After you've captured the perfect image with beautiful light, great angles and texture, you can move to the final touches. Your final touches stage is the best time to identify areas that need improvement and decide if any modeling can fix these problem areas.
You will want to keep an eye out for flying objects and ensure the grass is not invading the floor area in outdoor shots. If you're working with artificial lights, ensure there is no bursting white light or incredibly dark shadows. Be sure to save your camera position if you've already found the perfect angle. Finally, be sure to save the image in a compatible file format.
Realistic Renderings and More
Good-quality image rendering can make the difference between a sale and no sale, success and failure. The standard of image creation is so high that anything less than the best will immediately stand out.
Designblendz is your one-stop shop for real estate development. Real estate professionals can use our services to streamline the 3D visualization, architecture and development processes. Our team works with deep knowledge and passion for merging the virtual and physical world.
If you would like to learn more about photorealistic rendering and image processing, we would like to hear from you. Get in touch to see how we leverage our experience to provide high-quality imaging services to our customers.