Good leap for me with 3D rendering

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Bill M
Bill M's picture
Good leap for me with 3D rendering
SoftPlan Version:
2014 Plus

I've stated before that I have been using Softplan since early 2004.  Our area generally doesn't create lavish renderings for building and primarily uses "stick" drawings for elevations with many details noted.  These work very well here and did for me in the 14 years I built houses.  

Now that I'm strictly drawing for other builders I have wanted to step things up and this site has been a tremendous help in doing that.  I am wanting to through Chapter 9 in the manual to further my rendering capabilities.  I had planned to do that this week but ended up with a new builder that gave me two drawings to work on so I need to get those done but since it was a wet weekend I decided to play since I was stuck inside for the most part.

I have done ZERO interior rendering so when I started this I didn't know where I would end up.    The builders client wanted a pass through from the kitchen to the den and in order to accomplish that I had to redesign from her original concept.  I am pleased with the result.  Using the help file and the manual some I was able to learn some good lessons.  I realize it's a simple design, single height on ceilings, etc but I got excited with the result.  One thing with the kitchen that can be seen if you look closely is the oven and microwave are just hanging in a hole in the tall cabinet.  I believe I can find out how to "build" myself a cabinet to use in the this instance in Chapter 7.  

Here are the renderings.  Three views and thanks for looking.  Any tips are appreciated.'s picture

Bill, nice job on the renderings they look good.  The only comment I have which is only a personal opinion, and the same

one I have for many renderings is the amount of reflection on floors tends to get overdone in my view.


I'm like you, in that I have used Softplan for the last 6 or 7 years but I too have mostly just done line drawings with a little

3D Visible Line stuff but no real colour rendering to speak of.  However, things sure seem to be going in that direction much

more quickly than I ever imagined they would.  It is fast becoming an expectation with clients to see some colour renderings,

so I guess we either get on the bandwagon or start to miss out on some work !!!  I'd better get busy :-)



Bill M
Bill M's picture
Thanks Jim for the good word

Thanks Jim for the good word and the tip on the reflections.  I agree with your assessment them being overdone in this case certainly.  I know I have never put in tile or wood that shiny when building.  

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture

Very nice work Bill. I am by no means the best at doing renderings but I have studied them quite a bit and I can offer some suggestions as you are learning.

One thing I noticed is that you have Anti Alias set low, probably on 1. Anti Alias is a method of removing jagged edges by softening and averaging the pixels around the edges of objects. To raise the Anti Alias level select the Options Tab while in the 3D mode and then select Mode Options. You will see the setting in the Render section of the various 3D modes.

Another thing is reflections. As Jim mentioned they are a bit over the top. For a more realistic rendering I would reduce the reflectivity of the materials or turn reflections off completely. To adjust the reflectivity edit the material that is showing reflections and reduce the amount of reflectivity. If you want to turn reflections off completely you can do that in the Options tab, Mode Options, Face Options. Reflections are the the thing that contributes the most to the time it takes to generate a rendering. With reflections turned off your renderings will run many times faster. If you want reflections you can turn them off while you are adjusting the camera, lighting, textures, etc. and then turn them back on for the final rendering. That way you don't have to wait so long to see each change you make.

But the thing that really makes a huge difference is lighting. Just like if you take a photograph of a poorly lit space you will get poor results. Lighting and shadows give renderings the depth they need to look more realistic. Look around the room you are in now. You will see variations in light and shadows all over the room. If you were to take a photograph those shadows and lighting variations would be captured by the camera. These shadows and light variations are interpreted by your brain to indicate distance and depth of your surroundings. The key to a really great rendering is in the lighting and shadows.

SoftPlan's rendering engine is capable of doing some decent renderings but it is a little weak in the lighting and shadows area. SoftPlan is also a bit weak in the types of lights available and the settings that you can adjust for them. Because of these limitations SoftPlan will never be able to get the highly realistic images that some rendering software can produce. The higher end rendering engines can produce images that you can not tell they were created by a computer. But SoftPlan does a decent enough job for your average client to be able to visualize the design.

Bill is the owner and maintainer of

Bill M
Bill M's picture
Thank you Bill.  It seems I

Thank you Bill.  It seems I read some comments you made on the anti alias setting in another thread in the past day or so.  I will definitely play with that setting. Reflections, I remember when I went to the class on Softview in 2005 or 06 and we played with those settings with different materials but I have forgotten all of that information now.  I have noticed that setting for different materials however.  Also when I was playing with the lighting yesterday I believe reflections were causing any light I wanted to use to be much too reflected, washing out textures and colors so I definitely want to learn to control that so I can use proper lighting.  After that the renderings did look too dark where they did not before.  It's good to know that the reflections or lack thereof will help with rendering time as well.