Interior Lighting Rendering: Everything You Should Know About It
Learn what is interior lighting rendering. Types of light fixtures to use in renders. Top 3D rendering lighting mistakes and professional tips to avoid them
The quality of interior design and architectural images depends on the lighting. It adds life to the picture and makes it more convincing. The right combination of natural light, lamps, and shadows turns a simple image into an engaging 3D model.
That’s why poor interior lighting rendering can also spoil a 3D model. Even if a viewer doesn’t realize that something is wrong with the visualization, they will feel that the image isn’t realistic. As a result, they can refuse to order your services or doubt your professionalism.
To avoid such issues, you have to know all the 3D rendering lighting tricks. Tried and tested architectural lighting design approaches will help you create sophisticated but natural 3ds Max realistic renders. We’ll discuss them in more detail below.
What is Interior Lighting Rendering + Types of Fixtures
Let’s start with some theory and talk about what is interior lighting rendering.
3d rendering lighting is a stage of the architectural or interior design visualization process during which light is added to an image. Using specialized settings of light rendering software, 3D artists add fixtures and configure natural and artificial light on the 3D model. This step is essential to create design models that look as close to the real designs as possible.
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Generally, there are the next types of light fixtures:
- Architectural. This type is subdivided into three types of architectural lighting: cove, soffit, and valence. All of them are integrated into the room and allow designers to highlight specific parts of the space, like a cornice or a separate wall.
- Recessed. Installed directly into the ceiling, recessed fixtures send a narrow flow of light in a single direction.
- Under cabinet. Most modern kitchens have additional under cabinet light. Although you don’t necessarily have to include it on renderings, it is better to show the full functionality of the kitchen cabinets on visualizations.
- Track. Mounted to the ceiling they consist of a track with several heads that allow regulating the direction of light. Tracks are very popular in loft interiors and look great in 3D images.
- Pendants. Pendant lamps are suspended from the ceiling and generate light downward, typically to light a kitchen or bedside table.
- Ceiling lamps. They have been popular as a single source of light for years but now ceiling lamps are complemented with additional fixtures. Since they usually have many bulbs, ceiling lamps give a lot of light, which must be taken into account during interior rendering.
This is not an extensive list of all the architectural lighting design types. You can also use wall sconces, chandeliers, floor, desk lamps, and multiple other fixtures. Ideally, a modern interior design should include at least three types of fixtures providing different kinds of light.
3 Top Mistakes in Interior Lighting 3D Models
Given that you are going to combine several types of light on an image, you are prone to making mistakes. Here’re the most common issues:
- The wrong balance between natural and artificial
You should keep in mind that the sun is a star and it’s much more powerful than artificial lighting. Therefore, if you need to depict an interior in the afternoon and the day is sunny, natural light must be brighter than in-house. When it’s an evening, early morning or the weather is cloudy, the light from fixtures can look brighter than natural. Yet you will need to find the right balance anyway.
- Too warm or too cold light
Usually, 3D artists combine cold and warm light. Such images look realistic and reflect the colors of the rendered interior or building as close as possible. Hence, when you work on interior lighting rendering, you should either use mild white daylight or the combination of white natural light with the warm light from turned-on fixtures. As an option, your customers may request to focus on cold or warm light. In case it’s a customer request, and the person realizes how the final image will look, follow their preferences.
- Lack of knowledge about characteristics of different light sources
Technical expertise helps you make sure that the rendering output will meet your expectations. If you want to render architectural lighting design, you have to know color codes (RGB/CMYK/RAL/etc.), light colors measured in Kelvins, power, and other details.
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- The wrong balance between natural and artificial
Tips on How to Add Lighting to 3D Models
To secure yourself from the mentioned issues, you should use architectural lighting design and rendering lifehacks. Check out some proven tips below:
- Use lots of natural light in an interior and 3D visualizations
- Create interiors with several types of fixtures and layer them
- Keep in mind that from 12 to 3 PM natural light in the brightest
- Never make artificial light brighter than natural if it’s the afternoon in the image
- Combine cold and warm light for a natural look
- Provide your customer with examples of similar interior light rendering to double-check what effects they want
- Learn more about the characteristics of different kinds of light before rendering
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