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10 top rendering tips


By Poz Watson


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Date Added: 4th March 2014
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Top 10 rendering tips! Learn to render better, smarter and more effectively. Our panel of experts reveal their top tips and techniques for successful renders


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Rendering might be less fun and less exciting than the other parts of the 3D process, but it's just as vital. It's such a time-consuming process that if you don't know what you're doing, all you're doing is wasting time. Of course, done right, that rendering time is a good opportunity for you to process too, and when you get your finished renders out, hopefully you can come back to the work with a fresh eye. But first, you need to get those passes the way you want them, as our experts explore.

"Rendering a normal pass can be really helpful to add extra light to a rendered image. Each channel can be used as a light source, coming from each one of the 3D world axes” Carlos Ortega Elizalde


Render separately

"Sometimes my renders need a little sprucing up. I render out elements (background, foreground, character etc) as TGAs with alpha channels, then comp them in Photoshop. Adjustment layers such as selective color, hue/saturation and levels help me control the tones of the image. I also use vignette and iris blur if needed. I stay away from the chromatic aberration slider though – I see it overused far too much these days!” Andrew Hickinbottom

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Comping together work in Photoshop gives you the chance to look at it fresh


Normal passes

"Rendering a normal pass can be really helpful to add extra light to a rendered image. Each channel can be used as a light source, coming from each one of the 3D world axes. While it does not represent physically accurate light, it helps artistically to accentuate important or lost zones of a rendered image by simulating a rim or a bounce light. It saves a lot of time to avoid re-rendering by tweaking or adding lights, and it works too in composition software for animated sequences.” Carlos Ortega Elizalde

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Time-saving tips are exactly what's needed


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From the modeling to the texturing to the lighting, every little detail will add to the splendor of your final render © Carlos Ortega Elizalde


Create a spec pass...

"To create a spec pass in Keyshot I usually use a wax material with 0 translucency and maximum specularity, then I turn the SColor and the Subsurface Color to black. Next thing to do is to make the background black and then I use the HDRI Urban to light the scene.” Luca Nemolato

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Keyshot passes can be just the way to tweak your image to perfection


...and a skin pass

"To obtain a good and fast skin pass in Keyshot, I usually use the Human Skin material with the translucency set to 0.7 (this can vary depending on the model), roughness to 0.8 and then I load a Texture map and a Normal map. Usually I light it with the HDRI Factory." Luca Nemolato

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Skin is something worth taking extra time on. So just experiment until it looks right!




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