Just like photography, lighting plays a vital part in deciding a rendering. It can make or break a rendering, and also is one of the most challenging aspects of getting quality 3D architectural visualization. Let’s get a better understanding of what we are talking about when we are discussing lighting in 3D rendering.

Interior: Natural and Artificial Light and Different techniques of Lighting

Lighting is the fundamental element in 3D interior rendering. It’s anything but consistent. Different light sources have different qualities. These qualities are most noticeable in the shadows produced on renderings. In an interior rendering, there are natural light and artificial light. I believe we are all familiar with natural light, and of course, it is not real ‘natural’ in a rendering. Sunlight and daylight can go through any transparent materials such as glass windows, and open doors and curtains, creating a soft view on top of the original subjects and bringing in more lights of the smooth color.

Technically speaking, artificial light is considered as the controllable light source, such as incandescent lights, LED lights, and more. It has quite a few advantages. Unlike natural light, it can be directed with flexibility. Plus, artificial light is perfect when natural light cannot penetrate every area of interiors, especially when you need an interior rendering that is full of light.

As to the techniques used for lighting in the rendering process, direct lighting, indirect lighting (reflected lighting) and soft lighting (diffused lighting) are often used. Lighting isn’t as mysterious and complicated as it sounds in a rendering. At AIMIR, our rendering team will visualize photorealistic interior designs based on real-life occasions with all the knowledge about lighting from accumulated experience in the past 16 years.


Exterior: Lighting in Various Moods and Atmosphere

The sky and ambient light create the key mood and aesthetic of an exterior rendering. At the same time, as the amount of light entering the image, landscape and other postproduction works must change to tune with correctly. Light needs to be either added or subtracted to make sense of it all. Dealing with just one of the lighting issues will often worsen other issues. There are a lot to share on the lighting of an exterior rendering. Let’s start with the factors that contribute to it:

  • The mood and atmosphere, which is basically a particular time during the day. This mainly concerns the sun’s direction.
  • The weather of the rendering, such as cloudy, sunny, rainy and snowy.
  • Whether to use the real sunlight direction or adjust the light based on the building itself. Sometimes, the real sunlight may give the building a weird view. In these cases, unconventional lighting is used to provide to the whole rendering of a better atmosphere.
  • The last one is the reference images from clients. If a client has a preference for the overall atmosphere but not strict with the lighting, 3D artists may process the lighting based on the overall mood.

If you flip through the pages of your favorite 3D renderings, you’ll notice that not all of them are bright and well-lit. The variation of mood conveys viewers a more natural feeling of the rendering as a whole. Here are some examples of various exterior lighting:

  • Partly cloudy. In a partly cloudy image, light diffuses in the clouds and reflects off of nearby objects. The directional light is partly blocked, but some of the diffuse light is still present, shadows of the building are much less distinct.
  • On the rainy, cloudy and snowy day, the thick cloud covers basically all the sunlight, which from a single source to a uniformly bright screen across the whole sky, so that the light from one part of the sky casts a shadow in one direction, but this shadow is illuminated by another part of the sky. The overall atmosphere of the rendering is gloomy and dim, evenly spread over the whole image.
  • General skylight. On a sunny day, the sunlight goes down and diffuses in the atmosphere, which the human eye sees as light blue color. In a rendering, this kind of diffused light is processed as white in some situations. There is one more thing to notice, that the closer this diffused light to the ground, the brighter the light will be. Shadows still show the exact silhouette of the building.

All of these types of lighting are great for different reasons, and it depends on what kind of mood you’re trying to create as well as the building itself. We have more vivid cases to show the significance of light in 3D rendering, if you are interested, why not contact us now at [email protected]



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