3D Kitchen interior - reachin' for the stars here

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Old 06 June 2012   #16
@boboroshi: Thanks a lot for your input! Progress is slow on this one, every idea helps. I do concur that there should be a lot more light bouncing from the sunlight, so I cranked up the FG secondary bounces to 2 and added another level of ray-depth for my photon GI calc as well. It seems to be helping.

Also, I fixed the problem with the dark glass in the cabinets; needed a back surface with opposing normals to make the light "shine through", evidently.

Update on all three shots:





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Old 06 June 2012   #17
Add some random objects on the table and around. Marble reflected more realistic in first variants (it was a bit too much, but now too little). I liked how you made the over reflecting in the first variant also. You show too much this flat surface in the center, which makes it rather boring, so I would lower the horizon.
Don't you want to play with blue-yellow tints of lighting? Blue from the sky, you could increase its intensity a bit, I like the contrast artificial lighting creates, but it feels a bit low-key for arch-viz.
 
Old 06 June 2012   #18
hi.. I'm new here and new to 3D..
made some rooms either to learn a bit

What I have to say is that's a great modeling.
If it was mine, I will increase the marble reflections. Almost like the first render, but a bit lower.
The refrigerator reflects seems odd either. Maybe a horizontal striped pattern for reflections, I don't know how to say.
And in the top horizontal column, there is a reflection of the ceiling lights, and I don't know if that is right.

Well.. This is my contribution, but again, I am new to this, and you don't have to follow..

Good work!
 
Old 06 June 2012   #19
Quick update, using a sky mechanism with a photo to help bring it to life a bit. A few other changes in lighting and shaders as well:



And the previous render for comparison:



Next I'll add the backsplash (can't believe I forgot it!) and a new texture for the custom tilework above the sink, as this one was just a placeholder I forgot about. Not too happy with the wood floor texture anymore either, so I'm going to take some photos of my bamboo floor at home and see if I can make something nicer.

@matheuskaspar: Thanks for chiming in! I agree with much of what you said, especially the fridge shader and the marble reflections. Do you see any improvements in this update? As for the light reflections in the ceiling beams, they seem accurate, it's just not something we see a lot in real life as most people don't have painted beams. That said, perhaps my glossiness is up too high on the wood shader and those reflections should be blurrier. I'll try it!

New or not, I appreciate your input and it's certainly valid. I'm not new, but still have plenty to learn! Hope I get an opportunity to help you in return if you ever need it.

@mister3d: Thanks as well for your input, my friend! I appreciate it. Do you think the reflections in the marble are better in this one, or worse? Does it look less perfect but more accurate? I hope so, but give it to me straight of course. Does the sky shader help at all?

And I do need to add some props. Dishes in the glass cabs, a vase or two with some flowers, maybe some other clutter or some chairs in the living area by the windows...
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Old 06 June 2012   #20
yes. the marble reflect looks a lot better.
i think that if you put a temporary background image throught the window, it will help to have a realism look, because now, even if we know, looks awkward.

about the ceiling beams, maybe you are right. Here we use opaque paint to color those kind of things. But I think, as you said, if you low the glossiness, will look better.

did you put vray lights in every window? I dont know if this is the way but, according what I saw in some tutorials, they arrange that way.

sorry if I type something wrong, not used to post in english foruns.
 
Old 06 June 2012   #21
It's looking good so far! I'm interested to see how it turns out. I took the liberty of quickly marking a few things that stood out to me. This the first time I've done something like this and I'm far from an expert myself so take it with a grain of salt.

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Old 06 June 2012   #22
I think the downlights are too intense compared to the natural light.
With that much sunlight coming in 90% of light brightness in the room should be from the sunlight and 10% from the downlights.
It would make more sense for the downlights to have more effect if it were late afternoon/early evening but it looks like early afternoon outside when the sun is at its brightest.
If the bounce from the sun is not bright enough you'll need to brighten it. Don't be afraid to over-expose the sunlit areas.
 
Old 06 June 2012   #23
Trying to approach the suggestions one at a time. I very much agree that the metal isn't looking great yet. Here's an attempt to diagnose and solve that shader:



(click for full-size)

I think the graininess from the blurry reflections isn't helping, but that sectional second render took 45 minutes alone, which is too long obviously. Cleaning up the blurries with more samples may do the job, but on a preposterous timeframe for me. Does the third, latest render here look better or worse? That one took 36 minutes to render, so it's a little faster, but also I haven't began optimizing the render times too much just yet until I hit "the sweet spot".

@matheuskaspar: Yes indeed, it needs a decent backdrop! I have an HDR in there now for simplicity's sake, but will come up with a better image (or take one myself) for the next round of renderings. I'm using mental ray, and there are multiple Portal Lights, but you generally only need one per bank of windows, especially when they're this close together. This scene has 1 directional (sun/sky), 8 Portal Lights, and 13 spotlights currently.

@Blinke: Nice markup, thanks a lot for your input! I agree about the stove's metal shader for sure, working on that. The spotlight must stay - I need to be able to adhere to an existing structural design for the future. But I agree that the angle of the render could be better, either eliminating that spot's reflection or showing more of the other ones to make it clear that's what we're seeing.

The height difference also must remain - that's how this building is built, in real life. Those bigger windows overlook the sea and are physically taller and lower than the kitchen windows, and thus lower than the central island's countertop as well. That's just perspective - but perhaps my camera angle could be better and help define this better? I'll try it!

The shadow under that wall cabinet is indeed too dark! Working on the bounce lighting to clear that up, hopefully.

The dishwasher doesn't look great in my renders, you're right. But the only way it would look like your example would be if you were photographing it head-on with a flash. But I do agree, mine needs to look a lot more like that, just with proper reflections to match the scene! Perhaps modeling in the details instead of texturing them will help, so I'll work on that. Good call, my friend.

@pap87: I agree with your analysis entirely as well! I'll crank up the brightness on the next round, from the sunshine, and see how it goes. I do tend to be leery of overexposure, but perhaps it will help balance the lighting out and make it more sun-shiny! Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it.
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Old 06 June 2012   #24
The spotlight must stay - I need to be able to adhere to an existing structural design for the future. But I agree that the angle of the render could be better, either eliminating that spot's reflection or showing more of the other ones to make it clear that's what we're seeing.

The height difference also must remain - that's how this building is built, in real life. Those bigger windows overlook the sea and are physically taller and lower than the kitchen windows, and thus lower than the central island's countertop as well. That's just perspective - but perhaps my camera angle could be better and help define this better? I'll try it!
I realize that you're working with real measurements here so you obviously need to adhere to them. Experimenting with different camera angles is probably the best way to alleviate some of the issues. I'm not even sure that my complaint about the countertop vs. the windows is legit, it could be my brain playing tricks on me. It's the way that the countertop and the wall sort of align, like the wall is resting on the countertop.

The dishwasher doesn't look great in my renders, you're right. But the only way it would look like your example would be if you were photographing it head-on with a flash. But I do agree, mine needs to look a lot more like that, just with proper reflections to match the scene! Perhaps modeling in the details instead of texturing them will help, so I'll work on that. Good call, my friend.
Absolutely, it would not look exactly like my example in a real setting. My point was more about the brushed feeling of the material. It feels a bit too clean and reflective in its current state.
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Old 06 June 2012   #25
Hey, render is looking good so far, good to see that you're using real world measurements, that's definitely a good start.

I think it has been said before but overall, I think the biggest problem with the scene is that it's too dark. I pulled a quick reference from Google:



I pulled your latest render into Photoshop and a lot of the values for the walls, window frames, etc. (which look like they're supposed to be white) are well below 50% brightness. The reference, however, have similar areas at a value of 70-80%

Notice too how the down lights are obviously on but they don't really appear to be contributing much to the scene. If you want the light from your down lights to be visible, they don't need to contribute much (avoid ugly shadows from your cupboard for instance) and try putting two lights in there, one with a wider cone than the other to give them the classic down light look.

You don't need props but you have to admit, they do help the photo look nice.
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Old 06 June 2012   #26
Excellent reference, thank you Kev3D! It's not critical that the can lights play a large part in my scene so much as the modularity and "repeatability" of their usage works. I'm hoping to learn enough from this scene to move forward faster to realism with my future projects. One thing I'm having a rough time with is light saturation from the sun/sky and Portals, however. With tons of extra bounces it's still not getting there yet.

Meanwhile, dialing in the materials will also help with future scenes of course. In my opinion, the shaders should look good (realistic, or close) no matter the lighting situation. And some of mine look good, and some look better with the advice given here, but metals are still a real pain in the butt. Making realistic metals was much easier when I didn't have standards for them! (grins)

Thanks for your input, I'll see if I can achieve some higher levels of bounce lighting in my next batch of renderings.
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Old 06 June 2012   #27
Are using a linear workflow? Judging by something you posted before, you're not and you really should.

You can stick a mia_exposure_photographic in the lens shader slot of the camera and this will give you direct control of the exposure. The easiest way is to crank ISO, shutter, f number down to 0 and use the Cm 2 Factor to control it. This way you don't have to worry about increasing bounces etc. you just need to increase the exposure.

Keep the Gamma of the lens shader at 2.2 and then make sure all your bitmap textures go through a gamma node (0.454) before plugging into the shader.

This should give you much more realistic control of all your lights.
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Old 06 June 2012   #28
Yep, Kev, workflow is entirely linear. I'm using Maya 2012, so only the color swatches need be tampered with, and I'm also using a Texture Publishing style workflow whenever possible. I've studied lighting/rendering with mental ray for some time, this is just my attempt to push realism and modularity to a higher level of quality. Unfortunately, my render times are horrific right now, but I'll tune that later of course. In my daily production, rendertimes rarely exceed 20 minutes. But those are in part due to quick turnaround daily deadlines, so I have little choice but to sacrifice quality to meet them, usually.

As for what you said about using exposure and cm2 factor vs. just using indirect lighting, I'm not sure how that would work? If the lighting isn't hitting an area, no amount of post-filtering will make it do so - the dark shadows on the floor and under the wall cabinet in my previous renderings are a good example of what I mean by that. I'm using a 6/6/12 raytrace depth with 3 shadow bounces, and for Final Gather 2/2/4 and 1 secondary bounce here. In previous renders I was using 2 secondary bounces, but this made no visible impact upon testing.

After some tweaking I decided to give it a go without photon GI enabled, Final Gather only. To my surprise, the scene was much brighter without the photons! I did crank up my Portal lights multiplier a bit, but haven't touched the can light area lights at all here, only the Portals. This certainly helped with the dark shadows below the cupboards and the wall cabinetry.

Final Gather only, rendertime 2h29m (absurd!):

(click pic for full-size)

Next, I'll remodel the flooring and fix the backsplash on the countertop. Then it's back to lighting adjustments, but I would still appreciate any feedback you folks can give. Is this one better at all? More natural? It feels cartoony to me but is it a step in the right direction...?
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Old 06 June 2012   #29
I think it is a step in the right direction. The relationship between the indoor lights and outdoor light contribution looks better.
But I think that rather than boost the sky light so much, better to boost the sunlight more. Unless you are going for a clouded day the areas where the sun hits inside should be much brighter and spilling lots of warm bounce all over the walls.

Here are some great examples of the contrast between sunlit and non-sunlit, and also the light that the hotspots bounces everywhere else.



Last edited by pap87 : 06 June 2012 at 06:17 AM.
 
Old 06 June 2012   #30
Two steps forward and nine steps back... I'm happy with the materials except for the flooring and stainless steel (which is at 95% happiness, perhaps a quick post effect would finish the metal off), but lighting is killing me once again.

Cranking up the physicalSky multiplier yielded "decent" results, rendertimes are still absurd but it seemed like progress. This is GI+caustics+FG:



So I thought I'd take a look without the caustics and see if it were any smoother:



Messy, messy. So I thought I'd take a look without GI or caustics at all, FG only:



As you can see, this is not working how I'd hoped! Generally a lighting solution gets a little darker with Final Gather involved, as it smooths out the GI photon messiness and helps to even things out a bit. Usually. Not this time, though!

Considering the blasphemous rendertimes I'm hitting (1½-2 hours per 100dpi frame), it seems like it may be best to export all the geometry and shaders and start over from scratch on the lighting. There are so many variables, it's just brutal to try to figure out what's what.

But I'll try one more render with this scene as it stands, with GI+caustics an NO Final Gather, and see how that turns out in the morning.
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