Kitchen...again...I hope it never gets old. :)


Hello all of you,

I humbly present my try at modeling a showroom kitchen.
I’ve done the modeling, ligting, shading and rendering.

I did this in Maya, I worked 5 Days on this.

The Lighting is done with spot lights.

I’m still not happy with the wood textures and want to refine them. Either make my own or find better ones. For the tiles I made the textures myself.
I’m using mental ray for rendering. My render times lie between 4 and 5 minutes.
I tried lowering it with using textures around 1024.

For shadows I use raytracing.

Thank you for sharing your time in reading this.

Thumps up for this community, there are incredibly good artworks here.



first of all you should avoid sharp edges in your picture because it make it look cg-ish.
You need more details like glases, bottles, kitchentools and so on. The window to the left looks thick and you could model the bars with more detail.
There is much light in the down left corner and i cant see where its coming from cause the window is black. For the floor you could use some bump or displacement and for the other textures do some variation because of the tiling.
Thats it for the first from my bad english :slight_smile:


Hi Joemrki,

thanks a lot for the feedback. Your English is not bad at all!! :slight_smile:

When I posted the image yesterday, I browsed around to see what others did, and I realized that the image was really not good. there were a lot of mistakes.

So I went in and worked over it. I took away the textures. I will redo all of the textures, because they don’t look finished. I am not going for 100% photo-realism but I want it to look at least a little real.

I did what you said. I beveled the edges. I added items, but not enough yet.

And I reworked the windows, the lighting and the chairs. I will do another model of chairs, because I don’t feel they look right. The handles on the cupboards are new too.

I added also venetian blinds and colored light for some story-telling.

Here is an update of what I have so far.

New Pictures


Here are some new renderings.

I’ve added more items to the kicthen. I re-designed the chairs.
I put a frame on the lights on the ceiling, because I thought that they don’t stick out.

Also I tried to model plants, because I need to fill the 3 pots on the shelf and the vase on the table. I tried some sort of orchid, but it doesn’t look convincing.

For the pots I wanted to put herbs, like rosemary or thyme, to give them more of a function for cooking. the backdrops need to change, because the sky doesn’t work with the light mood.

It’s overlid too.

So my goal is to add a few more items and then I want to start texturing, which will be a big step or me. I want to improve my texturing skill.

One question pops do my head. Do the lights in the ceiling, work in the picture? Do they add?

I’m going for late afternoon, where the blinds are down a little, so the kitchen is darker, and so you would probalbly switch on the lights. But they shouldn’t come out to strong, as it is still daylight.

Is it conveying this mood? I’m open for any suggestions.

Thanks again for spending time on reading this.

New pictures


So here are new images.

There are some models that are not textured yet!!

I just wanted to show how far I got so far.

I have one question.

When I turn on global ilumintation in the render settings, the shadow of the venetian blinds
disappear. Anyone knows why?

What do you think of the new pictures?

New Pics


Hello :slight_smile:

I have a new render. I still need to add kitchen elements.

What you think of it so far. What should be improved?

New Image


You should change the lightning. It looks really flat.


I’m not able to access your Dropbox site. Could you perhaps link your images directly, so everyone can see them?


Thanks deadland, I worked the lights, and I removed an ambient light which made it look flat.
I looked very dark afterwards, and I added a point light without casting specular in the middle of the room to lighten the scene in overall.

Infernal Darkness, I tried the link and it worked, I don’t know what happened.

I’ll just upload the image. It’s only 1280x720 to reduce render time.



Something of note is that in real life, the outside view is almost always a lot brighter than the inside. If you look at a photo exposed for the inside, the outside will usually be a lot brighter. It looks strange, in your render, to have the outside at the same exposure as the inside.

Something you can try instead of the point light is to put a couple of area lights in those places where the sunlight is hitting the ground and table to simulate the bounce light.


Using mental ray, if you’re doing a lit interior daylight scene you want to be using Area Lights with Portal Light nodes in the “mental ray -> Custom Shaders -> Light Shader” slots at every window along with the sun/sky system, and be sure to link the Portal Lights environment to the “mia_physicalsky1” node as well. Portal Lights act as “FG concentrators” and also help render faster (less math, as any obstructed sunlight outside the walls and Portal Lights is discarded) and with a cleaner interior FG result.

Remove the point light. All lights should be area lights, and in their physical locations. You don’t need or want hidden, unseen light sources - these will detract from the realism. But let’s get you going with Portal Lights first.

This will actually help with Kev3Ds advice as well. But you’ll need to set the Area Lights to NOT Visible in their attributes, below the “Use Light Shape” section under “Low Samples” to see the images you’re using as a backdrop. Also, set those images to not cast or receive shadows, as well as your glass window geometry. You can have your glass cast shadows, but it will drive your rendertimes up tremendously, so try it first without the glass casting any shadows.

So to clarify:

  1. Create an area light for each window opening (not each window glass pane), so 2 area lights in your scene (and maybe one behind the camera later, to simulate a window off-scene).

  2. In the mental ray section of the Area Light, check “Use Light Shape”, set to rectangle, and make sure Visible is unchecked for your backdrops to be seen behind the light.

  3. For both area lights, in the mental ray sections under Custom Shaders, check “Suppress all Maya Shaders” here, then link a “mia_portal_light” node to each one (so they both have their own).

  4. In each Portal Light node, check “Use Custom Environment”, “Visible”, and “Lookup using FG Rays”. In the Custom Environment slot link “mia_physicalsky1” there (default when you turn on the sun/sky).

  5. If you’re using photon GI, click “Emit Direct Photons” for the Portal Light as well.

  6. Turn off all your other lights, and give it a render! Then turn on the ones which represent only physical light sources in your scene, those tube ceiling lamps and any can lights you have around the sink/countertop.

Hope this helps!


Wow, thank you, that’s very thourough and helpful. :thumbsup:
I’ve just finished a render which took me over an hour. So I’m curious to use your method.

Here is my last render with the old light setup. I’ve added an Ambient Occlusion Pass on it.

I’ve changed some of the props.


My last attachment was very bad quality, so I added a new one to my gallery and link it here. I’ll try this method.


good progress since the first render. Will this be your final camera angle?
Wait to see a render with the new light settings.
Keep it up.


Hi Joemrki, thank you, yeah, I’m very happy about how far I’ve come.
I didn’t believe it. Yes, this is my final camera angle.

Can I throw a up a question I’m ashamed to ask:

How do you upload your renders into your posts?

First I used dropbox, but it didn’t work so good.

Now I try to put mine into my portfolio and than link them to this forum with the IMG-tag, but it doesn’ work.

Thanks and I hope it’s not asked to much.

I could :banghead: myself.


Regarding image-posting, I just use an external host (ImageShack) and link the images in. Here’s an example of the lighting setup I was talking about, as well as the linking method:


Hey, that’s funny I was using this picture as a my motivation. I wanted to get close to it’s look. I tried your method, and by the way thank you again for really taking your time for writing it. Maybe, it didn’t took you long doing so, because you know the method by heart, but I appreciate the effort to give a clear answer. And I hope you’ll get enough back out of all your contribution to CGSociety.

Back to the topic, I tried your method and I get something good. It came out a little too dark. As I’m not that familiar with area lights and portal lights, I dont know which settings I need to change to make the area light or physical sunlight stronger. I tried increasing intensity which didn’t do anything. As this is a different technique, I don’t believe that intensity has much to do with it. Also the physical sky gives a blueish look to the overall image.

I’ll familiarize myself with area lights and portal light and see what I can find out by myself or the internet. And I’ll upload a new render during the day.


Sure, it’s not a lighting technique which is terribly easy or will “happen overnight”, there’s no magic to mental ray, only study and lots of testing. My initial guess if your scene is too dark is that you’re not using real-world measurements, possibly. You really want your units to = 1 for quadratic falloff to look proper in mental ray, and all your non-sun/sky lights should be using quadratic falloff.

For example, I model my scenes in inches/feet (silly Americans) in my CAD program, Rhino. Thus, when I import the scene as an .obj file into Maya as a “group”, I then set the transform pivot to 0,0,0 on the grid and then rescale the entire group by.394 to convert inches to centimeters. For a long time I didn’t know to do this, so I was constantly trying to increase my lights’ intensity to compensate, but once your unity = 1 in mental ray, lighting becomes much more intuitive and there’s a lot less guesswork.

Sorry to ramble on or overload you with information, perhaps it will be useful at some point!


So here is my latest render. I took 1 hour to render.

I rescaled it. I’m working in meters. The kitchen is 6 meters large. My model was at 12 m, so I scaled it to half the size.

The portal lights have intensity multiplier set to 30. I had it at 50 but then the frame of the window was blown out. It still is quite white. And the scene is still a little bit dark.

InfernalDarkness, is your kitchen more lit, because there are more windows?

My light sources are only 2 area lights and physical sun
What I like about this method is that the reflections of the kitchen worktop and the specular of the floor work are way more present.

There are books missing on the right shelf, because the camera angle changed a little.
And the bottles are doing something weird to. :slight_smile: I have to check their material.


I think it’s looking much better, much more natural and the indirect light is working way better too! It seems like a lot of your textures/shaders could use some work, but there’s plenty of time for that later as well.

You’re working with a 12m scene, so that’s 1200cm obviously. If your scene scale was initially 12 meters, you should actually be dividing it down by 100, not by half. This may seem counter-intuitive at first, but for mental ray’s lights to work properly, you want quadratic falloff (realistic falloff according to the inverse-square law) to appear properly. This is why your scene still seems pretty dark; you shouldn’t have to increase the intensity of the portal lights at all really, except for artistic or compositional reasons. It should look pretty natural at an intensity of 1.

But it’s looking good with the new lighting setup! Are all your materials mia_material_x in this scene, currently?