What is photorealistic rendering?
Photorealistic rendering is a digital process using a 3D CAD model within a software package to create a digital image of the model. The result is a rendered image that is hard to distinguish from a photograph of a real-life object.
It’s useful in lots of industries, including architecture and interior design, as well as visual prototyping within product design.As a product design consultancy, we have 3D modelling services as part of our process. It’s a way for clients and stakeholders to envisage the true appearance of a design at an early stage prior to any costly physical prototypes.
We’ll explore some important questions about photorealistic rendering:
- Using the right light – it’s critical to use the right amount of light and also the correct light direction on the image because this will impact the texture of the finished product
- Shading – it’s also important to get the right shadowing on your image if it’s to look realistic and correctly highlight to the right areas
- Perspective – all of the different parts of the image need to be scaled correctly because if they’re not done properly, the final image will appear flat or too exaggerated
- Camera angle – setting the viewpoint of the image correctly implies scale to the viewer. A view from a low angle suggests an object is large like a building while a higher angle suggests an object is small like a watch.
Using specialist rendering software the 3D design of a product is placed within a virtual world. The creator then applies materials to the product parts such as tinted glass or textured plastic. The correct colours are then applied to the materials.
Once these have been implemented, the next step is the environment of the virtual world. This involves applying a floor and background much like a stage at a theatre. Again, like a theatre stage, lighting must be added to correctly and realistically illuminate the product.
The camera position is then set to focus on the desired features of the product while also giving the right sense of scale.
After the optimum setup has been achieved, the final step is setting the software to ‘trace’ the image. It analyses every area of the world passing virtual light across every detail to correctly produce a digital image of the creator’s setup which will be a photorealistic rendering.
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