3D Interior renderings with the Best Value for your Money

Every architectural or construction company has its own cost categorization. But one category common to all of them is advertising and promotion. Often it will include costs for 3D visualization services. Some companies are ready to pay a lot for them, while others save as much possible, but in general everyone uses 3D interior renderings to showcase their future apartments.

In the previous two posts we discussed five truly high-end and five utterly awful 3D visualizations (as well as the consequences of using the latter), so readers could see for themselves how dramatic the gap is between paying more and getting less (or nothing).

Now we will try to find out if there is a “golden mean” in 3D visualization. To illustrate our words, let’s discuss several real-life works.

Example by Faraday 3D

faraday 3d

This is one of Faraday 3D’ very own projects. It depicts a modern living and dining area with lots of straight lines and neutral colors. Considering how much time we had to finish this 3D interior rendering, we think that this image exemplifies that “golden mean” between quality and efficiency. The lighting is imaginative and the furniture is well-built and cohesive in style, but it’s lacking in a few major areas.

First of all, there is too much “noise reduction.” Noise is the graininess that appears in low light settings on real cameras. Removing noise helps to reduce rendering time, so it’s one of the first things to go on projects with a short timeline. Unfortunately, it also makes the project look that much less realistic.

We also feel that we used a bit too much aberration effect. Notice how many of the edges appear blurry, like you can’t quite focus your eyes on them. This is useful in small doses, but it has been overused in this image to distracting effect.

The materials and textures took some blows too. We simply did not have the time to perfect all of the different textures. This is particularly evident on the wood elements in the foreground and the cabinets behind the table. Many of the textures we did choose are shiny, like the polished wood and velvet pillows. The lack of variety just makes it a little bit boring to look at. We also likely would have adjusted some of the colors to tie the whole room together more. The dark blue distracts from the other neutrals and the wood of the table, chairs, and floor are all too similar to one another.

The room does look lived in. One chair is pulled away from the table. A book lies open on the coffee table and an artificially lit hallway leads deeper into the house. Even though we had to take some shortcuts to reduce rendering time, these compositional details help to add back some of that realism we lost along the way.

Another Faraday 3D example

3D Interior by Faraday 3D

We made this rendering according to the client’s request to visualize a Norwegian-style home of a family with a child. Therefore, we paid special attention to certain details:

  • The room is a bit disorderly, as befits one where a child lives: the curtain is pushed aside, the books are not in the right place, the toy is left near the entrance, and the slippers lie on the carpet;
  • Speaking of the curtain, notice its “frozen” state, as though there is a slight draft in the room;
  • The lamp has a pattern, but the designer used it in such a way that it is almost unnoticeable;
  • There is a drawback: the central part, with a person moving, is a bit overexposed, making the walls, the door and the kitchenware mingle with one another.

The work does have a certain share of life and realism to it, but to make it truly photorealistic it would have taken much more elaboration of details and materials.

Check out our (Faraday 3D) 3d interiors:

Green kitchen 3d visualization

3d render

Check out other 3D Interior images of this author here

This is a decent work with several serious drawbacks:

  • The materials are not elaborate enough: look at the oven, the flowers, the glass, the chairs. They all miss realism, thus miss life;
  • The lighting is flat: a bit more sunshine could help;
  • Rendering settings are configured poorly, leading to ugly artefacts such as the shadows along the window pane and the wall.

As a result, we have a rather dull image that fails to provoke the desired emotional response. Such a 3D rendering will not inspire the viewer to use your services.

Scandinavian living room

Mads Lind Nicolaisen

This minimalist 3d interior rendering of a Scandinavian living room was made by Mads Lind Nicolaisen, an accomplished 3d artist and interior designer from Denmark. This image has lots of little details that make it good work. The pet sleeping on the sofa, the messy throw blanket, and the open magazine on the table are proof of inhabitants. The buildings outside the open windows and the sliver of another room visible on the left hand side help solidify the setting. However, this is not Nicolaisen’s best work for a few important reasons.

Lighting is absolutely crucial for realistic 3d rendering, and this project falls short. Look, for example, at the legs of the table and sofa. They appear to be floating because they do not properly cast a shadow on the ground. The walls, floor, ceiling, and window frames of this room are all the same light color, which makes it difficult to differentiate them. It looks very washed out and all the shadows that would add depth to the image have been killed by the bright lighting. Indeed, a room this bright would likely have another light source, but one is not present in the image.

The textures are quite good, but the materials themselves could be better. Additionally, there is too much sharpness to the texture of the plant. This makes it look fake and plastic-y instead of lush and alive. They would have done better with a milder green and less contrast.

Yellow-tone bathroom render

interior 3d

Check out other 3D Interior designs of this author here

This bathroom seems pretty cozy at first sight. But a bell “rings inside your mind,” suggesting that something is wrong here. And rightfully so:

  • The materials are not detailed enough to look authentic — they miss volume;
  • The shelves above the bathtub are over-blurred (perhaps in Photoshop). For a 3D visualization, it’s a definite drawback, as the rendering must look as realistic as possible;
  • Object models are deficient: for instance, the towel craves more folds;
  • The lighting is better than in the first visualization but still inaccurate (the window is overexposed, and there’s too much contrast on the right of the picture).

As you see, even such nuances greatly affect the overall feel of the interior.

3d rendering by Nikolay Fanin

3d rendering by Nikolay Fanin

This 3d rendering by Nikolay Fanin is a study in furniture. The lighting is nice and soft and the shadows are accurate, which is a huge plus. The curtains and wall molding add visual interest and the yellow cushion at the edge of the frame references the color of the pillow on the couch (albeit rather obviously), suggesting a larger room out of frame.

The couch is certainly the main focus of the image. A bit too much so, in fact. It’s smack dab in the center, making it feel more like a portrait than an actual room. The whole thing looks highly staged and not at all lived in or inviting. There isn’t enough space on either side of the couch to ground it in reality. Rather than simply implying a larger room, why not show it in the image? Well, because that would cost more time and resources to render.

Even though the couch is the main focus of the image, it is poorly rendered. Notice the strange repeating lines on the fabric. You might be tempted to write this off as fabric texture, but take a look at the pillow on the far left. The lines do not curve in the same direction as the pillow. On the far-right panel of the couch, the lines show up starkly even though this side is in shadow, which would more likely blur the lines if they were part of the fabric. Speaking of textures, the carpet appears far too blurry. On the artwork behind the couch, some artifacts are left over from the rendering process which makes it feel messy. This part of the image is supposed to look flat, so why does it pop out? This is indicative of improper or rushed rendering.

Children’s sky-blue 3d room example

kids 3d room

Check out other 3D Interior renders of this author here

This is a really good 3D rendering:

  • An important thing is that the room has some authentic clutter, as one would expect from a children’s playroom. This conveys the right atmosphere.
  • The lighting is good, without drops in contrast or over/underexposed parts;

Still, there are drawbacks in how the objects are created:

  • Their sizes are off, which you can sense unconsciously;
  • They lack detail (for example, the pillows have neither dents nor folds).

This is why high-end 3D visualization costs a lot: seemingly minor nuances are essential in bringing real feelings to the picture. A client will much more likely want to work with someone who paid that much attention to detail.

Modern 3d interior rendering by Vo Ny

modern 3d interior rendering by Vo Ny

This modern 3d interior rendering was made by Vo Ny. Most of his work focuses on building exteriors, so perhaps that is why this interior design project is not his best work. To an amateur eye, this probably looks pretty good. The contrast between dark and light materials is striking, and the view of trees and grill from the deck provides a sense of setting. However, a few details set it apart.

As usual, lighting defines whether or not a project is of the highest quality. In this instance, it is lacking. The light from outside is very weak, and all of the overhead lighting is turned on inside. This makes for extremely monotonous lighting with almost no shadows. It is difficult to understand where the light is coming from, and it makes the scene look flat. Additionally, the reflection of the couch in the glass does not match up with the light coming through the windows. Reflections like this are valuable because they enhance the ever-important realism of a piece, but they have to be executed accurately in order to do so.

Many of the textures in the room are flat as well. The carpet texture is low quality and the wood floor has too much bump effect added to it, particularly on the left-hand side of the image. The couch fabric looks far too smooth and the wrinkles along the front edge are too regular. The wood texture on the kitchen cabinets is too big. Real wood grain would appear much smaller from this distance. The dining room table and chairs looks too smooth and airbrushed.

If the artist had more time, he could have tweaked the plant material to make it a bit more realistic. He also could have added more clutter to make the space feel like a real home. As it is, everything feels very new and set-like. It does not draw you in the way high quality rendering does.

Simple hotel 3d room example

hotel 3d room

Check out other renderings of this author here

Not bad, either, and yet there are some things to comment on:

  • Just as in the previous example, there is a lack of detail, making the rendering look unrealistic;
  • The objects are awkwardly sized. Look at the huge shoes near the bed. We feel sorry for someone with feet this large having to lie on a bed so tiny;
  • There are too many patterns in textures (such as the one on the headboard ).

Simple hotel 3d room example

Lighting is a problem in this image as well made by Tomasz Muszyński. The rug almost looks like it is floating, and the same is true of the coffee table, which is indicative of improper shadow placement. The overexposed sky outside gives the sense of a real camera, but the brightness is too high in the room itself, especially in that bottom left corner. It’s a nice contrast between the shadows on the opposite side, but it also washes out the finer details of the image which reduces the rendering time. This is a great example of the tradeoffs between limited budget or timeline and quality work.

This 3d rendering also has an issue with textures. The curtains are far too smooth, and the furthest ones are scaled just a little bit too small. The wood grain on the cabinet doors should run vertically rather than horizontally, and around the edge of the wood tabletop the grain should run horizontally instead of vertically. On the painting in the background, the resolution is a bit too small because it is in the darkest part of the room. We spotted a seam on the overhead light fixture, which is a rendering error. The foliage on the hedges in the yard is a bit too sharp.

The space is suspiciously lacking in clutter. Is there really nothing on the wide expanse of floor in front of the couch? The artist could have added a pair of shoes by the back door or a pet toy or even another plant to add to the space.

The couch model is very simple, and the two most prominent pillows are made from the exact same model. It makes the whole image look like a 3d model instead of looking like a picture, which is the mark of a low quality 3d rendering.

3D Interior renderings: conclusions

Let’s sum up the above and identify some basic regularities that we saw in almost each of the renderings above:

  • Compared to bad-quality visualizations, lighting is now much softer. It has volume, making lighter and darker areas distinguishable between each other. But some lighting problems do remain.
  • Designers pay attention to the composition. They are not afraid to create some clutter in the interior, bringing realism and a feeling that people do live there.
  • Materials become more interesting. There are reflections at last. If patterns are used, this is done competently and only where appropriate (wallpapers, tiles, carpets, etc.).
  • Objects are more detailed, looking more than mere cubes. (This refers to a 3ds Max modeling method where an object is first created as a cube and then modified to its actual shape.) Such works still have problems in object proportions, though.

Most importantly, although these renderings are of decent quality, they do not evoke much emotion. And making the client relate to your visualization is essential for helping her choose the right contractor (that’s you, of course).

So, coming back to the question of whether there is a golden mean in the world of 3D. We propose to look at it from a different angle: it is not the golden mean but human reaction that matters.

If your company has a constant flow of clients, who are delighted with your interiors, then your choice of the 3D designer was obviously correct. If the question remains open, ask yourself whether you really need some “golden mean” between price and quality, if it fails to bring you clients?

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