Design and render a modern interior
Learn to use key assets, tools and techniques to create stunning results for your interior render projects
Aref Razavi demonstrates how to create an attractive CG interior
Before we can begin creating interior renders such as this, it’s very important that we first take a look at real-world inspiration. I used decouvrirlendroitdudecor.blogspot.com for references, it’s a great blog with a lovely collection of beautiful interiors.
After you’ve chosen a great reference, first draw the plan of your project. Import into 3ds Max and start modelling. Here I’ve used Marvelous Designer to create the bed and curtain. Some assets are modelled in 3ds Max and others come from 3dsky and Evermotion. This work was quite unique in that 90 per cent of shaders were created with Substance Painter, which was quite a challenge!
I also made use of Rizom-lab, which I’d argue is one of the best pieces of software for UV unwrapping, plus it’s very simple to use and has a clear workflow.
Materials were built using Substance Designer. But why? Let’s imagine a dining table as an example. It has ten shaders with many parameters and every shader has some textures. When we want to create a render from this dining table, 3ds Max will present many materials and textures, whereas with Substance it takes just one.
After we’ve finished this process we must choose the right atmosphere for the render. In this case I have opted for a cloudy day, with additional external details that really make the difference in levels of believability and realism. Model libraries such as those from Kitbash3d are perfect.
01 DRAW AND MODEL
First, draw the plan in AUTOCAD – it’s very easy to use and produces accurate results. After that import into 3ds Max and start modelling, following your plan. Just be careful, all vertices must be closed, and don’t use Turbosmooth. To create a floor, I would highly recommend the Floor Generator plugin.
First we need to draw all edges and corners; we can use the Sweep Profile script or draw a custom 2D shape. After that, we must use Sweep Modify to create molding. Don’t use a complex path. If you want perfect molding you need to split objects into separate pieces.
03 MARVELOUS DESIGNER
To make blankets and pillows we use Marvelous Designer. It's the best software for simulating clothes, blankets, pillows and curtains. In the archviz industry, we need to use a simple, powerful and speedy program, and MD is ideal for this. After importing from Marvelous to 3ds Max, use UVW Xform when setting texture size.
Unwrapping is always one of the hardest steps in texturing, but using Rizom-lab can speed
up the process like a miracle. There is a very useful bridge – you can transfer the 3D model from 3ds Max to Rizom-lab with just one click.
05 UNWRAP, MODIFY AND IMPORT
You can always unwrap in 3ds Max, but it’s not very powerful. For a simple shape like this though, it can be useful; just click Flatten and done!
For transferring models from 3ds Max to Substance Painter we can use an official bridge, which you can download from substance3d.com. You must make sure your model has the correct unwrap. When importing the model we must Bake Mesh Maps from the Texture Set List. After that’s finished we can start our work in Substance Painter.
06 WET MATERIALS
Always use wet shaders! Just be careful not to use too many, and to use the right moisture. Not too much and not too little. In Substance Painter we can make use of the very handy Particle brush.
07 DIRTY MIRROR
Mirrors, glasses, chromes… they need specks of dirt. Like fingerprints, steam, rain, marks in the corners; as always, look in the real world. For example, look at the nearest window, or your phone screen… 100 per cent clean? Of course not. Your interior render should be reminiscent of the real world.
08 WET FLOOR
Having a wet floor always adds a nice touch, and improves realism. When we can see a small reflection of the room on the floor, it creates a larger space for us, and tells the viewer that the occupants care about cleanliness.
09 RAIN ON WINDOWS
Rain is always a symbol of beauty and freshness, so let’s try to capture the feeling of a beautiful rainy day. Note that when it rains on the window, the raindrops should be on the outside of the window and the
inside of the window should be slightly steamed.
10 EDISON LAMP
Edison lamps have a lot of details and are always attractive, but it can be a big challenge to materialise it. You should be able to create reflection and refraction together in one texture set in Substance Painter. This requires a bit of practice and repetition. The ID texture is very important for this method.
11 MATERIAL LOADER
I find this script really useful – gumroad.com/l/xoph. It's only $20 and creates PBR shades from PBR texture (like exporting texture sets from Substance Painter).
For interior scenes, we must create a plane light for all windows. This workflow gives us direct lights, meaning that the viewer can detect where your stage light comes from. Please don’t use fake light!
13 SET CAMERA
Camera work is an art in itself, but aim for simple angles, at human head height, then add close-up renders for details – and don’t forget depth of field.
14 RENDER SETUP
Corona Renderer is a great render engine, and in this case I didn’t even need to change any of the default render settings. Just set the noise level as required
– a setting of 5 with denoise in enough for most cases. If you have a heavy amount of noise, there are solutions; for example, use a small 1K HDRI file. Set a sky portal or plane light behind all windows, use Corona Sun for sunny days, and turn off caustics.
The best tools for postproduction in Corona Renderer are Lightmix and Corona Frame Buffer. After you’ve finished, you can save it as a 32-bit EXR file and open it in Photoshop to correct the final details. •