Question about render quality??


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Hi Everyone,

I have a question, I know it's probably in one way or another been answered and I remember I asked it at one point and got a few varying answers.

What I am wanting to do is improve the renderings and or quality of the render. I am getting better, still not there but getting there. I am doing one room at a time and when I make a mistake, I work to find a solution and figure it out. I am currently working on one personal project and one for a friend of mine.

The reason I am asking is because I did some hunting of sorts and looking at different qualities of rendering for both Chief X8 and HD PRO 17 (the latter of which, is what I am using). I love it, even though in my mind I still stink at it, my girlfriend and friends and family say they look really decent. 

So as I was digging I come upon (Home Designer Renderings) that were really incredible. Vastly better than the quality I have seen or have done myself. They almost look raytraced, like what you get out of Chief X8, however I can't afford the Pro Version and I am stuck with HD, I did some digging and found the renderings I found were done by external light rendering programs or what I think is the case. But have not found a definite answer or someone that will prove that it's done in HD with exported cleaned up renderings. 

What I am curious of, has anyone figured out a way to improve the lighting and photorealistic aspect of the renderings in the Home Designer line? 

I am really struggling for some reason figuring out the controls - I read the manual and I know I am probably missing it somewhere but for example, I wanted to change it to night and light the kitchen up but I can't seem to figure out how. 

I know for some that might be a stupid question or a want with a program that wasn't designed with the quality renders like in X8 but I have seem some of the renders better than mine. I know that David and a few others told me to just play with adjustments but I am a little lost.

Does anyone have tips for render quality? Can I export render to a freeware type rendering program? Best way to pre-set the lighting?

Thank You All So Much, Zac.

 EDIT: When I get home tonight - I will attach a file that I am working on - I just happened to find a kitchen in one of the downloadable examples of the site and converted some of the features over just as a quick test of a few things, but when I do a render, it does not look near as good as the rest I have seen.


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The best that can be done is by adjusting lighting and adjusting material properties. That is not a "Science" but is rather an Art. You get good at those adjustments by hours and hours of trial and error tweaking. The ones that look the best probably took awhile to tweak-render-tweak-render until your level of quality control is reached. Secondarily, the quality of one's video card and monitor can be a limiting factor in Home Designer renders, the better the video card the better-quicker you get the best possible results.



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backup entire plan would help with us getting all your customized materials. lots looks flat and just a color without them.

solver there are cameras saved in the plan but the layer is turned off for that and the electrical in plan.

the box pendants aren't set up right.  they should probably be using a higher intensity bulb and the offset is wrong.  the two outer ones should probably have around 47" set for the base and the shorter middle one to 40". 

you also probably shouldnt have everything all turned on for the best effect. look into using the adjust lights settings (3d->lighting->adjust lights).

the first part of this thread helps with making the appliances look better.

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Click Edit>Preferences>Render  check the settings see how many lights your card allows, do you need reflections in mirrors turned on at all times?


As for making the program render better, your limited to the software itself, thats about as good as it gets, no matter how powerful the video card is.


Click tools Plan Check, there's 54 errors on the first floor. You may want redo the layout on the 2nd floor, the bathroom seems out of place.


Go to the site and see what catalogs have what you need. The stool and counter top is not good lol.


You did darn good job building your plan, but I gottta ask  Where's the pool man?  lol

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This question seems to come up a lot, so I've created a post in the Tips & Techniques section with some basic guidelines.




Making the most of Camera Views

  1. Make sure your video card meets the System Requirements and is using the most up to date driver compatible with your operating system.
  2. Get your camera view's height and angle set up the way you want.


    Island Kitchen sample plan example, just standard normal rendering.
  3. Then, use 3D> Camera View Options> Final View with Shadows.

  4. Customize your materials instead of leaving them at the defaults.

    In particular, appliances and other stuff using metal materials generally looks better using shiny metals.

    The Formica bonus catalog has some shiny metal materials, and Home Designer also released another bonus catalog of metal materials.

    However, I still prefer using the shiny metal materials we gathered in an earlier thread on how to do this (calibz of metal materials attached).

  5. We have the ability to have reflections in mirrors now, but not a good way of automaticaly having reflections in other materials, like appliances/water in pools.  But, we can still export an image, flip it in Paint or Paintbrush, and then import it back in as a Stretch to Fit mostly transparent material applied to something like a Partition to create that look.


    Basic steps in the latter part of this article (and a really nice rendering of a pool reflection using the steps).

    I used a Wedge from the Shapes folder in the Library Browser to match up with the angled hood for a reflection over that surface.
  6. Adjust your lighting!
    If you don't have lights, make sure to add some.
    Check to see what light bulbs and where the light source is located in the dialog.


    For the best look, you probably don't want to have everything turned on, and most video cards can't display more than 8 lights on anyway.  Use 3D> Lighting> Adjust Lights to quickly choose what to display on/off so you don't have to go into every light's individual dialog by selecting it in the view to check to see if it is "On" or set to "Cast Shadows."


    Some versions of the software have an "Added Light" option.  It doesn't add an actual light fixture object, but can be a nice way to quickly fake light to get the shadows or brightness you may want in a particular area.
  7. If you can't find a particular object in the software's Library, either in the Core catalogs or the available bonus and manufacturer catalogs that can be downloaded from the website, check out the 3D Warehouse and import something close, but be aware that not everything is well designed and will look as good as Home Designer symbols, and some can really increase the number of surfaces in the design which slows down 3D views or can cause your video card to run out of memory.
  8. Finally, for those people really trying to use the software for production work, you're going to quickly find this is a lot of work if it is for more than just your own one-time project, and you should probably see about upgrading to the Premier version to get its ray tracing capabilities. 

    Check out the trial version, view the ray tracing videos and ChiefTalk threads to learn more about how it works to create different types of materials and apply bump maps for the more realistic look.

    I'm not really familiar with the ray trace options in Chief, so I'm sure that someone more experienced could really improve the ray trace.

    The Premier version also lets you export views to use in third party rendering/raytracing engines.  ChiefTalk has lots of info on those as well, like Kerkythea and Artlantis.


Other suggestions welcome!


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Hey All,

I did the backup but even compressing it, it said it was too big............

Also, I am not sure how to save camera views.


I was however, able to do the screens of the renders.


The backup file even compressed is 26.2MB which is slightly bigger than allowed...




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I agree with Kirk.  What images are you looking at would help us give you better pointers to achieve the results you want.


For now, without a backup of the entire plan, I had to replace most of missing materials with stuff from the Core catalog, so the wood, countertops and such are going to look different, but overall I think making the adjustments that Marcy suggested to the lights will be a good start.


I only turned on the 8 light fixtures viewable in this scene, and put in a couple of "Added Lights" set lower in the Kitchen to make the cabinet doors/drawers more defined.


I also increased the transparency of the lamp shade a bit, applied the metal materials to the appliances, and made the countertop material "Shiny" before doing a Final View with Shadows.

Changing the color of the light from white to yellowish (and changing the backdrop to a sunset or night scene if it's visible out the windows) will give you more the nighttime look from the interior.



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I too am interested to see these wonderful images that may have been rendered in I have asked similar question in the past and came to the conclusion ,as advised, that go with CA for better and raytraced renderings.

It is what it is - I am learning.


Timeless_16 - btw, your kitchen renders posted look ok I thought.

Marceline's version just adds lights - doesn't it?

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adding accessories like switches, outlets, and other objects makes scene look more lived in and realistic.

Marceline, that is amazing the difference. How did you get the counter tops to shine?

Also, sorry for not responding, I have been dealing with serious health issues and have been more focused on trying to stay alive..

I attached some renders from this morning and I think I am getting the hang of it.......... Sorta.....

The only thing now is finding out in the render (lableled Final Render, why did the lamp closest to the window stop working?




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Marceline, that is amazing the difference. How did you get the counter tops to shine?

I suspect that Marcy did the same as I did to set the countertop material as "Shiny," or maybe when she was choosing replacement materials for the missing ones she chose one that was already set as "Shiny."


Not sure on the bedroom light without seeing the latest copy of the plan it came from, but how many other "lights" are "on" in the Adjust Lights dialog (most video cards won't display more than 8 lights as on at a time)? Are the two lamps identical with their materials and light settings (might just want to delete the one and copy/paste the other one to make sure they are the same).

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Marceline, that is amazing the difference. How did you get the counter tops to shine?

Also, sorry for not responding, I have been dealing with serious health issues and have been more focused on trying to stay alive..

I attached some renders from this morning and I think I am getting the hang of it.......... Sorta.....

The only thing now is finding out in the render (lableled Final Render, why did the lamp closest to the window stop working?


yes the countertop material was set as shiny


sorry to hear about your health troubles


would need a copy of the plan to figure out the lamp

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