Jesse Davis shares another great article from Blenderer.com, this time on interior design in Blender.
This article is for everyone out there trying to render the best interior scene in Blender. You’ll need more than just reference photos when you want to make a cozy living room, a fresh-looking kitchen or a calming bedroom. If you want your interior scenes to be the absolute best, you’ll need to know about interior design.
Interior design is the foundation for every good indoor scene. In this article, we will focus on the key attributes needed to use interior design in your scene. These include:
Every room needs a specific theme. Do this before you start making your room objects, as you don’t want to throw away a couch or lamp that doesn’t fit your scene. Select your theme in steps, starting broad and specifying as you go. Your selection process could look something like this:
Informal -> modern -> tropical
It doesn’t have to be complicated, just have a clear picture of what you want. If you’re at a loss for ideas, go to places like Pinterest and get a feel for what you like. Don’t copy an entire scene, as this comes at the cost of your own artistic abilities. Being able to use photo’s and thoughts together is just as important as learning Blender itself.
Now that you’ve got a theme, you’ll need some colors. Some fit better together than others and it can be hard to pick them right. Luckily, there are some handy rules for what colors you can mix. All you need is a color wheel and 3 rules:
- Opposite colors look good together
- Neighboring colors look good together
- Don’t choose more than 4 colors
That’s all you have to remember to make a scene that’s pleasing to the eye. Now you’ve only got the issue of what colors you want in your scene. This largely depends on what emotions you want your scene to radiate. This is easy to overlook but really, really important. Do you want a happy scene? A somber one? Or do you really want to mix things up and capture both in one? Here are all the colors and what you need to know about them.
Red is a very intense, stimulating color and is sure to grab anyone’s attention. Be careful with this, as you don’t want to let it take over the whole room. When used in the right amount this one’s sure to add some energy and excitement to your scene.
When it comes to purple you’ve got draw a line between dark purple and light purple. Both leave a very different impression, so check if you’re using the right hue for your purposes. Dark purple shows luxury and creativity, making it a rich and sophisticated color with a flare of drama to it. This is a great second color, adding depth to your scene. Light purple, on the other hand, adds more of a calm feeling to the room.
Using blue can make your scene calm or cold. The lighter tints make your room serene and relaxed but might look uninviting. Try to mix in some warmer colors to avoid it. Darker shades of blue are almost certain to infuse your scene with a sense of sadness, so they’re ideal if your scene tells a tragic story.
Green is incredibly relaxing to the eye. It’s also the dominant color in nature, so everyone’s pretty familiar with it. If you want to make your scene look fresh, warm and comfortable this is the color to use.
This one is for all the happy places you want to make if you use it right. When used as a second color yellow is uplifting and welcoming. This happy hue adds energy to any scene, but using too much of it makes everything go south. Too much energy causes frustration and anger, destroying the positivity yellow’s supposed to add.
Are you a real daredevil? Always doing something risky? Well, here’s a new big risk for you. Orange adds a lot of energy, excitement, and enthusiasm to your scene. So much in fact that it’s better to stay away from using it if you’re a newbie. Almost exclusively used for exercise rooms, orange is a really explosive color.
If you’re looking for a color that adds rage and hostility to your scene, meet crimson. Using it is really ill-advised as it only adds discomfort to your scene. Unless you’re making a horror house you should stay far, far away.
Now, I have to admit, black isn’t technically a color. It will, however, immensely improve your scene when used in small doses. Black adds depth to your scene and underlines your color scheme, making it an invaluable color for your toolbox.
Grey, white and brown
These are to calm down your scene. If you use them as a dominant color your scene will look a bit dull, so only use them in small doses to add some resting places for your eyes.
That’s pretty much all you’ll need to select colors that fit your room. The only things left are shades, saturation, and proportion. These are pretty simple:
- Lighter colors make your room look bigger, darker colors have the opposite effect
- Saturation should only be used to highlight key parts in your interior. If you saturate everything your eyes won’t have a place to rest, eventually causing you to look away
- Never use two colors 50/50. Always have a dominant and a second color. Without this, your color scheme looks crowded.
The rhythm in your scene is determined by repetition, progression, transition, and contrast. Rhythm adds another layer to your interior and ties everything together in a nice harmony. It’s an absolute must-have for all your interior scenes.
Distribute your objects throughout your scene. This will even out the visual weight a viewer receives, making it easier to take in the whole thing. There a three ways you can distribute your objects, all of which require a focal point. This is an object that immediately grabs the attention by standing out. This can be by having a contrasting color, size or by having an accent light (more on this later). Examples of focal points are a painting, a fireplace or a bouquet of flowers.
Now on positioning your objects:
- Symmetry. This one’s a bit on the traditional side and not really used anymore. Using symmetry is like placing a mirror in the middle of the room, balancing every object on one side of the focal point by adding the same object to the other side.
- Asymmetry. Harder to make, but very much worth it as it adds life to your scene. Asymmetry relies on having one object balance out the other. Place a chair on the left side of the focal point for the cabinet you have on the right side. Try googling a few examples of asymmetry to get a bit of a feeling for it before attempting it yourself.
- Radial symmetry. Really just a fancy way of saying you rotate everything around your focal point. Flowers are a great example of radial symmetry. A table with chairs is another instance of radial symmetry.
This essentially means you take one element and repeat it throughout the scene. You can do this with anything, from colors to patterns to a specific object. The repetition in this picture comes from the striped pattern on the ceiling and the pillows. As you can see, it nicely ties the room together
Take an object in your room. Now, keep increasing one of its values. Color and size are easiest to use with this, as you’re already familiar with these. If you’re making a bedroom you could add different sized pillows. A kitchen naturally has progression in the form of different sized knives. Try using different levels of saturation in your colors as well, as this adds realism and depth.
Not for the faint-hearted, adding transition can be quite hard to pull off. The goal of this design technique is to gently guide your viewer’s eye from one point to another. To do this, you have to hide a (curved) line in your scene. Here the stairs fill this function, drawing your eyes from the base to the top. Experiment a lot with transition, as it’s a powerful tool in interior design.
Contrast is pretty self-explanatory. You take two contrasting elements and place them together in your scene. Whether you use two colors, two patterns or two sizes, contrast is bound to bring life to your scene. The power of contrast is that it stands out, so don’t use too much of it. This will make it look normal, ruining the effect you want to create.
I know, I know. Details can be boring and time-consuming. They do, however, set a great scene apart from a good one. You should use details to enhance the feeling you want in the room and to make its story clearer in a subtle way. Adding a small object here or changing a material there can make all the difference when it comes to making your scene photorealistic and interesting, changing it from nice to awesome.
Lighting is something that affects your whole scene. It determines where people look and has a huge effect on your color scheme. Here’s how to get it right.
The big light that makes most of your scene visible. You can make it come through a window or a light inside your room, just remember it should be spread out. This makes the features in your scene look softer and visually appealing. Try using a big area lamp when possible or make your lights bounce off the walls and ceiling to create soft shadows and eliminate dark corners. When choosing the brightness of your lights, choose a setting where your colors are seeable. Forget this and you might as well forget planning out your color scheme
This light is to make the shadows a bit less dark. Not as bright as the main light, but still slightly present. Aim for something you get on a clear night with a full moon. You can place this in your scene with a discrete light behind a drawer or cupboard.
These are for lighting your centerpieces. Use them with care, only where you really need to capture your viewer’s attention. Small lights on the wall or lighted candles are nice examples of accent lights.
And last but not least, try to add a hint of color to your light. Almost no light is completely white, so neither are the ones you make in Blender. Don’t overdo it, but a hint of color can greatly enhance the emotional effect of a scene.
That’s it for interior scenes. If you’re not sure what to do with your interior scene or think there’s something wrong with yours, just check if you’ve got everything discussed here right and see what needs fixing.
Good luck with your scenes,