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Digital Set dressing - why, what and how


Hubert Knoblauch writes:


Realism in Urban or city 3d scenes can be broken into 2 components in 3d, Photorealistic rendering, and Realism as a representation of the real world which establishes believability in a 3d scene. Often when all the technical skill and know-how in the rendering side fails to produce a “realistic” render, the issue has more to do with the “believability” of that scene on a subconscious level and not the technical capability.

For this reason, correct set dressing that is representative of the real world is more important than often perceived and should not be left as an afterthought in the 3d scene layout process.

Believable urban detail should include real-world items and utilities categorically:
Mechanical (including Ac, ducting, and vents shafts), electrical, plumbing, waste, waste collection, Signage, and the most prominent, the built environment. I find that detailing a scene completing one category at a time ensures a higher degree of believability than adding ad-hock items on a whim.

The digital set dressing is a Blender Format pack of over 65 3d assets that targets exactly this issue. It, therefore, includes all the aforementioned “core categories” of detail mentioned in the above paragraph. See the video:

What is it?

It’s a combination of over 65 3d models, some created by poly modeling, others (specifically in the waste category) created with the use of photogrammetry. See the product link.


Over a period of 3 months, I took an enormous amount of reference images on my walk to work every day. I distilled these images into groups, identifying the “common denominators” – objects that seemed to be in all photos or at least the majority. These then became my 3d categories.

For the waste category, I took 1864 photogrammetry photos in one weekend, and processed and cleaned them over the next month to represent the waste category.

The pack will continue to grow and be supported by uploading extensions to the existing categories, as well as creating new categories of urban detail

About the Author

Hubert Knoblauch

Hubert Knoblauch is by profession a product designer using blender for viz, in his off time he loves creating 3D environments

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