Furniture renders are often mistaken for product photos thanks to their remarkable quality and realism. To the untrained eye, there is no difference between a photo and professional 3D visualization. Though the same can’t be said about production speed and workflow.

So when a photoshoot gets canceled yet again because of unexpected issues, furniture retailers and manufacturers go straight to 3D product rendering companies. Luckily, they always save the day and produce CG images just in time. Actually, experienced retailers don’t even wait for the prototypes to be produced — they get perfect furniture renders even earlier, and manage to find customers from the very beginning of the promotional campaign.

We owe this amazing photorealistic quality to the CGI power. How is that even possible? Let’s see how 3D technologies allow furniture retailers and manufacturers to create top-notch marketing imagery.

The 3D rendering process involves many stages, which are also typical for professional photography. One major difference though is that 3D furniture renders are made with the help of software, whereas photography requires the money and time-consuming organization of a photoshoot.

Let’s now dig deeper into the process to understand how professional 3D rendering artists create CG images of such startling realism.

#1. Smart Lighting System

Lighting System in CG Renders

When it comes to photorealism, lighting is vital for avoiding the flatness of two-dimensional product images. It creates depth, sets the ambiance, and highlights the forms and textures of objects. To build an intelligent lighting system, experienced 3D artists use the following tools:

  • balance of light and shadow: an essential factor for any realistic picture, since lighting depends on shadow, and shadow cannot exist without light. The natural positioning of shadows according to light sources quite literally ensures the realism of a 3D furniture render;
  • tonal range of lighting is important for building the color harmony between pure white and absolute black. A correct choice of tones defines light dispersion, softness, and contrasts while forming a balance between tonal extremes;
  • natural and artificial lighting depends on the light source which can be the sun, moon and stars, or electricity, or a combination of two. Different light sources are the main creators of ambiance for furniture renders;
  • directions of light to a great extent defines the realism of 3D product renders. 3D artists tend to use the three-point lighting system, which consists of key light, fill light and backlight, each point has its angle, focus, and function.

A well-thought lighting system makes 3D furniture renders look organic and sets a specific mood for any product image.

#2. Natural Textures and Materials

Product 3D Render for Bathroom Furniture

Authentic presentation of objects’ materials is vital for creating truly photorealistic furniture renders. For that purpose, experienced 3D artists avoid impeccable-looking textures and materials — they are ”too good to be true”. Instead, CGI specialists use 3D rendering software to create small imperfections which make the beauty of an object. For instance, wear spots on the velvet surface of a vintage armchair make the image look more rich and classy.

In fact, 3D visualization software has gone so far that 3D artists create photorealistic product close-ups highlighting materials’ quality. They study materials samples, look into their properties and deliver gorgeous 3D furniture renders using 3ds Max + Vray or Corona Renderer software.

#3. Photographic Approach to Composition and Viewpoints

Composition in CG Renders

Photography and realistic product rendering are very similar to each other in terms of composition techniques. Every shot has the main focus and accents, while the composition combines the following elements:

  • camera angles emphasize certain elements of the scene that will attract viewers’ attention the most. Oftentimes, a thorough demonstration of furniture benefits requires a few views — from different angles;
  • framing brings focus to the main subject by blocking other parts of the picture with something in the scene. It also helps to create context and add layers to the image. For instance, in the lifestyle 3D renders furniture is often framed by geometric lines of walls, floor, and ceiling or by other interior elements;
  • focal length prevents viewers’ eyes from aimlessly wandering around a picture and leads them to the “main hero” of the shot;
  • positioning is inseparably connected with camera angles. 3D artists adjust the position of a camera before changing angles, be it a view from above or a low-angle shot.

So to create a professional composition, 3D artists learn the basics of photography art. For instance, most CGIFURNITURE 3D specialists are professional photography and painting course graduates which helps them create the best views for 3D furniture renders.

#4. Accurate Depiction of Scale and Size

Product CGI for Desk Lamps

The easiest way to display furniture dimensions is to compare the piece to familiar objects that everyone knows. Want to showcase the dimensions of a kitchen cupboard? Put it beside the standard single-door fridge, and the customer will easily imagine the size of the cupboard.

For that purpose, 3D artists create lifestyle furniture renders with different props surrounding the main product — just like photographers do. For furniture renders, our specialists build appropriate environments such as interior 3D scenes to depict the dimensions of the objects in the most accurate way.

#5. Detailed 3D Scenes

Photorealistic Product Image for Gym Furniture

Another remarkable thing about furniture renders is a photorealistic background. CG artists can select the best environment option, and create scenes of striking realism and professional style. This helps to highlight the features of the product and demonstrate its usability in a real-life context.

They pick the perfect decor for the interior set or fill the exterior scene with people, cars, shops, plants, etc. For outdoor furniture renders, CGI artists create realistic landscapes with all the elements necessary — warm golden sand of the beach and turquoise waters sparkling in the sun, or a mysterious forest full of lush greenery.

Download CGIFURNITURE price guide and learn the costs of top-tier 3D visualization projects of different scales!

product rendering price

As a result, many major furniture companies have switched to product CGI without customers even realizing it. For those who try 3D get photorealistic quality, as well as boundless creative options, fast process, and easy workflow. Moreover, furniture renders do not require photoshoots, transportation, or decor purchase. And unlike photography, CGI allows for adjustments after the production process — which is a life savior, when the client changes his mind about the image concept.

Want to get photorealistic product images for your future marketing campaign? Contact CGIFURNITURE 3D product rendering services and get top-notch visual materials that will sell your furniture.

Valerie Adams

Content Writer, Editor

Valerie loves writing about CGI in advertising, product design development, and swears by 3D printing technology. In her free time, she enjoys attending music festivals and art events around Europe.

3D renders are the result of the 3D rendering process, which comes in the form of 2D imagery. 3D renders are divided into two types — they can be photoreal or feature non-photorealistic elements. Furniture renders are 3D models of furniture pieces turned into 2D product images. They can be on the white background or in a lifestyle scene.

Photorealistic product 3D rendering is the process of turning 3D models and scenes into 2D imagery on a computer with the help of 3D software. The result of this process is photorealistic images of products that are indistinguishable from photos.

Lighting can ensure the photoreal look of a 3D render and plays a huge role in establishing the atmosphere of an image. Modern 3D software allows for setting any kind of lighting accurately, both natural and artificial. There are such types of lighting in 3D: ambient, area, directional, volume, point, and spot.

3D scene is an environment created in 3D software that is later rendered into a 2D background for an image. For example, for furniture 3D models, 3D scenes are often roomsets with different interior designs.

In 3D rendering terminology, texture is a raster graphics applied to a surface of a three-dimensional object. Texturing is needed for simulating colors and relief on a 3D model. Materials are the properties of a 3D model such as transparency, reflectiveness, light absorption, etc. Textures and materials work in a combo so they need to match each other completely for a photorealistic effect.

3 replies
  1. Chris Pederson
    Chris Pederson says:

    Thank you for the tip to show off furniture next to some objects that people are familiar with. People will be skeptical of a render because they don’t know if it will show them the true size. Having a reference on screen for people to understand can help avoid this step altogether.


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