19th century room with piano (update: July 23)

This is a room from a 19th century royal household, it’s a small piano-playing octogonal room that juts out from the corner of the building.
As of now, the scene is about halfway finished, meaning all major elements are there, now I go to add the details, like candles on the piano, a few music books, etc.
Input could be used on what other details to add, plus I am not sure about the colour of the walls, they are white now, but they could be some other colour. And critiques about the whole scene in general.

Rendered in Yafray, two passes, one with area lamps, another with the same area lamps acting as GI lights.


Originally started in the WIP section

The window sill (is that the right word?), the red stuff on both sides of the painting, near the windows, look very odd. I’m guessing its the window frame or then its a curtain? Anyway, looks like its reflecting too much.

The whole placing of the piano bothers me. Why is it in such a closed space? I allways though pianos would be in open spaces, as to let the music flow from the piano, and not bounce back immediately from the walls. Mind you, I’m far from an expert, so I could be wrong.

The legs of the piano, there are those wheels. Every piano has them I suppose? Maybe it’s just me, but I’m hoping it doesn’t roll away while I’m playing it. I undestand there are breaks on the wheels, but still it bothers me.

The pedals of the piano seem to me to be coming out of nowhere. Maybe even floating a bit over the floor?

Disclaimer: I know nothing about pianos, so if I’m talking out of my arse, just ignore me.

ignore the comment i made in the wip forum about the green on the seat needing to be darker, it looks fine now there is more detail in the scene.

you need to move you light source away from the leftmost window a bit, it’s casting shadows of the piano legs at completely different angles (look at the shadow of the rear and compare it to the shadow of the front left)

the walls look good white, i think they should stay, the window frames however look wrong, i think it’s more likely they would either be the same wood as you have in the corners of the walls, or painted to a gloss white finish.

The piece looks nice, but i think the mirrored texture on the furthest edge of the window frames is eye-catching and detracting from the overall composition i think.

also, the picture hanging on the wall feels very flat and lacking in depth…


I´m not sure where you want to go with this image, do you want to go
for photorealism or some “basic illustration”? I´d like to know, because
this way we can give you more focused critique in the direction you want to go.

But I go for broke - and say you´re attempting photorealism, and if so - heres my crits:

The image suffers from oversaturation, this is not due to the renderer
itself, but most likely from your way too colorful textures and lighting.

If you want to increase the “beliveability” (hm…Is there such a word?) then try to tone down the colors, you can “fool” yafray into
exposing with gentler colors if you make the lighting a bit more even so the contrasts are not so sharp. Maybe you did that in post-pro?

Another thing, working real hard on the floor texture will take this image up a notch or two, what you could do - is to add some “gentle” dirt-rinds
around the wall/floor-connection - this will make the image look more convincing. Go all the way!

I think the frames on the windows are a bit too thick, also it could benefit from an “incredibly small” barely visible bevelling. It might not be visible as such in the finished renderer - but Yafray will “antialias” better because of this!

The color match between the “wooden back” of the “wall-image” frame
seems a bit odd to me, maybe thats just personal preference…or the oversaturated textures that makes all the difference, play a little with it and see what you can come up with.

Looking at it as a whole scene, the top half could be improved.

The amount of wall visible over the painting is tiny, which makes it look like the top of the scene is cut off. It could look better if there were about the same amount of white wall visible all around the painting.

The vertical wood moldings at the top of the scene all look like they are at the same depth. Then further down the scene, they are at different depths. Maybe the lighting could be changed at the top of the scene to make the changes in depth more apparent. Something like making the foreground darker and leaving the background light.

Indeed this is well on its way to being a great image!

What seems to stand out to me most of all are the windows, not just the thickness of the bordering there but also the brightness and the lack of an outside world.

A simple plane with a blurred photo of trees or something could be placed outside, for example. This would both help cut down on the extreme brightness from those regions while also helping the viewer’s eyes focus on the main subject here, which is the piano. It might also add to the realism of the piece if it is your intent to be photorealistic.

Some other observations:

There seem to be some odd specular highlights along the edges of the walls where the molding meets the wall. Perhaps this can be attributed to composited render passes. It might be something to work on as you near the final render.

The painting itself seems almost too perfectly facing the viewer. Slight imperfections can enhance the verisimilitude of a piece and make it near imperceptibly more interesting. A slight angle there and possible futher bevelling of the painting’s edges might help finalize that area, which is likely important in this image since it is so centrally located for the viewer to regard.

Since this is likely a lower sample render for test render purposes, possibly amplified through jpeg artifacts, you are probably aware of the AA issues present here, particularly along the top piano edges.

Compositionally, this might be made tighter and more complete by showing less of the right and left sides of the outermost walls and showing a little more of the upper wall and window region, if the current modeling is conducive to that.

Right now, the position and angle of the camera appears to be from a relatively high place, possibly a staircase. This can sometimes over-emphasize or over-de-emphasize all visible proportions.

Some things to think about anyway :slight_smile:

Keep up the good work!


It’s a nice start. Here is my opinion :

  • The light is white everywhere. It’s a common issue with AO. You should add some coloured arealights (or dupliverted spots) on the coloured surfaces to simulate radiosity. I think it is especially needed on the floor and on the window borders.
  • Your raytraced reflections and speculars are white almost everywhere. It make your scene looks like everything is in plastic. Those could be made more yellow.
  • Everything is so clean. There is no dust, no scratches, etc.

So the modelling is good, but the texuring and lighting could be made better, more “alive”

Thanks for all the replies! Focused critique, like the forum name, I like that!
Some of my remarks:

RJii: I got the idea from a real location, where the wife of the ruler had s similar small octogonal room to play piano and paint, its a room for the entertanimet of one, not of many. In such a “house” (ie: castle) there would of course be a ball room, or concert hall, or something like that anyways.
The wheels: the sheer mass of a grand piano prevents it from rolling away, and usually the wheels make dents in the floor. The pedals ARE floating above the ground, they hang from the bottom of the piano, you can see the attachment from closer.

I’m still having problems with the windows, they have different colours, but I didn’t want them to be any thinner, since the walls themselves are thick (60cm right now).

pld: moved the texture, hopefully it doesn’t seem to repeat now.

joOngle: yes, photorealism. The colours are less saturated now. I’ll see what I can do about the floor.

coderdave: I decided to change the whole composition, the walls can be seen all the way up to the ceiling. And the foreground walls can’t be seen any more.

RobertT: outside world: done. The odd highlights are from the GI calculation, where the thin edge of the mouldings cast light onto the walls, howvere they are way too bright compared to how thin the edge casting the light is… some Yafray speciality. AA artifacts: final render will be better quality of course. Composition: changed, plus the camera is a bit lower.

-efbie-: I mentioned that I used Yafray with a GI solution (basically, GI is radiosity on a more advanced level). Seems that the colour bleeding isn’t that apparent, I did composit two passes, so maybe the lighting pass sort of “overwrites” the GI pass. Too clean: you’re right, those are details that I should add.

Todays image:

  • Some changes not mentioned yet: the candlesticks, music book, a new drawer/table in the background, of a different furniture style. Plus wooden carvings in the back on the walls, which I modelled by hand, though you can barely see them anyways.
    -The picture frame is different, the gold leaf is now on the inside and outside borders. I have no idea how to make the painting less flat though. t is situated in such a place that it doesn’t receive any specular highlights from the lamps.

The windows aren’t final yet, I still need to find the right material. And I don’t know why only the area light in the left window seems to create shadows, and not the one in the other window.

NOTE: this is a test render, with only the area light pass, I didn’t have time to render out the GI pass as well. So please do not commment on the lighting in this image!!


Already in this one pass it is immediately better IMHO. You know, it looks so real even just like this :slight_smile:

Now we are in the room and no longer so distant from the subject; it’s nearly in reach. It’s somewhat “warmer” and more invitational through this proximity adjustment.

Great work on the ceiling by the way! :smiley: Glad to see it! It complements the floor and frames the subject very effectively I think.

I look forward to seeing the next pass. While compositing, don’t hesitate to adjust levels/contrast and opacity values on the layers to achieve optimal results.


it is far better :slight_smile:
for the color bleed : I’m not sure, but i think that Yafray doesn’t do any color bleed for materials with raytraced reflections. So you should render a pass with only diffuse :slight_smile:

Okay, here’s the final version. Though I still need the time to render it at higher resolution and higher quality.

Changes: dirt map on floor around walls, dirt on cushion, cushion is depressed in the middle, some material tweaks.


your shadows are still going off in all directions, they should all be going the same way

Now just stand back and take a look at that Zsolt. Take a long look. Then look at the original in the top post.

What an amazing transformation has occurred!

Do increase the AA substantially so the final image is done justice. I wouldn’t care if it takes half a day to render or renders overnight. This is one of those great images where the wait is so totally worthwhile.

This is one of the most beautiful scenes I have seen done with Blender and Yafray. I hope you are excited by what you have created here. You certainly deserve to be. I’m excited by what I see here. It is no longer just an aspiring photorealistic piece: it is a work of art.

Thanks for being open minded and letting us help you. Keep up the awesome work!


This may sound very nitpicky (and probably is, but this is the Focused Critique Forum, so I decided to post it anyway :wink: ) but the landscape through the windows looks noticeably like an actual photograph of a landscape. I think that it would look better if the landscape was less in focus. Also on the top of the piano, on the rear half, it looks a little to “rough” to me. Truly an astounding image, though.


very nice so far. just a few construction details.

as you seem to be going for photo real here, the outside is very bright, therefore i think you would see more defined light source and less ambient light. perhaps.



My tips:

  • use another background image, this one is really meaningless, also it makes me feel like the room is floating at a great height (possible, but not helping to feel it real).
    maybe a picture of a french garden or a lazy river (look at the stunning surrondings of loire castles in france) makes a better mood giving more personality to the work.
  • I agree with the others about the shadows on the pavement: they have different directions! (especcialy the wheel on the right)
  • About light: if you take a shot pointing to the windows the result must be oversaturated windows with dark room (where not direclty lit…) try making a real photo…
    I prefered the light setting without GI, it seemed more natural.
  • Materials: window borders have maybe a oversaturated wood color (and it’s the SAME pattern in both windows!!!).

Some minor things that could be improved:

Above and below the windows is a vertical seam in the wall. It’s lighter gray on one side and darker gray on the other.

On the ceiling beam that is along the right wall, there is a light horizontal streak that looks out of place. It might be a refection, but it’s not apparent where it is coming from.

On the bottom right of the scene, on the floor is a faint vertical shadow, but I can’t tell what it is a shadow of.

Other than those minor points, it looks nice. Your hard work is showing.

First of all, thanks for all the replies, kind words, and of course suggestions!

A word on the shadows: this is diffuse light, coming from the window, ie: all shadows are cast from the direction of the window. If it were direct sun light, then the shadows would be parallel, but then only a very small part of the room would be lit.
Think about it a bit: The shadow of the right leg can’t actually point in any direction other than a source of light! Which in this case is the left window. The light from the right window doesn’t give it a shadow, as the top of the piano blocks the light.

coderdave: The seams on the wall, the reflection and the shadow are the result of the rendering engine, you could call them artifacts. However, I don’t see why they detract from the image, I mean when I look at a photo or walk into a room, I don’t look at the wall, and ask “What’s that seam doing there?” or “Hey, what’s that relection on the ceiling?”. :slight_smile:

The final image: changes: tweaked dirt map on chair, different image outside, correct wood grain direction and thicker image frame, less saturated window border, plus other small things, and some post-pro touch-ups. The rendertime was 2 h, 40 min for the GI pass and 50 min for the area light pass. Whenever I have time, I’ll do a real high-res version, for printing, etc, but not now, as I’m going on vacation on Monday.


VERY nice, a few crits I have though are that the pillar outside the left window is a bit distracting and blurry (maybe get rid of it). Second, the cousion on the piano stool seems a bit fake to me. Other than that, if even that, I woulden’t change a thing if I were you.