Blender interior lighting test

Hi all!

Here’s some renders of a kitchen all done in Blender. Rendertimes between 7-9 minutes per frame at 1280x720.

  • One ray lamp in each window
  • Some lamps w/o shadow in different places to simulate bounces
  • One sun
  • No ambient occlusion

I’ve done this test to learn to light interiors in a realistic way without using external GI renders.

There’s also a short video at

I’d love to receive comments and tips on how to improve on render speeds



7-9 minute is insane!!, even on my quad 2.5 my interior renders are around 20-30 minutes and can easily get to the 3-5 hour range per frame.

Maybe I use ray tracing too much, but i am going for realism like you are.

I’m on a 2.16 Core 2 Duo iMac. Only 4 ray lamps in this scene. I went back and forth trying different setups ended up with this. The ray lamps are set to 5 samples wich produces a little noise in shadows…

Great job on this so far.
In the 20-30 min range the quality might improve drastically

Absolutely. But my main goal is animation. And for test purposes this is good enough for me. I’m satisfied with the result vs speed. I love the results Yafaray and Lux produces but it takes several hours per frame - especially at HD resolution. Hoping to achieve close to similar results with light tweaking in Blender internal.

When you say the quality might improve drastically do you mean less noisy or are there other improvements you have in mind?

This looks great. You did a very good lighting job. I’m also impressed by the speed of rendering.

Thank you, Ypoissant! I think lighting is a very important art to master. And difficult too. So it means alot to get positive feedback!


This attitude warms my heart. As you are only moving the camera, have you tried to do some baking? The stuff on the table looks a bit… radioactive.

could you show the setup you used for the light coming from the window? please?

Very Clever! Thank you for the tip.

The ray lamps are placed right outside the windows.

A clayrender with just the ray lamps. And a viewport capture with just the ray lamps.


I’m not so familiar with baking. I believe I than must UV unwrap every part in the scene and bake a “diffusemap” or something like that? I also believe I can’t bake reflections and speculars? Am I wrong?


tnx i see… but a ray lamp, is that just a normal lamp with rayshadows? and secondary, how do you make a clayrender?

th555: Yes a normal lamp with rayshadows. I also tinted it a bright blue and played a little with the falloff curve.

  • Make a claymaterial; whitish and low specularity
  • In Render layers there is a textfield called “Mat:” - write the name of the clay material here.


I Just meant upping the samples until the shadows fade very realistically, usually I can get away with 7-10 samples on ray lamps. I understand for animation that the speed is more critical than absolute realism. you are well on your way to a great animation.

This is great progress so far!

How are the fake caustics of the pink dishes done? Or are they the result of the soft raytraced shadows?

Also, it’s really interesting that you’re pushing BI. I assume one of the reasons you are doing this, is so that you have access to all the Blender internal render features like hair and fur. With that said, are you not tempted to place some hair or fur in the scene? Maybe a rug and/or one of thos little dishes with lemon grass growing out of it?

Ah, I like the look of those caustics on the table. A close up on the caustics would look good.

Yafaray doesn’t take me hours, and i’m running vista on a laptop with only 2gb ram. what method do you use? is it raytracing?

Jezzabetz: What method I use in BI or Yafaray?


Yeah it has to be unwrapped but you would not have to do it for everything, you could e.g. easily unwrap the floor and save a lot of time. If you have a plant or something thats too much effort to unwrap then let it trace. Spec and Reflection is view dependent and not really bakeable, there are environment maps but I am not talking about having the scene realtime, just lowering the rendertime. But rayshadows and AO eat a lot of cycles and are easily baked.