Cafe scene. I badly need help.

I’ve been using Blender for over a year now, and surely I should be better than I am. After seing some of the other pictures on this forum - It baffles me how you guys get so good. I’d really like to get good at indoor scenes. Any tips??

With regards to the picture - Be as critical as you want. It’s an old project, it deserves reviving. The DOF I did in the GIMP. Yafray took too long.

Thanks :slight_smile:


The human eye is naturally drawn to the brightest thing in the picture. So, whoosh! It goes right out the window. Glance at the picture and you’ll see what I mean.

The intended subject of the picture is, no doubt, the cup … but it’s a dimly lit afterthought in an oddly-tilted image. Your eyes study the out-of-focus tables in the distance, because they’re bright, and see nothing going on. So the picture has no story and no subject at all.

The eye does not like “featureless black” or “featureless white.” This picture unfortunately has copious amounts of both.

Think composition and then lighting. This is a poorly composed and poorly lit photograph, and it would be poor for the same reasons if it were a photograph.

Interestingly, the models are well-done… as best I can see them. That background set even looks interesting. But as the picture is composed and lit now, I have no idea what I’m supposed to be looking at… nor why.

Address the issues in this picture as though it were a photograph. Use only low-res animatic-style renders (quick 'n dirty) until the composition becomes a knockout… then the lighting.

Perhaps you should add a couple pieces of sugar, coffee stains or something simple like that to liven the scene up a bit.

The arrangement and the camera angle could be improved imo. It just seems like the coffee cup and the rings are falling out of the picture due to the angle in which they are.
Seek information about divide proportion, phi. It is used in art to create harmonic, pleasant to look at arrangements. Here’s some examples: Phi is only one way, there’s a lot more information about arranging on the net.

I like the effect that monochrome brings to the image.

Keep up good work.

Yeah, I’ll surely change the camera angle, and…Get rid, of the black and white?
The only reason I was tempted to do this was because at the moment I am uncapable of inserting anything that looks good to the outside of the window. Hints as how to go about that are welcomed :slight_smile:

As for the cup - I’ll shift more focus onto it, maybe with lighting, and definaltey with camera angle. But - There’s some SERIOUSLY dodgey checkering going on there, toward the bottom of the cup. It’s a slightly reflective surface, but there’s no checkers to reflect - What’s causing that?

Any suggestions as to camera angle?

I’ll see what I can do about adding some more features to the scene, but, I’m a pretty bad newbie. I’m limited not by imagination, but by ( the lack of ) skill. Which, is a damned shame :frowning:

Thanks…Carry on criticising. I’ll get to work.

Seriously, where to put this camera?

The rings are to be the focal point? Or do you want to draw the eye away from the rings - maybe to the cup - and then have the viewer see the rings as an afterthought?

Only idea for camera placement I have would probably mean more work. :slight_smile: Maybe put the camera more at the “head” of the bar, so it is going toward the distant focal point - maybe even have a door open with “Exit” above it?

Otherwise, I’d just straighten out the bar, so it doesn’t angle as drastically.

I think you could use the brighness of the windows, though. Maybe use them to silhouette some people at the tables. Maybe even couples.

BTW, I like the B&W. And I think there’s alot of potential in the composition. The models look fine. :slight_smile:


This is a poorly composed and poorly lit photograph, and it would be poor for the same reasons if it were a photograph.

I disagree. It looks to me very much like a finished piece. Very minimalistic and stylish, rather than an attempt at photorealism. I like the high contrast, and I think the bright window would look a bit silly if it was any dimmer. I also think the camera angle is fine the way it is, and I really like the DOF (normally I think this throws off the sense of scale, but not here) acting on the tabelcloths.

Sorry this isn’t very helpful, but I like the image the way it is. It’s got a definate style to it, and I’m surprised you’d want to change it.

Hi Jimmey,

Nice work so far. Regarding the scene overall, have you considered looking at other images or photos for ideas? My comments assume the cup is the focus of the image.

Take the attached image for example (from a random search against ‘cup’ ‘cafe’ at It has similar elements to your render. The composition focuses on the cup itself. The camera is pointing at the cup specifically. The image has bright lighting from the windows, yet it doesn’t overpower the scene because they aren’t in the shot only their reflections are (see sundialsvc4 comments).

Also everything except the cup is out of focus. You are already using depth of field, consider updating it so only the cup has focus.

Good luck.


Nice DOF, you didn’t totally overblow it like most people. I think the compositition is good and the scene is all right but the lighting is terrible, the windows are so bright and distracting. I don’t think you need to necessarily change the scene too much, try just adding more light to the area around the cup (point a spot at it or something) to see how it looks. You might end up needing blinds or something for the windows.

I like the effect that monochrome brings to the image.

Monochrome literally means “single color”. That’s if the image is only exactly black and white with no shades. The term you want is greyscale.

Thanks guys for all the replies.

I thought the DOF was a work a genius myself, the first time I’d actually used the GIMP for any of my Blender projects.

Thankyou for the kind words, Rhysy 2, but I am definately looking to improve it drastically, and I am trying to achieve photo realism.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I should remove the top upon which the cup is placed, and instead have it upon a table? That way it’d be easier to add to the scene something like a napkin, salt, vinegar, sugar, or some other things to those affects.

I’m at college at the moment, but when I get home, I’ll get to work straight away. I wont be able to post my results that quickly either, because the foreground and the background need to be rendered seperately ( 45 minutes each ); and then I need to manually add the DOF. I’ll post colour and ‘greyscale’ renders. In the mean time, keep criticising. I find that there’s a large number of flaws that I can see, but not personally pin point - And so criticisms they help alot.

Hopes If you’d like to look at the blend file, please just ask.

Thanks in advance.[/b]

Couple things I just noticed in looking at it again, with fresh eyes: :slight_smile:

  1. I think the chairs are too far apart. Most restaurants, including small cafes, try to get as many people in as possible. Most chairs are just a few inches apart, if they’re at the same table. In your scene, it looks like you could almost fit a whole other chair in between the chairs on the left side. Also, the first time I looked at it, I completely lost the table directly behind the cup. It gets lost in the shot visually, I think. Either remove it, and show the floor to give the picture some more depth, or place things on it to let the viewer know its there.

  2. I think the chairs are too orderly. Offset some a little bit, so they aren’t exactly parallel with the edge of the table.

  3. This one is really small - it seems like the table just to the right of the door is too deep. That is, it seems like the people would be sitting REALLY far apart from each other. It also seems like those tables are sitting at a slightly different angle than the ones to the left of the door. That could be a perspective issue, though.

  4. This one isn’t really a crit, just more of a couple ideas. I think the starkness of the room is good for the ambience, but you might consider putting some words (reversed of course) in the window - like the name of the place: “Heartbreak Cafe” or “Joe’s Coffee Shop” or “Alice’s Restaurant” whatever you like. Another thing - maybe raise the camera up, so you can see inside the cup - maybe half full, maybe empty, maybe full? Maybe even add another cup?

Notice all these are "I think"s. :slight_smile: I think the scene is good - I like it. I like how the story is left to the viewer to fill in. :slight_smile: All the elements of a story are there, but it isn’t defined in a neat little package.

That’s good art, IMHO. :slight_smile:

I’ve just made a revalation about this scene.

It’s screwed.

Changing the camera angle only emphasises the checkers - anyone know what’s causing, or more importantly, how to get rid of them?