Chococycles Interior

Hello everyone, this is a cycles archviz study that i’m working on, i’ve used the free interior scene from Chocofur to test cycles materials and illumination, i think its looking good but i want to improve it more, any advices? The render took +4 hours in CPU (i7 3820, Manjaro Linux) with 4096 samples (still noisy), there’s 15 light sources (1 sun, 6 IES lamps, 8 meshlights) and one HDRI.

Looking at the original scene…
This one I guess:
I’m not sure what exactly you want to improve.

Some more or less obvious things in your render:

-Floor is imho too glossy
-sitting on the chairs would crush my legs between chair and table
-whats going on outside

I don’t really like the “high fov I want to show everything camera angle” It’s better to make more renders with a smaller field of view angle but more focused.
I probably would not show the window/door on the left, but let the light more bleed inside from that direction.

Render time sounds fine, high render times are to be expected with interior scenes.

You have the original, compare the scene to that if it is a study.

“Render time sounds fine, high render times are to be expected with interior scenes.”

Last time I made a 4 hour render on an interior was in 1994 on a 100 MHz DX-4 CPU with 48 Mb of RAM.
It is definitely not fine.


  • yes i’ll decrease the reflections
  • haha i didnt notice it before, but yeah its very close to the table, since i didnt made any change to the 3d models (except polycount), this is a problem in the original scene too
  • You mean making the HDR background more noticiable?
    As for the FOV, i’ve replicated one of the original screenshots camera angle to compare the two, and to show most of the shader/lighting interations at the same time. Indeed its not a pretty shot if we think like a photography.

Its a sudy but i dont want to just replicate the original, but make a better render if possible, that why i’m asking for tips/advices :yes:
As for the render time, its very dificult to achieve a faster render time in a cycles interior like that, other render engines are way faster. My machine its not that weak (8 threads and 16GB RAM), but my GPU is aging now (GTX 550 Ti), the speed is only milisseconds fast than the CPU.
if you have any tips so i can speed up this render, please share.

You could lower the bounces per lamp especially for the smaller or rather less important ones. Enable multiple importance sampling for every lamp (May appear slower at first, but could be better at high samples and with the amount of lamps)

Most of the cycles features to improve render speed come with a tiny trade in image quality, Honestly i would be fine with render times of 4-8h and not do any trades.
+4hours sounds ok for rendering the final image overnight. Never underestimate the time tweaking the scene for better rendertimes.

Ok, another day another render:

These are the changes:

  • Less glossy floor
  • Shorter chairs
  • Glass added in doors and windows, and in front of the picture below window, the wall picture is not glossy anymore
  • Other glass stuff added
  • Kichen drawer material changed to a dark glossy wood instead of black diffuse
  • HDR environment changed to a sunny sky, the previous one had buildings and light coming from bellow, map resolution increased to 512
  • Sun position rotated, and sun lamp is now attached to the environment (using the sun position addon)
  • Light portals added in each light entrance
  • Rendered with branched path tracing instead of the default one, no caustics, still some fracles, but much less samples were used (1764 for glossy was the higher value), no clamp was used.
  • Pixel filter lowered for a sharper image
  • While this one was rendered at 1280x720 instead of 1920x1080, the render time was longer, like +6 hours, i believe it was because of the glass, but i liked the result

Whats the better way to render the HDR environment, which or without color data? i didn’t tried without, so there’s these blueshy look in some spaces.

I’ve lowered the light path bounces to just 4 max, but i confess i didn’t tried to lower the bounce value in each lamp, but all of then already have multiple importance enabled.

Last (really) iteration, my focus in this one was render time optimization, and i’m happy with the results, lets see the changes:

  • No more sun lamp, i’ve configured the IBL correctly now (i hope so), the HDRI does not cast color rays anymore, and is casting light from the right places, in the node setup i’ve put a light path node to mix the color data with the non-color data, this way the colors are still visible to the reflection and camera rays.
  • No multiple importance sampling for the small light sources, little render speed gain;
  • HDR map resolution increased to 1024
  • Small changes in the white materials ( they’re at 0.8 color white instead of 1)
  • The glass shader is now more physicaly correct, this is more noticiable in the glasses over the front table
  • Overall light bounces increased, but decreased for the IES lamps (from 256 to 4)

For this one i spend some time in a trial and error for the best branched path tracing values, now it has fewer samples than before, but with less noise, the resolution is higher (1920x1080) and the render speed was 5 hours, like 16% faster. There’s still some fireflies in the glossy shaders, i’m sure if i increase glossy samples they will be gone.

If you guys/girls have other tips i’ll be happy to listen :yes:

You could very well delete most of the bottom staircase, it’s invisible from here

I think you might have misunderstood what the “color” / “non-color data” switch in the Image Texture node does…

Cycles uses color management and helps you to implement a linear workflow. To do so, it assumes that 8-bit color textures are in sRGB color space and it automatically “linearizes” them on opening. For diffuse image textures this will mostly be exactly what you want, but this automatism can be problematic for textures that are in fact data - “disguised” as color. Especially normal maps come to mind, which use very specific color codes for normal strength and direction. If Blender would linearize those color-coded data, the normal map would give a wrong result.

Therefore the user needs a possibility to tell Blender: “Yes, you’re right, this is an 8-bit color texture. But please don’t change the color space on this texture for once, as this is indeed color-coded data with a very special meaning.” And that’s exactly what the “non-color data” setting is for. It just tells Blender to keep that texture in whatever color space it is in and not to convert it into linear color space. This is not to be confused with a color vs. black and white thing, as it sounds you do.

If you use an HDR file as image texture, that setting is afaik without effect, as HDRIs will most likely be 32-bit images. On those Blender assumes that they are in linear color space to begin with, so it leaves them unchanged anyway.

I tend to agree with LiquidHelix: For a daylight scene with that many additional lights it’s not quite realistic that the staircase is so dark or that in general the difference between light an shadow is so harsh.

Thanks for the explanation, i really misunderstood how the non-color data actually worked. I was following Greg Zaal’s article about proper HDR lighting, using the multiply node between the image output and the strength input, but i was doing the light path trick in the wrong nodes (between the image output and background color input). About the dark areas, it’s really too dark, that was caused by the strength multiply, which give me a good light/shadow from the HDR sun (so o could get rid of the sun lamp), but darkened other areas. I’ll do some more tests and post the results here.

I’m baaack…
As adressed by you people, the scene was too dark, the image had to much lightning differences from one side to the other. In this iteration my focus was fix the lightning, as the HDR results wasn’t getting better after some tweeking, i’ve decide to replace it with a Sky Texture node, and bring the sun lamp back, using the sun position addon again (awesome tool btw). There’s also some changed materials, one thing that i’ve noticed while working on this render, is that its never finished, there’s always room for improvements.


  • No more HDR, replaced by Sky Texture with Sun lamp;
  • Better wood material, with a more noticiable bump and less glossy;
  • Metalic materials now have fresnel;
  • Cook top hood less glossy;
  • Table lamp material now emit light by itself instead of been just a glass cover for the lamp inside, this helped a lot with the fireflies;
  • Chair plastic less glossy and with subsurface scattering.

Please tell me what ya think :slight_smile:

I like this, The Render Materials and Quality look pretty good…
Comments related to my own personal feelings (It’s your scene, so don’t let me unnecessarily change your story):
1: The window in the kitchen to the left of the stair well looks impractical.
a: You could extend the height to just above the backsplash, and it wouldn’t look as impractical, however it would be pretty large.
i: I understand that this is inline with the one on the middle stair landing, so you have some layout challenges to work with.

The other two comments are a little more minor:

The wine glasses seem too symmetrically bunched, and they unnecessarily grab my eye’s attention, spread them out with a slight bit of random location, and it will flow.

The range hood looks good, but I’m not quite sold on its material.
It has the right color of stainless steel, however stainless does have a grain that is not quite coming through here, and it has an almost oily reflection, that will reflect a somewhat weird color ramp. small dark smudges can go a long way to sell it, because stainless smudges really easy.

I hope this helps…
great work so far.

One other thing, that I just noticed.
I actually like the previous shot (the darker one) for the hood better, and it shows you that you need some lighting help under the stairs.

Somehow I’m still not sold on the lighting situation. TBH, I think your first render was the best one in that regard…
You have a bright sunny day and the sun is shining directly into the room (through huge glass doors and several additional windows) from a high angle - around midday, it seems. The room itself has a glossy light wood floor and shiny white walls. IMHO the whole room should be flooded with bouncing light from the amount of energy the sun pumps into it.

I have a feeling you sacrificed the light bounces in favour of the render time - and may have lost what from my understanding is essential to this Breukelen House: The feeling of lightness and open space.

These seem to be photographs of the real Breukelen House: Link.
See how bright this is? I think an arch viz render should try to capture this as closely as possible.

After looking at the Arch Daily photos, I seem to think the rise boards in your render may be solid on the 2nd stair set, and that would block a lot of light too, that would explain the the need for light that I was seeing compsitionally speaking. If you are struggling with the right kind of overall lift, try blending in some AO. It really helps keep your existing light setup, but fakes in the rest pretty good (This should keep your samples times down - Worth experimenting with anyways).

As always, I hope this helps.

A little AO might indeed help. Another little trick is to modify the wall material so that it is registered as a pure AO material after the first bounce:

Here is a little test render of that scene with both said changes: Link (I won’t attach the image as I don’t want to visually pollute your thread with my renderings…). That render was done in well under 30 minutes on my ancient GTX 680 and is already low on noise (1500 samples). I didn’t bother to enable the artificial light sources in that scene, though.

However, the AO-bounce-walls-trick tends to give a weird greyish tint in reflective surfaces and therefore needs a thorough cost-benefit analysis.

I think you’ve progressed nicely. I like your last example the most.

A few things:

  • I think the scene could use some color. Maybe its just me, but I think it would pop more. The stainless steel range would pop more having a wall with contrasting colors behind it, for example.
  • The chairs look too shiny to me
  • Window on back wall just shows blue sky, maybe a tree would add some contrast? Not sure, but I don’t care for just the blue sky there.


So many answers since the last time I’ve looked at this thread, thanks guys, i’ll read calmly, make some sugested changes and post the results :yes: