Minimalist Interior - Cycles Practice

Hello there! I finally got myself a computer that can use cycles effectively and made this to get used to familiarize myself with the render engine a bit. I kind of like the scene and have come to you to help me improve it! Critique it as much as you can, it is appreciated. Thank you!

Alright…looks pretty good so far, but I’ll go ahead and put my two cents in.

First off, I would try to retouch the material on the chair padding. It’s a little bit too reflective and looks like a cross between leather and plastic. The light needs to diffuse across the surface, which you can achieve by lowering the hardness on your shader. You could also try subsurface scattering, but that tends to get messed up when rendering with Cycles. Also, I know that you might not be done, but your (windows?) take away from the scene. If you’re going to keep this render strictly experimental, I would choose white as your world color. Third, it seems you don’t have ambient occlusion turned on. While it’s not exactly necessary, ambient occlusion always makes a huge difference in interior scenes, and is something Cycles can handle very well. Finally, is that supposed to be a mat on the floor? It isn’t very clear right now.

Thanks Jake. I will definitely follow your suggestions. Originally the mat on the floor was meant to be a fuzzy carpet but I can’t seem to figure out strand rendering build that came out recently for cycles so I just left it as a plain mat. I’ll have an updated render posted soon.

Edit: Here’s the updated render with .60 Ambient Occlusion factor (It’s much brighter but I feel like I’ve lost a lot of shadows) and a white world color. Unfortunately I couldn’t see any difference when changing the Roughness, which I’m assuming is the Cycles equivalent of hardness, of the chair shader. Was I changing the wrong setting?

Hmmm… your original does look better. About the ambient occlusion, since you are rendering with Cycles, then you can change the distance of the ambient occlusion. By default it is set to 10, which is much too bright in small scenes. I would increase it to around 100. If that still doesn’t work, then simply dim the light a little bit to compromise. That’s probably what you’ll end up doing anyway.

On to the padding issue… try changing the surface type of the material. I think it is originally set to diffuse BSDF? Try setting it to Translucent BSDF.

I’ve been messing around a lot with the ambient occlusion and lights in the scene and unfortunately I lowering the strength of the lights doesn’t help at all because (as far as I know) the only way to make the world color white is to have the strength at 1.00 and that is causing the world be the dominant light source in the scene. With ambient occlusion added on top of that the actual lights in the scene aren’t even needed. What am I doing wrong here?

I’ll work on the padding in the meantime. Thanks again Jake.

Edit: I played around with the Translucent BSDF shader on the padding and it just made them look see-throuh (obviously) and I couldn’t really get anything that looked ‘right’. I simply disabled the glossy shader to get this result, but honestly I prefer the plastic-y look because I think it gives it more character than just a plane diffuse shader.

Excellent! I liked how you integrated the world color very well with the lighting from your previous image, they almost match now. I don’t know exactly why the ambient occlusion isn’t working for you, did you try the distance factor? Either way, the lighting looks just about right for the scene now.

Yeah, your right about the padding on the chairs, they’re better where they were. I would just play around with the nodes a bit, and dim down the reflectivity if there’s any way to do that.

Something I didn’t mention before but noticed earlier: you might want to look into that fluorescent light on the ceiling. It looks very flat, couldn’t tell if it was a texture or not. You might want to make them stand out a bit more.

Well, here’s my final render. I compromised between keeping my precious shadows and using the environmental lighting. I removed the fluorescent light because honestly it looked like crap and it wasn’t needed. Thank you, Jake, for all of your suggestions. They definitely helped bring needed light to my shadowy first render. Here’s my minimalist interior!