Here is a piano I modelled, rendered in a dark scene because I thought it looked cool. Any comments appreciated, but I was mainly wondering if it is a bit too dark. I’m not planning on spending much more time on this project, but still any crits are useful. Here is the image, which is quite large…

Yes, overall it’s too dark and lacks contrast that would help define the form of the subject. My suggestion is to move that lamp forward and make it a practical light source for the scene, shining down the front of the piano in a shaped pool of light. That way you can have both definition and the mood of a dimly-lit nook.

If I learned something from studiyng night scene it is: even if your scene is the darkest scene in the world, it must have some parts lit.
It create contrast and it sweep away even the slightest dull feeling in your rendering.

In other words make your scene as dark as you want but give light to some selected parts of it.

Thanks for such quick replies, I’ll see what I can do with it.

Here is an updated version. I moved the lamp forward, changed the lamp a bit, and fiddled around with the lighting. I also changed the camera angle slightly. I have tried to create more contrast, although this scene has proved fairly difficult considering pianos are black and fairly reflective with that finish on (not sure now why I didn’t do a simpler light scene). This is not going to be the final render, because something has gone a bit odd with it especially around the key area. I was just wondering if this was going in the right direction. I’ve already spent far too long trying to get the scene right, but any crits are appreciated.

Here’s a link to a higher res version

I’ve been fiddling around with the lighting and ao, and I think there is now more contrast. I also changed the camera angle slightly and changed the lamp. This isn’t my final render - something weird has happened around the keys (probably too reflective), but I was just wondering if I was heading in the right direction. Any comments appreciated.


Definitely better, but perhaps now too much contrast.
I’d tone the light down a bit, and try to soften the shadows.

Ditto on the overly contrasty comment, the piano case looks fine but the keys are too white, maybe tone them down a bit. And the ultra-symmetry of the lamp placement isn’t really contributing much to the image, it pulls the eye very strongly to the center and sort of holds it there, makes the shadowed portions seem even darker. It also tends to make the sheet music a visual focus but there’s not a lot going on there, it’s just a very, very flat plane – maybe have it sag a bit like real paper would?

BTW, aren’t you missing an octave, or thereabouts? My piano has 7 clusters of 3 black keys, yours has six.

Damn, you’re right. I think I’m missing an octave. Whoops.

I’ve added in an octave and so the composition seems slightly different. I made the sheet music less flat, and I’ve made it all look less symmetrical. While fiddling around with the lighting the background seems a little brighter, I’m not sure if this is good or bad for the contrast. The keys are now less reflective. This is still not a final render, quite low res, but I’m hoping I’m getting closer to the point when I can make one.


you might know this but your missing a foot petal, it’s just the “practice” petal, but I have never seen a piano without one. and because I have an upright piano almost just like this, it is really bothering me.

as for the lighting the piano is still lacking much contrast, have you tried changing the wall color? also it would really help it to change/add a darker carpet/wood/floor color/texture to the ground, as it just kinda gets lost in the “wall” color. hope that makes sense.

Atemporalskill: The practice pedal is a reletively modern addition to pianos. Many older pianos only had the left and right pedals to use.

what about to add there some nice brand/name/mark of the piano (it might bring some more light) + maybe some spot halo light that would light part of the piano (like from the window)…+ maybe one more scores paper + a chair?
but nice progress

I’d shift the camera to give a nice side view, looking straight onto the piano is a very boring view, and will look overly symmetrical not matter how much extra stuff you add to the image.

Ok, interesting suggestions, I think I’ll put a window to the side of the piano and I’ll texture the floor and walls. I’ll fiddle around with angles, and possibly post a few different angles. Thanks for all the comments, it’s really helping me take it further - it’s interesting how 1 hour of modelling then results in about 4 hours of lighting and composition.

It’s called sheet music, not “score paper”.
You don’t play Guitar Hero on a real piano…

I’m impressed at the improvement from one to the next! My only input would be… maybe make the ink on the sheet music more black? It seems gray and faded; more contrast would be nice. Lol, I know that’s a weird thing to criticize. Aside from that nit-pick it’s good work!

I agree. The composition is far too symmetrical. It’s 3d; you could make use of perspective.
Also, a bit of gloss on the reflections could help with the realism of the varnished wood.

keys are a bit too bright ( in the secind to last one ) - try toning them down a wee bit, also , I found a few lightly tinted spots at different angles help add light / depth to a scene
also, pianos are usually very shiny,
so , try looking for an HDR map, and load it into your world (for reflections, you don’t have to show it necesarily) .
You could also try using the reflections map in the textures to make the piano appear more reflective.
hope that helps

Don’t forget to think about the “character” of the piano. The “character” will change some physical properties.

I have played pianos so old that they had real ivory keys, with depressions from so many years of playing (a teacher’s piano at their home). My piano at home is on a carpeted floor, and because its never moved (nowhere else to put it), there is actually a permanent dent in the carpet from my heel by the sustain petal. Other pianos which are not played often often have “dusty” feeling keys, with the bench pushed in all the way. Often these pianos, when they are much older, will have some keys which don’t quite come all the way up anymore. You can “open up” the top of upright pianos if you need to play louder. Just some ideas to help you think about the “character” of your piano. It looks good.