Create a ballerina loft interior with 3ds Max – chapter 3: rendering & post-production


I used a V-Ray camera for the scene because I was already familiar with it and in the same time a bit reluctant to use the Corona camera back then. However, the main settings in Corona are controlled from the render dialog, so I experimented with the DOF enabled and also disabled and played with the photographic settings.

Step 01: Rendering with and without DOF

The main challenge with rendering was being new in Corona, not familiar with many setups, so I had to go on forums and learn whichweare the best settings to use for my scene. For familiarity, I still used V-Ray camera and I rendered the final image at the resolution of 8,000 x 5,000 pixels, having my computer on for a couple of days (and nights). Previously, I’ve done a few tests on slightly lower resolutions to see how it behaves.

For the final render, I used a photographic exposure in Corona with the DOF enabled but set to a very low aperture. I also saved the refraction pass

Step 02: Post-production in Photoshop

Post was the simplest part. Usually, I save the image as EXR to have more flexibility in adjusting the exposure and balance. The image for the outside view was added in Photoshop to have more control over adjusting it separately. Afterwards, I applied a filter called subtle film from the collection photolooks from Red Giant. At the end I added a touch of Knoll Light Factory filter to enhance the lighting in the scene, showing just how blinding the wintery light can be (top-left corner).

I made minimal changes to color balance and curves and also used the Corona refraction pass set to color dodge mode, and a diffuse filter on the light coming from the windows

Top tip 1 - Modeling can make a difference

Usually people use a lot of library models for interior arch-viz projects. I think that no matter how brilliant the libraries of models are, when you try to make something personal, modeling is one of the ways you can express yourself. Even if you try to make things looking realistic, each person will see reality in his/her particular way. Modeling something even in CG can still have that human touch a personal project needs. Sometimes it is necessary to use ready-made models, but when you use them to try to modify something, even if it's only the mapping or adding small personal touches to turn that model into your own.

Sometimes modeling a variety of objects freely without reference made a difference for my scene

Top tip 2 - How composition can make a difference

I think maybe every artist has his own definition of composition beyond the basic one – the arrangement of elements, shapes, and colors on a canvas or in a scene to create tension, balance, or repose. Composition is the internal structure of an image, our choice in arranging elements to express our feelings, to tell a story or to show our meaning of beauty. Even since ancient times, artists were on a quest to find the perfect proportions, the canon of beauty, the secret geometry, the harmony between elements, and so on. Now in the digital age we think software and the digital tools can replace those efforts, but for example music composition still requires years of study and practice, so why would you think image composition would require less?