Creating images is the way you communicate your project design to other people. They also help you evaluate your work as you go along. Lighting is a critical part of any interior design and it needs to be part of your design thinking from the beginning. Being able to show your work as it would look throughout the day and evening is necessary to make sure that it works well at all times and especially at the times that a particular area is most likely to be used.
Taking a Snapshot and Sharing it is great for quick reviews, but you will eventually want to see what it will look like with more realistic lighting, shading and shadows. That is when HD images become a valuable tool. This post focuses on helping you become more familiar with the lighting options available in HomeByMe for you to include in your projects. The lights you choose will only be turned on when you create an HD image. A future blog will cover creating HD images in much more detail.
This image of a bedroom in the December Featured Project of the Month by debra.tokarczyk shows the value of careful lighting in a room. The strong light entering the right side of the room would overpower the details in the back corner. Instead, Debra has used a table top lamp, a mirror and a bold wall color to draw the eye into the corner.
In this cooking school project, the wall lights make a big difference in both lighting the room for the students and creating interesting shadows to add more visual detail and appeal to the overall setting.
HomeByMe has dozens of lights of many different types for you to choose from. Table lamps, wall lights, floor lights and ceiling lights can all make a big difference in how exciting your project will be. The numbered table lamps are the ones used in later images.
Here is a small sampling of table top lights that I’ve arranged on white tables, which are on a medium value gray carpet with darker value green walls. This will show how the lights and their shadows look on different colors and values and in different lighting situations.
This is the kind of overall lighting you see most of the time when you’re working on your projects and when you take a Snapshot. There is no ceiling on the room which lets in a lot of ambient light and brightens the room, but it doesn’t really show what you would really see with indoor lighting. The shadows are strong, but the lights are not on. I try to include one of our new Characters (Room>For all rooms>Characters) in my images to give a better sense of scale.
An HD image is just the right thing to show how the room would really look. To create an HD image, first position your avatar so it is seeing what you want to show in your view. Usually I like to be in the corners of a room to show the largest view I can.
Your avatar must be completely in the room. If part of the avatar is in a wall or door you can have problems (1). However, you can be inside a piece of furniture (2) without problems, so go ahead and scrunch yourself all the way back in the corner even if there is a table there.
Now switch to the first person view (the button is over on the right and looks like a blue person standing in a circle) so that you are looking through your avatar’s eyes. Then adjust the view so that you include a little bit of the ceiling. It will show the sky and clouds until you start an HD image.
Click on the Publish tab and then make sure you deselect the checkmark in the Remote rendering box (1). Unless you have an older, slow computer, it is faster to do your rendering on your own computer rather than having it done remotely on our servers. For your lights to appear as though they were turned on, you must also have your Radiosity set to at least Partial (2).
(As mentioned earlier, there will be another blog on the other choices you can make at this point in the process and how they affect your images. Those details are important, but right now we’re concentrating on the use of lights in your project.)
You can tell that you are working on an HD image because a ceiling will appear. If it doesn’t show up, your avatar position and view may need to be adjusted.
This room was created without any windows or doors so there is no light coming into the room from outside. That is why there are no shadows and it looks very flat. There is enough ambient light built into the program to show the contents of the room, but it isn’t very interesting yet.
As soon as I press the Generate button on the Publish tab, the rendering process starts. The time it takes to render depends on the settings, the complexity of the project and even the materials used.
This is the rendered version of the room above. You can see that most of the lights are turned on by the rendering process. There are some lights that are not turned on even when rendered. The pattern(s) of light that are cast and the shadows from the lamps become important elements in your project. Something as simple as moving a lamp closer or farther away from a wall or another piece of furniture can make a big difference.
It’s good to do small quick renderings, which you can stop as soon as you want to (although sometimes it make take awhile to stop). A series of quick renderings will allow you to see if your lights are doing what you want them to do, make sure that your framing of the view is what you want and that you haven’t forgotten anything. I do a lot of rendering and I always do a series of small fast renders as I design the room or project. I find it incredibly helpful to save them and print them so that I can gauge my progress and often see things that I totally missed.
The information above is concentrated on table lamps, but applies to all of the lights available. Floor lamps can have an even bigger effect on a project and can be used where appropriate to brighten up a space or is some cases be the sole source of mood-setting illumination. Here are just a few examples. Even if the light does not turn on during creation of an HD image, the light they reflect can still make a room look more interesting and enjoyable.
A good example of lights playing an important role is this project which has strong outdoor light coming in. This leaves the loft, in particular, fairly dark. The lights help brighten the area and draw the eye up to the loft to see even more details.
This brightly lit kitchen doesn’t really need more light, but the light patterns add extra interesting details. It’s all up to your imagination and what looks right to you!
Now that you know a little more about your lighting choices and HD images, your projects will have a whole new look.
Now it’s your turn!