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6 Stages of 3D product rendering

Updated: Sep 22, 2023


1) Research


The first step in the 3D product rendering process, is to take some time to research some key elements to ensure we create the right type of image. It's important to think about the products target audience and key selling points and to write these down so that throughout the project you can always have them there when deciding on camera angles, settings and lighting methods. Using platforms such as Pinterest and Behance we will find a collection of inspiration images that capture the mood and style that we want

From here you can create a mood board using software such as

We find this extremely useful to stay on track and also to create the best content possible by taking ideas from what has worked for others.

2) 3D Modelling


Next step in the process is to create the 3D model of the product. The artist or agency may have the physical product to hand to help them with this process, however most of the time this is done using real life reference images and physical dimensions of the product. Its important at this stage to ensure the 3D model is created with strong clean topology, so that during the next stage (texturing) we do not run into any issues. Topology is the 3D geometric make up of the model based on its vertices, edges and faces, it is a foundation of poly modelling and without good topology your model will be hard to texture, it may have strange artifacts or it may jagged edges or odd shading.

3) Texturing


One of the most important and underrated parts of the 3D product rendering process is the texturing. In this section we will apply materials to the 3D model. This may be the product label as well as physical materials such as metal, wood or plastic. If the texturing is not done at a high quality it can lead to

- Tiling of patterns

- Incorrectly scaled labels

- Incorrect colours

- Non realistic materials

Which can all lead to a unsatisfactory result. The parameters of the materials can greatly affect how the product looks, working with glass or transparent materials can be particularly difficult as these materials direct interaction with light can be challenging.

4) Scene Creation


In this section its time to create the scene that the product will be placed in. For some projects this will be a simple white studio, in which case you may only need to set up a simple shadow catcher and white background scene. However for lifestyle scenes or more creative images you will need to bring in props using existing 3D assets or sometimes going back to step (1 -3) and generating some custom 3D models for the scene.

5) Lighting

The lighting of a 3D scene usually what gets the most attention when determining a poor, average and great quality render. There is a reason for this... it's super important. You can't have a great render without completing any of these steps to a high level however lighting probably has the biggest impact on the quality of the image. Lighting is not only about creating a scene that looks realistic, but also matching a theme / tone for the product. For example if you the image is for a dramatic product reveal / launch, you will want to use harsh, high contrast down lighting to create a superhero feel. However for a simple studio product rendering you may want to create a more evenly lit scene so that all angles of the product are clearly visible. Perfect quality and relevant lighting is one area we LOVE to chase in our projects at Renderly.

6) Post-production

Sometimes the forgot step is post-production, however it's really important for creating professional 3D product renders. We almost never send a final deliverable without some level of post-production usually completed in Adobe Photoshop for images and Adobe After Effects for animations. For studio hero images you can complete some colour correction, contrast and brightness adjustments and adjust other parameters such as sharpness and denoising to ensure the image looks as professional as possible. Usually the more complex the scene the product is in the more time is spent in post production, as we may need to add some special effects or more intricate colour correction if the image has more elements.

Thanks for reading our quick guide on the 6 steps to 3D product rendering!

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