Experimenting with rendering SketchUp scenes

This is my first time rendering spaces so I created this mock scene to experiment with the rendering process and explore how it would work.  I downloaded SketchUp Pro and a rendering engine called SU Podium which integrates directly with SketchUp. SU Podium adds some extra buttons to the interface which allow users to add in light bulbs and change how materials reflect light. When rendering, SU Podium creates realistic scenes based on how you positioned lighting and how reflective or translucent elements are. Understanding how materials interact with light takes practice, so these early experiments were essential to ensure I didn't make any errors in the actual rooms of my exhibition. 

In my first render attempt,  the intensity of the light was way too bright which led to the scene being overexposed. What I really liked about this rendering software was it rendered the scene like a photograph, exactly how you staged it so I could make a room like a film set and position the lights and camera anywhere. It took a lot of trial and error, but eventually, I started to get the hang of it. As these were experiments, I tried lots of different lighting combinations and intensities to see what the effects would be.

This is an example of a space where I managed to get the lighting accurate in the first few attempts. The scene had no other walls, so I positioned a series of light evenly to diffuse throughout the space creating a balanced illumination.  I took this experiment further by adding people and graphics in Photoshop to experiment how I would need to play with Shadows and light in my final renders. Although the people in this composition look considerably artificial,  it allowed me to play around with Photoshop lighting to see what looks good on what doesn't.

This was my original concept for the Beauty Bar section of the exhibition space however after receiving unsuccessful feedback I would eventually redesign this from scratch which you can read about in another post. However, this was the first actual room of the exhibition I rendered so there were a lot of trial and error renderings and it was a steep learning curve. I created a scene with no side walls allowing me to position lights wherever I wanted.  In early tests, I changed the reflectiveness of the floor and walls to see what effect this would have on the lightness of the room. In one of the renders, I made the floor so reflective it looks as if it is covered with a pool of water; a flooded room was not the look I was going for.  

Some of my renders had a bluish tint because the blue from the sky was reflecting on to surfaces in the model.  I fixed this by removing the sky altogether however now the model had a green tint as the grass was being reflected. After watching some YouTube tutorials, I learnt how to change the sky and ground colour to White so any illumination would look like the room is well lit at a neutral balanced colour. These experiments allowed me to understand how the software works with light, Shadows and reflective materials.  After these experiments, I was able to successfully render the other rooms without many problems as I had a good understanding of how to create a well-lit scene.

D&AD, PracticeAdam Marsh