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The 5 commandments of good renderings

Thou shalt…have smooth models

Ever get a model into KeyShot and a hole looks like an octagon? Or a smooth curve looks like it’s made of a bunch of lines? This is easy to fix. This applies to a workflow that involves exporting a BIP file from Alibre Design.

Fix it:

  1. Open your 3D model in Alibre Design
  2. Go to File > Properties > Display tab
  3. Set the minimum circular facets value higher. 35-45 is a good range. Increasing it beyond that will give you very little benefit, but will make the file sizes balloon tremendously and decrease performance. Under no circumstances should you ever set the value above 100. Ever.



Though shalt…have correct shadows

We see renderings all the time where the shadows are wrong. They are wrong because the model is not oriented on the ground plane in KeyShot. This usually happens when a model has been opened in KeyShot and needs to be rotated. The user simply forgets to press the Snap to Ground button after the fact. Regardless of your workflow, before you start doing anything else on the model – click the snap to ground plane button. Even if it looks right already. Just do it.

Fix it (Keyshot 2):

  1. Right click anywhere on the model
  2. Select Move Object
  3. Select the Snap to Ground button at the bottom of the screen
  4. The model will move to where it’s actually sitting on the ground

Fix it (Keyshot 1.x):

  1. Right click on the model
  2. Select Move Object
  3. Select Snap to Ground in the dialog



Thou shalt…select correct texture mapping settings

Texture mapping can be a little tricky, but in general you will want to select a Box Map settings. In general. At a minimum, if you are using textures then play around with each setting in the drop down to see which one looks appropriate.

There is no “correct” projection type. There is a particular projection type that will most closely match the look you are going for. So, try them all out. Box Map tends to be the most useful projection type for many types of part geometry, but it is not a silver bullet.



Fix it (Keyshot 2):

  1. Double click the part you are concerned with and its material settings will open
  2. Click the Texture tab
  3. Select various options for the Projection until you like one (also be sure to play around with the Scale lower down the screen)
Fix it (Keyshot 1.x):

  1. Double click the part you are concerned with and its material settings will open
  2. Click the MAP button next to the Diffuse label
  3. Select the Projection type near the bottom



Thou shalt…impose dramatic perspectives to your models

This isn’t appropriate for all models or projects. But, knowing that you can do this and trying it out often leads to a much higher awesome quotient than you would otherwise get. Consider the following images:




Obviously you might not want to try to overdramatize a screw or a simple machine. But, when used appropriately, your images can have dramatically more life due to increasing the perspective.

Fix it:

This is kind of an undocumented trick and is done in 2 steps:

  1. Hold down ALT. While holding it down, move your mouse to the left side of the screen and then depress the right mouse button. Hold it down as you move your cursor to the right side of the screen. You will be given the impression that you are zooming in, but you aren’t. You are changing the perspective. Do this until you are “zoomed” in a little.
  2. Now, zoom back out with the proper zoom commands (ALT + Middle Mouse Scroll Wheel). As you zoom back out, you will notice the perspective. If you don’t notice it, then repeat step 1 until you do.

AHHH. My model is screwed from this tip – help!

Don’t worry. You might find yourself in the case below where you have applied way too much perspective and the model goes funhouse-mirror on you. If this happens, there are 2 ways you can fix it:

  1. Simply repeat step 1 above but move the mouse from right to left instead of left to right. This decreases the perspective. This is the preferred method.
  2. Go to the Camera tab and just pick a view such as Front, Top, Right, etc. This will reset your view and you can start over.



Though shalt…use appropriate backgrounds

Nothing is less compelling than the children’s playset you designed, fully rendered, awesomely textured, and located in the middle of some mountains. Or a conveyor system you made that’s outside on a street. Keep the backgrounds contextually sound with your model. Consider the following example:




This happens most likely because people don’t know how to fix it. In general, those backgrounds were probably not selected as backgrounds, but rather the person is trying to find a light setup they like. When you choose an HDR image to light your scene, the HDR also shows up as a background unless you take additional steps to use something else.

There are 2 ways you can modify the background:

Choose to use a solid color instead:

  1. Go to the environment tab and turn off Visible Environment. Select a color to use instead. The model will continue to be lit by the HDR, but the HDR image will no longer be visible.



Choose an appropriate image instead:

In KeyShot this is called a “BackPlate”. You can use any image for a backplate:

  1. Select the Open Backplate or Load buttons, depending on what version of KeyShot you have. Find an image to use, and then press ok.