Fake Man and Snowman Render Fail Blender Guru

10 Reasons Why Your Render Sucks

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Don’t get me wrong, I love 3d art,  I really do. But after spending 7 years scouring the internet for inspiration I’ve become a little bit cynical. Now when I look at 3d art, I only see it’s flaws.

Are my renders perfect? Absolutely not. My portfolio is riddled with flaws. In fact almost every single piece of my artwork violates at least one of these ‘rules’. This article is to share what I’ve learnt as an artist and as an onlooker.

Here’s my top ten pet peeves…

1. There’s no point It doesn’t tell a story, it’s not advertising anything and it’s certainly not pretty. What exactly is the viewer getting from this? Nothing makes me close the window faster than a piece of art with no clear objective.

2. You use pre-made content Stock models are great for studios who want to save time and money by purchasing a pre-made model. But it has absolutely no place in your portfolio. Personally I find no pride in showing someone a render that I haven’t created entirely by myself, but that’s just me. If you don’t know how to model it, why not learn?

3. You’re copying something far more successful I love Wall-E as much as the next guy, but that doesn’t mean I try to mimic what a professional studio has slaved over for years on end. Why? Because unless it’s an uncanny comparison (which it won’t be) viewers will only spot its flaws.

4. You didn’t plan it on paper first It’s easy to tell when an artist failed to put their idea on paper first: it’s a confusing mess. They started with an idea, skipped the planning stage and jumped straight to their 3d program. Most artists cannot model/texture/render in 3d at the same speed as their imagination. The best thing you can do is put it on paper as soon as the idea strikes you, that way you have a reference in 2 weeks time when you’re sitting at your computer and asking, “what was I making again?”.

5. It’s cliche If I see another cave troll or big breasted warrior I’m going to puke. Be original and create something that everyone hasn’t already seen a thousand times.

6. It’s a test render Hey cool, you just got your head around the new array modifier! Don’t post it on the net. Test renders are exactly that. Tests. They are a learning experience that should remain on your hard drive.

7. It’s poorly lit Let me say this once and for all: Dark is not moody. If you want to create a moody atmosphere there are plenty of ways of doing it, but making your scene dimly lit is not one of them. Pick up a copy of Jeremy Birn’s Digital Lighting and Rendering to learn how to light your scene like a pro.

8. You don’t realise it sucks No one likes receiving bad feedback on their artwork, especially after you’ve spent weeks creating it, but to tell the hundreds of posters that they “just don’t understand it” is like throwing salt on the wound. If you want to progress as an artist you need to be able to take critiques on-board and learn from your mistakes.

9. It’s boring architecture Archiviz is great skill to have under your belt. There’s a lot of work available and it pays quite well, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring and emotionless. Read my post on 20 Architectural renders that break the mold or watch Alex Roman’s amazing short The Third and the Seventh and you’ll pick up dozens of ways to make still architecture interesting.

10. It’s overly post-processed There’s nothing wrong with fixing the colour levels or altering the contrast in Photoshop, but when you start adding filters and chromatic aberration to hide your own incompetencies there’s a problem.

Well that’s me finished, what are your pet peaves?

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