What does 3D rendering entail? 3D rendering is the process of creating photorealistic images from a 3D model using computer programs. Rendering is an essential technique widely used in video games, commercials, film, and television.
The film and advertising industry nowadays use different tools to influence the viewer, such as special effects. Visual effects are created using 3D graphics. The final visualization of objects and scenes is created during the rendering process to achieve a high level of authenticity.
Rendering is, likewise, used in architecture to create stunning architectural illustrations for technical projects, as well as in product design and interior design to impress customers.
Today, there is a wide range of 3D rendering software for use in any field, for solving problems of any complexity; for professional and hobby artists. In this article, we will show you how to create a 3D render of a robot using Light Tracer Render.
Light Tracer Render is a new 3D rendering software that generates images directly on GPU and is available both as a Web browser tool and as a standalone application for Windows 10. The software supports all GPUs released after 2013 (including AMD ones).
In simple terms, GPU rendering is much faster than CPU rendering. Light Tracer is based on the unique physically-correct ray tracing engine that allows you to perform rendering in different environments, including even a Web browser. As described on nvidia.com, ray tracing is a rendering technique that provides realistic lighting by simulating the physical behavior of light.
For the end-user, it means that Light Tracer Render delivers reliable, and physically plausible results with no compromises in quality. Realistic lighting and materials are available right out of the box. The renderer has its own Discord community providing some great examples of the quality of produced images.
The web version is free and supports Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers. The desktop version offers advanced features for USD 39. Along with the overall better performance of the native version, it provides an advanced lighting system, enhanced scene inspector, mesh healing tools, backplates, AI denoisers, and other advanced features. Also, you will be able to import CAD as well as FBX and Collada 3D formats. There is a 14-day trial period for the standalone version.
Let’s try to create a 3D render of a robot model using the Light Tracer Render, step by step. To give you a good overview of the steps we make from start to finish, we have divided this tutorial into the following parts:
- Importing 3D model
- Adding textures and materials
- Creating a basic model environment
- Adjusting environment map and creating light sources
- Save rendered image
- Upload a fully adjusted 3D model to сloud storage to share it with other users
Importing 3D model
To test Light Tracer Render and write this tutorial, we downloaded a 3D robot model created by Splinter from Sketchfab. All models available on the Sketchfab website are property of the authors. You can import 3D models of most common formats, such as OBJ, STL, or GLB. Even the VOX format is supported, which is used to create voxel-style video games. Light Tracer lets you import Sketchfab models directly, so we’ll just drag and drop the downloaded zipped GLTF package into the program window.
Adding textures and materials
Let’s apply a texture to our robot model. Light Tracer is fully compatible with the metalness workflow. To assign an albedo map, click on the corresponding button, and select an image file. If the scene already contains maps of compatible type, Light Tracer will offer to choose one of them or load a new one.
Now let’s add a glass material to the light bulbs on the robot’s head. Click the Library tab on the right and select a material. To add a material, select a part of the model and click on the material in the library. Or just drag and drop the material onto the object. Apply different materials to different parts of the object. Create new materials using different settings and add them to the library.
Creating a basic model environment
Our scene will look better on the stand. Click on Make Floor on the left side of the program and then select Bent floor from the drop-down menu.
Click on the floor to display a transformation manipulator that allows you to control movement, rotation, and scaling with your mouse. To access advanced settings, open the Transform panel by clicking on the Plus button next to the manipulator. Select the Rotate tab and change the Z rotation value to 80 degrees. You can also click and drag the blue arc on the transform manipulator to change the rotation angle of the object.
Adjusting environment map and creating light sources
The final step is to add a light emitter. On the Environment panel, click the Add emitter button. On the map preview, you can see where the light sources are located. You can interact with them as you would with regular objects, by moving or rotating them.
Also, you may change the environment map itself by choosing any HDR image. We recommend HDRI heaven resource providing a lot of great maps absolutely free. Light Tracer offers a bsci built-in library of HDRI maps. Just click on the Manage map button to access the library.
Save render image
To create a high-quality render, set the slider to 1200 SPP on the top bar. Now you need to wait until the end of the calculation. You can see the expected time until the end of the process on the top panel on the right. The waiting time depends on the complexity of the 3D model, although GPU rendering is markedly faster than CPU rendering.
Expand the menu in the upper-left corner of the screen and select the Export image. Save your render image in PNG, JPG, or HDR format. There is also a quick button to save the image at the top of the screen.
You can save the scene in GLB format and come back to finish it later. Select the Save option from the drop-down menu.
Publish model on Web
The great feature of the tool is the ability to publish the adjusted model on the Web, so you may share your design with other users. Click on the orange arrow button in the center of the screen. An uploaded model will be rendered in a web version of Light Tracer engine ensuring absolutely the same image quality. The model can be published as a private or public one.
It didn’t take us long to figure out how to use the tool. Light Tracer Render has a simple user interface without excessive functionality. The application is designed for Windows and can run almost on any GPU produced after 2012 – 2013. Visit the official Instagram channel to see attractive renders made with Light Tracer (@lighttracerrender).