🚩 That’s right. Even though the render has finished, we are not done. There’s one more thing. Just as Hollywood would never release a film that is not colour-graded, 3d artists should always post-produce their output before publishing. Postproduction is simply the editing that you do to the raw image after the renderer has finished.
💡 A common beginner mistake is to be too eager to deliver the result and let the raw render walk out the door on its own. But this is a mistake. Professionals never just publish the raw render.
⚡ Use postproduction to make your render put its best foot forward.
💡 V-Ray ships with basic postproduction tools in its frame buffer. These include colour temperature, backgrounds and foregrounds, curves for hue, saturation and luminance, lens filters, lookup tables, and similar. All are useful.
If you are working late at night, remember to turn off your computer’s automatic night light feature that otherwise ruins colour grading. Set its default level to be so strong as to be unmissable.
⚡ For complete control of layer compositing, masking and more, use a standalone image editor like Adobe Photoshop, Affinity Photo, or similar.
💡 If you are a Photoshop user, install the free Photoshop plugin Exr-io to open V-Ray’s multi-layered exr files. That way, you can keep all rendering elements in one photoshop-compatible file.
⚡ Orchestrate the right mood by compositing in a different background.
💡 For exterior scenes, the background – the sky – often is prominent. This can be used to great effect in postproduction. After rendering, combine V-Ray’s transparent rgb output or alpha element in your standalone image editor to composite in different backgrounds. With a little judgment, you can combine your render with a surprisingly wide variety of backgrounds that swing the mood dramatically while increasing believability.
🏁 At last, export your final image and call it a lovely day.
🥳– Congratulations! And if you read the guide this far, you have the perseverance it takes to craft great renders. Now go make good stuff – and let us know what you create!
Felix Heuman is the founder of Swedish 3d studio Holygon, specialising in providing companies and individuals with SketchUp and V-Ray training, custom SketchUp extension development, as well as 3d design, 3d modelling, and 3d visualisation services.