Image courtesy of Gaurav Kumar

Visualizing a scenic penthouse: A 3D arch viz breakdown

By - - 3ds Max
4 mins
Last modification: 9 Aug, 2019

Learn new architectural visualization tricks as 3D Generalist/Architectural Visualizer Gaurav Kumar takes us through the workflow behind his project, "Penthouse Living Room - Shimla Hills." 

This project was intended to be an eye-catching, soothing render of a penthouse in Shimla Hills, India. The client’s focus was on both the lavish interiors and the serene scenery of Shimla.

Client References

3D Render Client References
3D Render Client References

Importing AutoCAD Drawing

Initially, the floor plan for the penthouse (an AutoCAD drawing) was imported in 3ds Max, and coordinates of the imported drawing were made near origin of 3ds Max’s workspace.

3D AutoCAD Drawing Imported in 3ds Max

Basic Modeling

The walls and columns are modeled using basic modeling tools in 3ds Max.

3D Walls and Columns Modeled

Floor Generation

The floor is then generated using a 3ds Max Floor Generator plugin. This is a versatile tool that can be used to generate a wide variety of floor types with ease.

3D Floor with Floor Generator Plugin

Placing Objects in the Scene

The shape of the curtains is created to match the mood/intent of the room. Some research was also done to determine what fit best in the given space before placing any objects. The balcony railings are modeled according to the floor plan.

3D Curtains and Balcony Details

Furniture and other various objects were either tweaked, imported models from my library, or were modeled according to the space's style and the mood of the scene. They are then placed according to the furniture plan.

3D Dining Room Models
3D Living Room Models
3D Furniture Models
3D Wall and Ceiling Decor Models
3D Balcony Furniture Models
3D Balcony Furniture Models

Camera Set-up

Once all objects have been placed in the scene, the camera is set up from a suitable angle. Typically, it's best to set the viewpoint height to correspond to an actual human's line of sight, so the scene is better perceived and relatable for the viewer. 

Camera Placement and Clipping

As the whole scene is to be covered, the focal length gets adjusted accordingly, and camera clipping is enabled.

3D Scene from the Main Camera

Material Design and Texture Mapping

After placing the objects, the scene is now ready for designing materials and mapping textures starting with the wall, since this is the central, visible element in the scene.

3D Wall Material

The following shots of the Slate Material Editor demonstrate the floor materials and curtain fabric:

Wooden Flooring Material
Curtain Fabric Material
Scene Setup with Curtain Fabrice, Wood Floorings and Other Materials

Some materials required more detailed design, such as the chair fabric, carpet, table top, sofa fabric, and stone wall. 

Chair Fabric Material
Carpet Material
Table Top Material
Sofa Fabric Material
Stonewall Material
Scene After Applying Materials and Texture Mapping

Lighting Setup

Corona Sun was placed strategically to draw sunlight into the room through the window.

Corona Sun Placement

Corona light planes were used to balance sky lights to complement the mood of the scene.

Corona Light Plane Placement

Corona sky was used as the source of sky light. Corona sky was instanced on the material editor for tweaking.

Corona Sky - Environment Map

An arc-shaped plane was used for the background image of the Shimla-Hills.

Arc-Shaped Scene Environment Placed Physically in the Scene
Shimla Hills Background

This image of Shimla Hills was used as the Corona Light Material, so it glows according to its own colors. Intensity was adjusted accordingly to suit the natural external environment. 

Corona Light Material for Arc-Shaped Environment
Scene Setup Post-Lighting

Render Setup

After setting up objects, materials, camera and lights, a clay render was generated as a render-test. This demonstrates the lighting and shadows. For this, a render override was done during render setup. Some objects (such as glass and the arc-shaped environment) were excluded. 

Render Override in Render Setup
CoronaAO Material used in Render Override
3D Clay Render (with above settings)

After being satisfied with the lighting test, final render setup was done by removing overrides and exclusions. Post-processing settings were kept the same as during clay rendering.

Final Render Setup
Final Raw Render


Post-processing consists of simple, tasteful adjustments of image brightness, contrast, color correction, levels adjustment, exposure, curve manipulation and LUT. Polishing was done in Photoshop until the desired result was achieved.

Final Post-Production

Thank you

My name is Gaurav Kumar, and I'm an award-winning CG professional with rich experience in architecture and interior design. I've been featured, awarded and/or published by Autodesk, V-Ray (Chaos Group), Evermotion, Corona Renderer, 3D Artist Magazine and many more. 

Gaurav Kumar 
Lead 3D Artist/3D Generalist/ Architectural Visualiser
New Delhi, India and Dublin, Ireland
Learn more about Gaurav Kumar's 3D work

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Posted By
Published In
  • 3ds Max
  • Architectural Visualization
  • Archviz
  • Modeling
  • Workflow
  • Design Visualization
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| 1 year ago
Thanks for sharing this text, I am satisfied to get this. You have the excellent site and first-rate posts they very helped us. It's an impressive one of the nice blogs. I am very tons impressed with you. Thank you all.
| 1 year ago
Autodesk employees keep asking me why I'm not using Arnold... when the demos on the Autodesk website use Corona, I think that speaks for it's self. I like the clean CAD plan. I wish mine looked like that :)