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22 February 2021
Manoj Singh

How Can Wall Graphics Enhance Residential Architectural Rendering?

Residential architectural rendering of attractive 3D interiors has the power to influence decisions, and one of the key features of interior scenes is the wall – its colour, its texture, its effect on the psyche. Designing or creating interior walls can be a creative process with a technical twist. With a selection of wall graphics to choose from, residential architectural rendering can appear markedly realistic and thus help designers, architects, buyers or customers experience the look and feel of an interior space.

How rooms are arranged and presented through wall graphics can be the difference between a space that’s just ‘so-so’ and one that impresses. In small spaces, alterations in light and shadow can significantly impact the mood and atmosphere, especially on the walls. The location of the shadows, relative to the sun, adds realism to the scene. Colours and textures on walls contribute to the realistic depiction of a space in a render with their quality and by depicting real-life materials.

For instance, craggy stone walls, walls with wooden panels, walls with stone-washed effects, etc. can be represented in a lifelike manner. Viewers can relate to these textures, since they have seen them at some point. It’s important to portray high-quality textures and materials with the kind of lighting they require, so that a certain sense of balance is maintained.

To induce intimacy and grounding, rough textures in wall graphics are preferred, while smooth textures create a feeling of sleekness and luxury in a space. Even the location of wall graphic textures can be consequential. When a rough textured wall is placed adjacent to a smooth wall, the rough wall will become more prominent and add weight to the space. Visual weight is the attention a wall or space can add to the room. Texture and distance are key factors that influence visual weight.

Both colours and textures in wall graphics contribute to contrast in wall design. Contrast introduces balance and visual interest. When all the walls are the same colour or have the same texture, the human eye does not focus as well and tends to glaze over. It is essential, however, to practice restraint. A single wall should not have more than one particular texture.

When certain rooms are designed in accordance to a specific colour palette incorporating similar shades, the texture of wall graphics is significant. For example, walls that are next to each other can be heavily contrasted in a monochromatic or analogous colour scheme to introduce harmony to the room. Wall graphics that recreate patterned walls develop depth in a scene.

So, how does architectural 3D rendering develop wall graphics that are realistic and communicate depth and harmony? A selection of available 3D rendering software options use accurate 3D models, which utilise advanced layering systems and spectral colour pickers to help create realistic renders. To create these 3D models and photorealistic renders, 3Ds Max, V-Ray, GrowFX, etc. are preferred software options. Large databases of high-resolution textures can include a gamut of wall materials. Such imagescan be utilised in SketchUp, 3D Studio Max, Maya, Blender, etc.

Some of the most useful material categories are:
Wood

From architectural siding and floorboards to bark and driftwood, there are ten subcategories of wood textures for wall graphics. Major species of timbers, such as oak, pine, bamboo, charred cedar and walnut, as natural or manufacture material, can be represented in wall graphics with a selection of colours, grains and irregularities.

Brick

Wall graphics to represent brick textures scan colours from deep red to yellows, mud and earth tones. They can be tiled for large areas, or they can be shown to have peeling paint, graffiti, moss or ivy (for exterior walls), creating an ambience of age to the scene.

Concrete

To denote concrete, there are more than 2,000 available textures. Each have a unique colour and surface finish, such as fine or coarse aggregate cements, cracked and crumbling concrete, surfaces with bits of rust or paint and board-formed concrete.

Metal

There are 18 subcategories of metal textures available. Some of them are galvanized, corrugated bronze and copper textures, and they can show a variety of patinas, scratches, rust and peeling paint.

Tiled

Libraries of wall tile textures include wall graphics for ceramic, cast stone or slab, mosaic or quarry tiles.

Created specifically for graphically representing walls, Walls & Tiles is a user-friendly 3Ds Max plug-in, with an extensive library of textures. Walls are created using multiple single bitmaps. Bitmaps are used for diffuse colour and have the effect of painting an image on the surface of a wall. To create a brick wall, for example, a bitmap with an image of bricks is used as a diffuse map and the wall object can have different materials applied to it.

Bitmaps are randomised across bond patterns and loaded from any folder, using an auto-loader, into the correct layers for bump, reflection, displacement, diffuse and alpha. Once the bitmaps are loaded, any one of 16 bond patterns can be selected, the size can be set, they can be positioned, coloured or given a particular surface. A Real-World mode for mapping removes the need to individually UV-map each wall, simplifying the use of wall textures. An application called Linear Sequence can be used in place of randomised distribution for bond patterns with repetitive patterns.

An extensive library with a variety of textures has four texture packs, combining 75 different materials with over 900 individual bricks and tiles, each with diffuse, bump, reflection, displacement and alpha layers. More than 4300 bitmaps were edited to help create materials within seconds.

Each one of the three types of maps (bump, normal and displacement) enables the creation of features that seem to have greater resolution/detail on wall surfaces. Bump maps help to portray depth and texture on walls. Typically, a normal map uses RGB information to correspond with the X, Y and Z axes in space. To create greater detail for low-resolution meshes, displacement maps are more useful. Very simply, they displace meshes. For the creation of detail in a displacement map, meshes are required to be divided, or tessellated, to create realistic geometry. Displacement maps are developed from high-resolution models or created by hand.

A Colour Map texture can be used with the alpha channel to make certain aspects more transparent compared to others. The alpha channel can be added to the wall texture with Adobe Photoshop, GIMP or any similar image editor. In Lumion, the Alpha Channel can be used to:

  • Increase or decrease transparency in some areas
  • Increase or decrease reflection in some areas
  • Increase or decrease emission of colour in some areas

Loading and managing material becomes easier with Material Manager. Using this, various materials can be added to wall graphics to create textures quickly, in seconds. It can be used to:

  • change bond patterns
  • use a variety of bricks
  • change bricks
  • change mortar
  • change colours

In many cases, visible repetition of patterns is an unwanted effect on renders of walls where standard bitmaps are used. Typically, a large bitmap, using more RAM with high resolution, is used to help avoid this repetition. Walls & Tiles sets bricks or tiles in a pattern, using random algorithms, thus saving RAM and avoiding visible repetition to create a realistic image.

Another advantage of Walls & Tiles is the choice of 16 different bond patterns for wall tiles and bricks. Patterns can be altered for any set of bricks or tiles, and the bond patterns offered help re-create the effects of walls found in heritage buildings, modern homes, standard houses and large buildings, and a custom bond can be used to create customised bond patterns.

The effect of bricks on walls can be changed with regard to colour, saturation, value, bump levels, reflection levels and displacement levels can be randomised for more surface variation, rotation, size, placement and width. So, with even just one bitmap, a large wall be developed.

The importance of effective architectural 3D rendering is crucial for designers, architects, buyers and customers in the homebuilding or residential home industry. A variety of available rendering software options can ensure quality homebuilder 3D rendered images. When there are shortages of architectural services providers with the right technical qualifications and skills to provide these rendering services, offshore sources may be the right partner to provide cost-effective residential architectural renderings of high quality on schedule.