Hints ‘n’ Tips from our Intrepid Designer: I’ve seen the light!

Your design is ready to render and your panoramic view is now looking fantastic through the window! But how do you make the room ‘come alive’?

Well…. correct lighting is key! 

Without this detail, designs can sometimes look flat and unrealistic. Just by simply getting the right angle of sunlight coming through the window, will enable areas of sun or shadow to match accordingly. So it’s worth noting the time of day when you ‘snap’ your original photos!

The following example shows perfectly, the difference sunlight can have on a room design:

To put this process into practice – select the ‘Advanced’ button in the image settings window of Virtual Worlds, then the ‘Environment’ tab; click the box located underneath ‘Sunlight’ to enable it. Additional colour can also be added to the incoming sunlight, by clicking the ‘Colour’ button and making your selections.

The ‘Azimuth’ value is the actual direction of the sun and values are based on 0° being North, 90° East, 180° South and 270° West.

The ‘Elevation’ value is the height of the sun at the time of day – so a value of 90 would put the sunlight directly above the room to imitate 12 noon. This value will determine whether your sun breaks through and drapes over items close to the window, or further away.

Combining these two functions accordingly, will allow you to set the sunlight angle just right for your room and window image; but ultimately, it is entirely up to you how realistic you wish your design to be. Just be aware – the classic mistake of having sunlight shining in one direction and shadows in the external image in another!

Try adding some texture to the sunlight, by using blinds (as in the example images); vases of flowers on the window sill, or leafy plants – either will create interest for the viewer and add to the design’s realism.

If you have any questions about the finer details of using Virtual Worlds, or wish me to cover a particular topic in my next Hints ‘n’ Tips section, just post a comment or drop our delightful social media lady an email at: debbie.levey@virtualworlds.co.uk

Alternatively, if you have any Virtual Worlds technical issues – please call the Support Team direct on 01923 448 899. They are a real friendly bunch and will be more than happy to talk you through any problems

Signing off for another day – The Intrepid Designer!


Hints ‘n’ Tips from our Intrepid Designer: It’s all about the view!

Even before the days of digital photography, I always made a habit of taking a camera of some sort with me when visiting a client’s home to measure up for a room design. The old Polaroid system was effectively the modern day equivalent of instant pictures; but even the low quality created back then, was enough to remind me of particular details when deciding on how to approach the design.

Today, I find it still important to have some form of camera with me, even if it’s just my mobile phone; as using Virtual Worlds can offer the possibilities to customise the view from a window by using your own camera images.

Obviously, for the original shot ‘the higher the resolution the better’ as you may want to create a panorama view to surround the room scene in order to give a more natural view to the outside. This look can easily be achieved if you have the necessary software on your camera or phone, which assists in the taking of such effects. But if not, a row of images can be shot by steadily rotating the camera horizontally, in order to ‘stitch’ together enough images to form a 180° view. If your feeling really adventurous, try experimenting to create a full 360° image!

Of course, a standard landscape format is ok in theory, unless the view from the interior involves glazed doors of full height windows. In this instance, the panoramic image is best, as the standard flat landscape will cause perspective problems and detract from the realism created in the room design.

So.. you are now armed with your chosen exterior view jpeg and need to insert into your design – simples!

View the Folder/File tree on your PC and locate the following (substituting the drive letter to C: if necessary): 

C:Program FilesVirtual WorldsCatalogueFurnishingsGenericMiscellaneous&textures

Save your finished panoramas in that folder.

There are also two files in there named SKY2.jpg and SKY3.jpg showing the image proportion requirement as around 2000 x 506 pixels – aim for as close to this as possible, as larger file sizes will just slow down the whole process and unless close ups are required through a window, the lower pixel count is more than adequate.

Once your room design is ready for the rendering stage, it’s the ideal time to add your external image.

Go to the catalogue selection window and choose ‘Furnishings’, then ‘Generic’, then ‘Miscellaneous’. Look for SkyScenery2 and select. Your image should then be in position – see the example below:

If the viewing point height is altered and you can see below the image, adjust the image height and you will then see only your external scenery from any viewpoint in the room.

Well… I hope my Virtual Worlds ramblings have been of some help and if your wanting to give your designs that certain edge, then it’s well worth putting into practice those ‘tricks of the trade’!

Signing off for now!

The Intrepid Designer


Virtual Worlds Support Team: 01908 448 899

Hints ‘n’ tips from our Intrepid Designer: 2K Render or not 2K Render?

Using the Software for many Virtual Worlds users is often just about selecting units, worktops and appliances; or sanitary ware, showers, floor and wall finishings. Sadly, not everyone puts as much thought into their final render quality. Some designers I’ve spoken with never exceed beyond a 2K render but although good, it will lack that depth of detail when zooming in to explore the image.

I tend to work on 4K renders as a minimum and quite often throw in a higher quality render of the best image. The picture shown below, although having gone through Corel Paintshop Photo Pro to enrich the colour, I think you will agree even just at 4K, the detail is far better than you would achieve with a 2K render!

If I can achieve a 7K, then I will most definitely let it run if I have that additional day free. There has to be something in those sharp intakes of breath and the ‘OMG’ or ‘WOW!’ comments, when I reveal my renders to clients.

Yes, it takes a little patience and input from me, plus some spare time ‘tinkering’ with ideas; but so much is achievable from the building blocks and open architecture that Virtual Worlds 3D design software provides – the end result and sealing that deal with the client, makes it so worth going that extra mile!

Why don’t you give it a try – you’ll wonder why you never did it sooner!


Hints ‘n’ Tips from our Intrepid Designer: Tricks of the Trade – Image Enhancing

Welcome to the second part of our Hints ‘n’ Tips Section on Image Enhancing.

Image Enhancing – part two

Continuing with our theme on enhacing render images – another great little trick I often use when creating kitchen designs, is adding the look of flowing water from a tap.

The running water movement is not dissimilar to the folds in a curtain; so just import a curtain .3ds model, shrink it down to fit the diameter of the tap spout and add a water material finish.

Again… so very simple, but I think you will agree, it works extremely well!

Hope you give it a try when next doing a kitchen render! If you do, why not send us your render images and we can post them on the blog.

T: 01908 663 848                                                                        E: sales@virtualworlds.co.uk        


Hints ‘n’ Tips from our Intrepid Designer: Tricks of the Trade – Image Enhancing

Welcome to our first Hints ‘n’ Tips section from Virtual Worlds very own ‘Intrepid Designer’!

These regular features will contain little tried & tested ‘nuggets of gold’ that hopefully, all you Virtual Worlds users can fully utilise and perhaps put into practice in your own designs and ultimately, enhance your client’s design experience.

Here’s our Intrepid Designer’s first instalment:

Image Enhancing – part one

If you like to go that extra mile for your clients to help seal the deal - why not use some of my tricks of the trade for enhancing your render images! Little touches, such as adding steam to a boiling kettle or saucepan on the hob, really help to bring a design alive and are easily achieved post render, by running the image through Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 – which I personally find much easier to get to grips with than Adobe Photoshop!

And to complete the look – how about a realistic glow under the saucepans! Again, very easily accomplished in the render itself – with a self luminescent material finish on a shaped ring, placed above the hob burners.

Both are simple tweaks, but extremely effective – well worth spending that extra time perfecting!

Part Two to follow soon.