Detail Makes Your Keyshot Rendering More Believable

By MLombard

piano rendering contest.png

I just want to add some variety and show some other techniques. Here I used one of the HDRI environments as the background image. Getting the lighting to match the background can be difficult, but using the HDRI image as the background simplifies that quite a bit.

The selection of HDRI and background images is kind of limited within the software by default, so I’d encourage you to find some additional images to use. A google search for rendering backgrounds will give you plenty to start from.

keyshotlibrarylabels.pngTo use downloaded images, drag the image onto the KeyShot Library folder (in the left hand panel) where you want to keep it. You can also right click on the Downloads heading and create a new folder, drag and drop images into that folder. By default, a folder made this way can be found at C:UsersPublicDocumentsKeyShot 5DownloadsTextures[folder name]

There are a couple of other things to notice about this rendering. First, I made some sheet music. To do this, I just made a wavy sheet of paper with curves extruded as a surface, and then put that on the book holder on the piano. Then in KeyShot, I copied an image file of some music into the Labels folder (on the Library>Textures tab). From the lower preview window, I then dragged the image of music onto the sheet of paper.

keyshotproject.pngThen in the Project>Material>Labels area, I adjusted the position, scale, and angle. This does take a little fiddling around to get it all right, and to get the feel for it. I had t place the label twice to fill both sides of the page. From a distance it looks believable, but up close, a musician would be able to tell it wasn’t really appropriate piano music. But that’s a little immaterial for our uses here. Although making the rendering believable is a key element in good renderings.

Next, I used some props. Specifically, I modeled a vase and a rose. Now a real rose would be difficult and take some time to model, so I just made a shape and revolved it. You might be able to search the web and find various props for renderings like this. In my opinion, that’s what GrabCAD is best used for. Sure enough, if you search GrabCAD for “flower” you can find some CAD compatible parts that may be more believable than an approximation, and take less time than doing it yourself.

Just one side note on services like GrabCAD: Make sure if you use someone else’s stuff, you give them credit for it. Sometimes we forget common courtesy in our eagerness to share things.


A couple other things to note are that in the image up at the top I used perspective. There’s a slider at the top that will help you set this up.


CAD users get used to looking at geometry without perspecive, but it looks funny when we try to assimilate that into images of the real world. Try to match your model’s perspective with that of the background image.

If you haven’t done it already, go over to the rendering contest, download the piano model, and get started. You’ve still got a week to submit your entry before voting begins.

If you want to learn more detail about how to use KeyShot, check out their website.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at