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Keyshot Tips

Check out some ways to improve your renders with our expert advice.

KEYSHOT RENDERING TIPS

Keyshot is one of the best product rendering packages on the market. It brings real-time 3D rendering that shows instant results. Its intuitive UI, over 750 preset materials, and thousands more on its cloud allow users to create stunning visuals in minutes. For designers on the fly to commercial marketing companies, Keyshot is a simple solution for communicating ideas and creating complete marketing packages. It supports over 30 leading 3D file formats with additional live linking plugins to allow seamless integration for your workflow. Whether you are just starting out your career as an artist or an experienced one, check out some of these tips below.

Do you have a project in mind?

HOW ARE 3D ANIMATIONS CREATED?

ADD TEXTURES TO ALL YOUR MATERIALS

Although Keyshot comes with many pre-set materials, they are mostly basic and require additional textures to make them look more realistic. By adding a simple bump map it will make your renderings look more realistic. In real life, even with glossy materials, there are still bumps on the materials from manufacturing. Look closer at your references and get familiar with your material graph.

TIP 1

CREATE YOUR OWN MATERIAL LIBRARY

Once you have made your own materials add them to your material library so you can use them later, on other projects. Click on the save button and create a custom folder in the material tab, make sure to name your materials, and add the textures used into the Keyshot Resources folder under materials, so that Keyshot knows where to look for them.

TIP 2

LINK YOUR MATERIALS

When the same parts are using the same materials, make sure you link them. You can use the right mouse button to copy and paste materials to other parts. This will make sure that when you make tweaks to the material it will be on all the parts.

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USE GEOMETRY VIEW

It is much faster to use the geometry view to set up your scene. Use O on your keyboard to open it up or check Window > Geometry View to open a new window. It will give you the ability to move your parts or cameras easier than in the normal window. Especially for Camera paths in animations.

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DETERMINE RENDER SAMPLES USING REGION RENDER

Use the region tool to allow the render window to render a small part of your scene. Press H on the Keyboard to bring up the samples counter. Make sure you choose the darkest area of your render as these are usually the longest to render and are the noisiest areas. Once the area looks clean, take note of the samples. When you go to render your final image, set the same samples as your test.

Video link: XO3D

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ADD PINS IN THE HDRI EDITOR

Go to the environment tab and add pins to the HDRI to highlight your product. Highlight areas that help the viewer see the form of your designs. Edit your pins using the settings below. Make sure you have some sharp falloffs for metallic or glossy parts. In contrast use smoother falloffs to highlight other areas.

Video Link: XO3D

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DOWNLOAD SOME ADDITIONAL HDRI

Although Keyshot has plenty of inbuild HDRI, you can find many free HDRIs online. The best one by far is Polyhaven. It has a much more extensive HDRI library than Keyshot and is taken by a professional photographer. With such a good range of HDRI you can find whatever you are looking for. Some of the best ones for product rendering are the studio scans.

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CREATE MODEL SETS

If you have multiple configurations of your scene, use model sets. It will allow you to easily switch between them both, you can also link or unlink materials between the sets allowing you to multiple options.

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CREATE STUDIOS

Developing on model sets, learn how to use studios. This will make your workflow much easier and quicker. With studios, you can link your model sets and different environments and multi-materials. This allows you to flip between them quickly for rendering. This is best to use if you have multiple colours and configurations of your products. Once it comes to rendering all your different configurations all you need to do is click one button to render all your studios instead of having to add all of them to the queue manually.

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USE MULTI-MATERIALS

Multi materials allow you to easily switch between different colour sets. If you have worked on a material and feel like you want to make changes, but don’t want to lose your current material, you can create a new multi-material and easily switch between the two. Similarly, if your design has multiple colours, you can change them quickly.

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USE THE IMAGE TAB

Once you feel like your scene is complete and ready to render, check out the image tab, play around with the settings there to finesse your image before rendering. You can use photographic filters to add bloom and vignettes.

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USE EDIT NORMAL TOOL

If you notice some of your parts have facets, try the edit normals tool. It can sometimes help remove the facets. If it does not work, go back to your modelling software and export a higher-quality mesh.

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USE THE MESH SIMPLIFICATION TOOL

Similarly, if your scene is running slow you can try some optimisation techniques such as the mesh simplification tool. This will reduce the poly count of your model, allowing Keyshot a less data-heavy model to calculate. Beware this also reduces the quality of your model, but if you use it correctly you can get away with reducing it to the point where it does not affect the quality of your image.

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MAKE YOUR WORKSPACE YOUR OWN

Each Keyshot window can be docked anywhere on the Keyshot window. Move your tabs to different locations depending on how you like them. You can save your layout in the top left corner. Additionally, you can set different layouts depending on what you are working on. For example, an Animation set up, lighting set up and material set up. You can easily flick between them depending on what stage of your project you are in.

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SAVE KEYSHOT PACKAGES

If you are moving between computers make sure to save Keyshot packages, this feature allows Keyshot to collect all the data from your scene and put it in a folder that you can easily open on another pc and pick up where you left off. Do not just reply on the normal save feature, unless you have all the maps and textures that you are using on your portable drive.

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MAKE SURE PARTS ARE NOT CLASHING

To get highly realistic renderings you need to make sure your parts are built as they are in real life, therefore any clashing parts should be rectified to how they should be in real life. By doing this you will make sure your scene does not have any strange-looking surfaces or textures. Although, with glass and liquid you need to set up the model differently, check out this blog on the Keyshot website for more detail.

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SET CAMERAS FIRST

When you are first building your scene, set some cameras first. The reason for this is that when the model has no textures on it, it’s very quick to set cameras. After you have set them you can start adding materials. The way materials look is dependant partly on the camera, and where the light catches the model. Therefore, once you have added the camera, create some basic materials, then add some lighting, finally give your materials some desired tweaks to match the camera and lighting.

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DOWNLOAD CUSTOM MATERIALS

Try out the Keyshot cloud to download some materials that may not be in the basic library. Additionally, you can try out some third-party websites to get some more complex textures, and maps. A few websites where you can get some free content are below:

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USE PRE-SET LIGHTING

On the lighting tabs, use the preset lightings that come with Keyshot. For beginners it’s best to stick to those options, whether you are doing interior, product or jewellery use the corresponding lighting preset. Note, that interior lighting works best when you are fully in-closed in a scene, such as a room.

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TRY THE BLACK THEME

At xo3d we love our dark themes, and we have them set on most of our software. Keyshot included, try yours out if you prefer your software to be dark while working. The setting is in the preferences tab under interface. Edit > Preferences > Interface

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USE DEPTHS OF FIELD

Once your scene is set, try the depth of field button for your camera. This will add some realism to your image, by blurring out the background and keeping your subject in focus. Use the Set Focal Point button to select where you want the focus.

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USE IMAGE PINS

On the environment tab, try out some image pins, you can create them in photoshop and drag them onto your HDRI preview. Similarly, you can import them and use them to highlight your part just like you can with normal light pins, but these can allow for more detailed reflections.

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TRY USING BLACKPLATES

Instead of having plain white backgrounds or creating a full 3D scene, why not try out some backplate images. You can add them to your scene in the environments tab. Here are a few free websites you can look at to get some backplates.

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USE THE PERSPECTIVE TOOL

When you are using backplates in your scene it’s always tough to make them look like they are part of the image, that’s where the match perspective tool comes in. Allowing you to set the x,y,z locations of the image and your model. This is very sensitive so make sure you are precise.

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ADD DUST ON TOP OF YOUR MATERIALS FOR SOME REALISM

Apply a diffuse material as a label. Then use a dust texture to mask out the dust, by plugging in a texture to the opacity map. Check for some dust textures on poligon.

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KEYFRAME ANIMATIONS

Another newish addition to Keyshot is a keyframe animation, this is a game-changer for people that have been using Keyshot for a while because it makes the animations in Keyshot so much quicker and easier than before. Allowing you to easily move and rotate models in any direction for animations.

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RENDER LAYERS

If you wish to take more control over your images, once you are ready to render you should learn how to use the render layers. Bring them into photoshop and use the different masks and layers with adjustments in photoshop to make your images pop.

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TRY THE SETTLE FEATURE

If you have parts that you wish to scatter or set organically such as a pen in a pen holder, try out the settle feature. It’s quite new to Keyshot but is a great way to set your parts in place organically without having to spend time moving them to make sure they are not clashing.

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TRY THE LOWER OBJECT/GROUND FEATURE ON THE MOVE TOOL

Another handy feature is the lower object feature, it gives you the ability to move your parts to snap to lower geometry, previously in Keyshot this feature did not exist and it had to be done manually. Now with speed, you can set up your scene quickly by using these features.

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RENDER MOTION BLUR IN STILLS

Set up animations and switch on the motion blur feature, even if you are rendering a still and want to simulate some movement, you can stop your animation and the motion blur will calculate. Instead of having to do this in post-production.

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TRY GPU MODE

While beginners usually work on CPU, why not give the GPU mode a go, generally it is faster than CPU mode depending on what GPU and CPU you have. Although CPU rendering is more accurate.

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SHOW COORDINATE LEGEND

While you are moving your parts around your scene make sure you have the coordinate legend visible by pressing Z or View > Show coordinate legend. This will allow you to see which directions you might need to adjust your models too.

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TRY DENOISE BUTTON

If you are struggling with noise in your scene, after trying some of the previous optimisation techniques, why not give the denoise button a try, it will clean up the noise in your scene, but beware of using it at 100% as it does remove detail from your materials. Similarly, you can try the firefly setting to help with speckles of unwanted light.

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ADD FILLETS WITH THE ROUNDED EDGE FEATURE

To make your model more realistic you should add fillets to every edge even if it is a sharp edge, this is because nothing in real life has pure sharp edges. Either do it in your modelling software or you can try out the rounded edges button on Keyshot to help you save time.

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SHOW LIGHT SOURCES

If you have added some physical lights into your scene but you can’t see them press L on the keyboard to show your lights or View > Show light sources. This will allow you to see where your physical lights are in the scene and give you the ability to move and change the settings of the lights.

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TRY THE LIGHT MANAGER

A newish feature on Keyshot that allows you to manage all of your light sources in the scene. Once you’ve set all your lights and environments in place, the light manager is an easy place to tweak them.

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UNWRAP UV TOOL

Some software does not have the ability to unwrap IVs, such as Solidworks. UVs basically tell the software where and how to put textures on the geometry. Some materials in Keyshot require this to be set, such as real cloth. So, to fix this try out the UV unwrap tool, which is quite a new addition to Keyshot.

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TRY THE SET CAMERA TARGET BUTTON

If you are struggling to move around your scene, usually it is due to the object that the camera is set to. As a beginner, you will need to get used to setting the camera target, allowing you to easily navigate around the scene with your mouse.

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SPLIT OBJECT SURFACES TOOL

If you have imported your part from your modelling software and you find that you need to change a colour of a face or surface, but it is combined with the full part, try out the split surfaces tool that can help you get out of these situations by splitting geometry from the main body. Allowing you to change its material easily.

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SPLIT SEPARATE OBJECTS

Similarly, to the tool above, this tool allows you to split separate objects. Sometimes when you bring in parts from modelling software it has grouped all of the objects, therefore if you have separate geometry in the part that is linked in Keyshot as a singular part, this is where the split object tool comes in. Allowing you to split off parts and change materials.

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ADD IMPERFECTIONS

Add imperfections to your materials even if they are perfectly glossy materials. All materials have imperfections in real life, so add some to yours using textures and maps to increase the realism of your renders.

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ADD GROUND PLANE

Keyshot has built-in group plan geometry that you can add from the menu Edit > Add geometry > Ground Plane. This allows you to take more control over your ground, by changing the roughness and reflection value.

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WHY CHOOSE XO3D FOR YOUR
3D RENDERING PROJECT?

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SPECIALISTS IN CREATIVITY

At XO3D, the best creative minds tailor your project to bring your products to light in amazing fashion.

 
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TECHNOLOGY DRIVEN

XO3D drives by technology and continually seeks solutions to improve our workflow. From the latest software and hardware, to different strategies to complete projects faster with constant improvements on quality.

 

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ACCESSIBLE TEAM

We pride ourselves in communication and customer service. Throughout your project there will be constant updates of how we are getting on with your images. We are always at the end of a email or phone call.

 

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THE BEST EXPERIENCES

With a diverse team of artists, designers and 3D modellers. We have the perfect experience for any creative project to bring your ideas to life.

 

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SPEEDY DELIVERY

Ensuring the smoothest process. We deliver quality work on time.

 

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COMPETITIVE PRICING

Through our experience in workflow optimisation, we can give you the discounts and give you more bang for you bucks.

 

Ready to begin?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

To render an animation in KeyShot, you will need to set up your scene and animation first. Once you have done this, you can go to the Render tab and select Animation from the drop-down menu. You can then adjust the settings for your animation such as resolution, frame rate, and output format. When you are ready to Render, click the Render button and KeyShot will begin rendering your animation.

In KeyShot, you can adjust the lighting by using the Lighting tab in the Scene Setup window. Here, you can add and adjust lights, change the environment settings, and adjust the overall lighting of your scene. You can also use the Light Editor to fine-tune your lighting settings.

    1. Start by selecting the material type you want to create. KeyShot offers a variety of materials, including metals, plastics, fabrics, and more.
    2. Adjust the material properties to achieve the desired look. You can adjust the color, reflectivity, transparency, bump map, and other settings to create a realistic material.
    3. Add textures and maps to further enhance the realism of your material. Textures can be used to add details such as scratches or dirt to your material while maps can be used to add color variations or patterns.
    4. Finally, use lighting and environment settings to complete your scene and make it look even more realistic. Adjusting the lighting angle and intensity can help bring out the details in your materials while environment settings such as fog or haze can help create a more atmospheric look.