White turns grey


I’m trying to set some standard preset options for lighting and render for my kitchen interior models. Basically, what I have is simple room scenarios with floor and ceiling and a few walls where there are kitchen furniture etc… As I only use the renders to show the kitchen interiors, I never model the entire room with complete walls, windows, interior lighting etc.

I have found it difficult to get the final results as I want them to be, and though the images generally get close to a good result, the main problem is that the white colour on the furniture often looks too grey. I have tried to search the web for ideas, and the most common answer is to change brightness/burn while rendering, but that won’t do the trick for me. Materials made of metal already look too bright to start with, and I’m generally pleased with the contrasts - it’s just that the white won’t look white!

I managed to get a pretty ok result with one of my models:

But when using the same lighting conditions in another model I just can’t get any better than this:

The materials should be the same or very similar, and I just don’t know how to deal with this one. Even when I increase brightness way beyond what I want to use, the undertone is still a grey - not white.

Thanks for any help!

nXt applies a ‘tone mapping’ to the render to prevent tedious lighting adjustments but in the case of white surfaces I agree it can be too grey. I’d suggest increasing the value of the white in the material to say 225 or there abouts. I tend to avoid a full 255 or 0 for that matter in any renderer. Then do a test render and adjust the burn as you mentioned. Give it a few seconds and then lock the exposure if it looks good in contrast to the other objects in the scene. Now when you render again the exposure value will be used each time. This is working fairly well here in my stellar cabinet model… attached.

nXt_WhiteWhites.3dm (472.4 KB)

I see that maybe I forgot to mention that the material I use is almost completely white, and the model gives the same result if I use 100% white! I think it may have something to do with the lighting settings I use, but it seems to me like it doesn’t matter what I change - the result is always turning out too grey!

I understand that too bad lighting could cause the white to look grey, but what annoys me is that my model doesn’t look like white in bad lighting - it looks grey! The metal parts in sink and handles etc can have plenty of light (see handles to the right in my last picture), but the cabinets still look grey. I just can’t understand why, it is as if Flamingo just won’t allow surfaces to look really white to me…

Basically, what I’m looking for in the end result is not a photo realistic image, but rather an evenly lit image displaying correct colours with a little bit of life to it… I guess what I want is to have a quite strong ambient light, combined with a little light from sky/sun plus a few spotlights I position out. I would like the settings to give me similar results for different models, even if some rooms would be darker than other (hence why I think some strong ambient light would be needed). Problem is, I just don’t get how to fix these conditions and none of the preset lighting conditions get me anywhere near to where I want to go.

I’ll post a link to the model in question, in case someone would like to take a look at it… The layers are unfortunately named in Swedish, but I think you’ll get a grip on it anyways.

Is there anyone who has a trick on how to make white look white without having tons of light? Every time I actually manage to get my models white, they just end up having too strong highlights etc… Is there any way I can change how a white colour looks in low lighting?

I made a couple of test images to illustrate my problem. I made them by simply opening up Rhino and using standard materials and preset lighting (no adjustments at all). Materials used are Ivory Matte (a Solid White colour) for wooden work, concrete top and steel handles.

Image 1 is with no adjustments in brightness/burn:

The steel looks bright, the concrete is ok, but the wood looks decidedly grey. Not white in low light - GREY.

Image 2 is with adjustments in brightness/burn:

Now the wood looks kind of like I want it, but the steel is reeeeally bright and the concrete looks ridiculous…

Is there any way to work around this or am I screwed with Flamingo? Please tell me I’m not…

AH! I finally think I managed to fix it… By changing the colour of the steel handles to a slightly darker grey, they exposure does not get so messed up while adding more burn! Now I’m finally able to get somewhere :smile:

Hi Josua,

It sounds like you’ve found a workflow but let me know if you still need any help. You can always send files into tech@mcneel.com to my attention as well. Tone mapping will ‘look’ at all the materials in the image so adding a ground plane would further change the settings you’d need to use. My sample didn’t have the metal material in it which is probably why I didn’t get the same result.

@scottd may be able to say if future versions of nXt will allow disabling of the auto tone mapper.