In this tutorial, originally published on the Sketchfab blog as "Sketchfab Archvis workflow based on Vray baked textures," Tarek Adhami guides you through the full workflow required to take your 3D Model, render it with Vray and upload to Sketchfab.
It does not matter what software you use to model your objects since what I am going to show you can be applied to other applications that Vray (or any similar rendering plugin) can support. In this example I used 3ds Max and Marvelous Designer for modeling and Vray for lighting and texturing.
Modeling the scene
Modeling is a huge subject and it’s really hard to cover every modeling step, but here you have some issues that you need to take into consideration while you are modeling your objects.
Delete all the faces that are not visible to the viewer (things like the the sofas back and the table bottom) as shown in the images below.This will give you faster rendering time and a better texture resolution.
Avoid high density models and always try to optimize. You want your Sketchfab model to run smoothly on most computers and also it is easier to unwrap later on.
Always remember to check your normals make sure that the face directions are correct.
Grouping and Unwrapping
In this phase we will start by adding the textures and not worry much about the tiling, since it is going change after unwrapping the objects.
After, you need to attach all parts of each individual object together, and always give them easy recognizable names (Small Table / Chair / Sofa / Sofas pillows / Books / Carpet ). (Each color indicates one object).
For the walls, the floor and the ceiling we need to deattach the inner faces and forget about the outers, only the inner faces are going to be baked and taken to Sketchfab. (Green inner / red outer)
Here are settings that I used to unwrap my objects:
After unwrapping the objects you need to edit the tiling from the materials editor:
Baking the textures
Baking the textures can take a long time to render. In most cases fixing the issues afterwards will take you a lot of time, so here are some things that you need to take into consideration before baking your textures.
After setting up all the lighting, render some clear shots for the whole space and make sure that every corner is covered and looks right:
- Before you start baking the textures make sure to turn off the Ambient occlusion, it will not give good results when it comes to baking.
- If you are using physical camera, make sure that you are in the physical camera display.
- Do not bake all the objects together, do some tests first.
The larger the object is the bigger the texture must be: 2048 x 2048 for walls, floor, ceiling; 1024 x 1024 for large furniture, table, sofa, lamp; 768 x 768 for small furniture; and 512 x 512 for accessories.
Note that you can go higher depending on computer power, but keep in mind that very large texture maps can also slow down the display inside the Sketchfab viewer so try to stay within the range shown above.
Here are some important settings:
Try to match the baked textures names with the objects names - it will make things easier in Sketchfab.
Here are some example of how the baked textures will look:
Jpg format works pretty well especially with medium quality, as it gives high resolution and small file size.
Before uploading to Sketchfab
- Copy all the baked objects to a new file and do these few adjustments.
- Put the rendering settings in the new file on default / standard.
- Make sure that the baked textures in the material editor are in standard settings.
- The scene must looks almost identical to the Vray rendered image that you rendered previously:
- Put the self illumination on 100 because this is how the objects are going to look inside Sketchfab:
- Feel free to adjust your baked materials inside photoshop.
- Export the file as FXB, as it works well with Sketchfab.
- Put the baked materials and the FXB file in a .zip or a .rar file.
There are many options that you can play with that will polish your work even more:
Bloom and tone mapping:
You can even add reflection glossiness and bump effects to your textures using the same baked materials:
Metallic/reflective textures are also easy to get inside Sketchfab:
Sketchfab is a very powerful tool when it comes to archvis, and it will give you that little bit extra after you’re done working on your scene. With one extra day, I would say, you can create a fully rendered 3D scene file, that is easy to share, runs smoothly on most PCs, and ready to launch with devices.
You can apply this technique on your old projects but make sure to follow the steps above carefully by:
- Making sure that your models are low density, have no unseen faces, and easy to unwrap.
- Managing your objects in groups with clear names.
- Unwrapping your objects.
- Baking the textures using the right settings especially when it comes to the texture size.
- Starting a new file that contains the baked objects only and the baked textures assigned correctly to the objects.
- Uploading to Sketchfab.
I hope that this article can helps you using Sketchfab for your archvis, and I’m looking forward to see what you guys can do.
Tarek Adhami was born in Damascus, Syria and lives in Örebro, Sweden. He studied architecture in Syria and graduated as an architectural engineer. His experience is in architectural visualization, having worked as a concept artist for animated television shows.