Trouble highlighting small cabinetry details in Blender

I like to use Blender on a very basic level. I import my sketchup file, add some lights and cameras, and then screenshot the renders and send them to clients for concepts.

The problem I’m having is when I do 5pc shaker style cabinets the detail on the panels doesn’t show up in the render. I’ve tried making the panel deeper, I’ve tried darkening just the color of the panel to add a faux shadow, I’ve messed with a bunch of the blender lights and light settings, and it’s still not giving me what I want.

Here’s an example of the SU file vs the Blender render:

This isn’t really a SketchUp question. It has to do with the way you set up the materials and lights for rendering. In reality there would be little radii on the edges of the various parts that would reflect light. You need to do something like that in your render.

I sometimes use hidden line exports from SketchUp as overlays in rendered images to simulate that sort of thing. I did that here to show the joins between the rails and stiles.

Another thing that would help is if your textures were applied with the correct grain orientation. You have the grain on the rails of the doors 90° out. The grain should run the length of the part.

Did you add a small bevel to the edges of the details on the panels?

The first two top drawers have simple edges, and the two bottom drawers have slightly beveled edges

Select the panel > Edit Mode > Ctrl + B (bevel)

Hm, if I did that it was a mistake. I didn’t even know that was possible. Would that help highlight those joints?

I was hoping this was an issue I could solve in my SU file instead of on the Blender side since I use Blender for fluff and SU for the meat and potatoes.

So the hidden line imports is a post-SU step, right? Like within Blender or like PhotoShop?

In the past I’ve tried to rotate textures and nothing happens. I’ve tried to even rotate the jpg texture square and make a new material and it still displays the way I don’t want it.

Use Round Corner or FredoCorner to add bevel to edges in SketchUp.

Basically. It’s an image export from SketchUp with just black lines and white background. In some cases, if I want to imply highlights on edges I invert the image in the image editor so it’s white lines on black. Of course the camera position must be the same between the SketchUp export and the render. I use Kerkythea. It uses the scene I’ve established in SketchUp for the camera position so this is almost a no brainer.

I expect you are applying your textures to the component/group containers instead of to the faces. If you apply the materials to the faces you can rotate them as appropriate. No need for vertical and horizontal versions of your materials. You can do this with only native tools. No need for extensions, either.

Here’s another example where I used a hidden line export from SketchUp as an overlay on a rendered image. The black lines are not entirely realistic but they do help to show there are different pieces and also indicate shadow lines around the drawer front and the tray.

Here’s an example where there highlights on the rocking horse because of the tiny radiused edges.

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If you Google lighting, rendering and shadows, study a bit, one will find sharp edges are bad for the final product.

And it’s likely the Blender routine you are using can add bevels to the edges with the right settings. A little bevel has a big effect in these cases, and some renderers have bevel functions, but I often use Round Corner on my cabinet models if I am going to be rendering them. Dave’s last picture is a good example.

FWIW, while the small radii on the edges would be more realistic, I usually don’t do that except on smaller projects like the rocking horse. It’s faster and easier to do the post processing to show that sort of thing.

At 3-D Basecamp in 2018 somebody [I forget whom] mentioned that if you put a deep groove [say, 1/4" width or a little more x 3/4" deep] between the drawers and other exposed faces – then you will get shadow lines no matter the details of the rendering engine. Makes sense – as long as you’re not preparing to fabricate parts off the model or anything – as long as you’re viewing the cabinet or furniture from a few feet away. Graphic exaggeration can be advantageous in many ways. Back in the days of hand drawing we used to draw in slight offsets that weren’t really there, in order for lines in the same plane to stand out more – helped to not get items like grid lines, dimension lines, etc. to be confused with parts of the building or object.

That’s true. It can be. Of course it depends on what you need from the model. If you are also expecting to get accurately dimensioned shop drawings, those large gaps between drawers or doors and face frames can be problematic.

For sure! In the original post, seems like they are trying to get the stiles and rails, panels and gaps between drawers/doors to read at a distance – and not using the model for fabrication drawings. Guessing.

Yeah. I only guessed the other way but of course that’s based on what I use SketchUp for. Maybe he’s only trying to make pretty pictures.

BTW, you do some nice work.

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