Currently blending – RenderStreet graphics


These days I am getting outside my usual line of work with some renders that are on the graphical side of 3d art. As I have written before, I am involved with RenderStreet: a growing online render farm developed by a team of close friends (..and family). Now I am going to produce some new graphics for the website as there has been a lot of work involved in building this but the graphics part was a bit left behind. One thing we agreed upon is that any graphical work, including the logo, will be entirely rendered in Blender. This way all visitors to the site could immediately feel at home! The project is called RenderStreet and I am an architect, so a little architectural imagery is bound to pop up (though I have a secret page layout in preparation that will escape the archviz curse and bring a little more fun. I’ll make that the topic of a future post).

For today though, I have been preparing a banner type image to use for presentation on other sites, and the task was to cram some practical written information inside a neat 3d image. I decided to go ahead with the street sign idea from the Logo (that’s also mine) and started to look around for some inspiration. I soon found an image I really loved and this look suited my project to perfection.

Next I had to decide how to compose my image and get everything inside. One thought was to get a blurred photograph for the building and use the compositor, but I didn’t have a suitable image and I also thought I would get better results if I model the background and make the image all in one piece. This way there is problem of matching perspectives, I could adjust the composition of the building as I pleased, and I could use the camera depth of field in Cycles, something I longed to do! As the building was to be blurred, it didn’t need a lot of correct detail, just a nice array of one window with some detailing around it. You can see I was having fun with this if you look closely in the sharp version, lower right corner!

The scene is this, all in one piece, ready to press render:

The street signs are the little black thing closer to the camera.

I wasn’t sure where to put the version numbers and decided to place them on the building – like they were painted there or something – only they got blurred with the rest of it and didn’t read well anymore. If I blurred less – my special look was gone. So I placed them floating in the air closer to the camera at a point where they get blurred a bit but not so much. This could have been done better I’m sure but I think works well for this one.

I still have to work a lot on my Cycles materials. I mixed macaroni of glossy and diffuse shaders with image textures and noise textures in a “OK.. now let’s try this” fashion, but can’t do decent bump mapping or speculars yet and I feel the image looses realism this way. But I got the contrast and feel I wanted and I’m happy for now. I added some wires in the out of focus area to… distract from the materials… sigh. The light comes from an environmental texture, a sun lamp and an emitting mesh you can’t see in the image but adds a highlight on the building. I also edited the render outside Blender a bit and was tempted to add film grain – only who is crazy enough to add grain over a perfectly clear Cycles render?!

The banner is now on Blender Network and I think it suits their page design too. OK, I’m also advertising RenderStreet, our pet project, but I hope you enjoyed the post nevertheless and found some inspiration here. I would love to get your feedback on this 🙂

Have a nice blending day!

  • I have to say I love the look and idea. The street sign is an obvious choice for the logo and banner, but the old time feel and semi sepia is PERFECTION. Good to see you are stretching you artistic wings!

  • William

    Hello Oana!
    I recently started to use the RenderStreet service. For me, as my PC is not too good for render and takes a long time, that service is a great solution.
    About your logo idea, it’s a good inspiration for us, new 3D users. If possible, give us more about the materials setup!!! It’s amazing!


  • Thanks for pointing me to RenderStreet.

    Two points:
    1. the estimator requires to input two values in step 4. Why is that?
    2. the render time may depend heavily on RAM, if you remember the nature academy. With 8 GB RAM, a scene may render 5 hours while with 16 GB RAM it takes only 15 minutes. It’s far from linear. The server configuration does not define the amount of RAM.

    Thanks, Thomas

  • Oana

    Hi Thomas!
    Sorry I’m a bit late in answering this, I was away and wasn’t expecting renderstreet feedback on this thread anymore. Here is the official team answer 🙂

    1. the values on the step 4 are:
    – how long it took for our file to render on your machine: this helps figure out how much faster our servers are
    – how long it took for one frame of your project to render on your machine: this, together with the first parameter, will help figure out how long a frame will take to render on our farm
    – how many frames you have to render: this will be used to compute the total animation cost

    2. The memory is not specified because the servers have enough RAM to render almost any project. On the GPU ones system RAM is not important, since the rendering is done on the GPU. On the CPU servers, they have at least 64GB of RAM.

    Hope this answers your question!