Software & Apps Design Finishing a 3D Render: Color Grading, Bloom, and Effects A post production checklist for CG artists by Justin Slick Writer Former Lifewire writer Justin Slick has been creating 3D computer graphics for more than 10 years, specializing in character and environment creation. our editorial process Justin Slick Updated on October 24, 2020 Design 3D Design Animation & Video Graphic Design Tweet Share Email Once you're done touching up your 3D render, the final phase of post-processing focuses on color grading and adding lens effects. These instructions apply to 3D rendering in Photoshop, but the same techniques can be applied with GIMP, Lightroom, or any other graphic editing software. Dial-In Your Contrast and Color Grading Experiment to familiarize yourself with Photoshop's various adjustment layers (Brightness/Contrast, Levels, Curves, Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, etc.). Adjustment layers are non-destructive, so you should never be afraid to push things as far as possible. One of our favorite color-grading solutions is the gradient tool, which is an excellent way to add warm/cool color contrast and harmonize your color palette. Lightroom has a lot of options and presets for photographers that Photoshop doesn't give you access to. Likewise for Nuke and After Effects. How to Add a Light Bloom Effect The light bloom effect adds dramatic impact to a scene. It works well for interior shots with big windows, but the technique can really be extended to any scene where you really want little patches of light to jump off the screen. Create a duplicate of your render. Place it on the top layer of your composition, then go to Image > Adjustments > Levels. Drag both sliders to the left until the entire image is black except for the highlights. Change the layer mode to Overlay. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and add some blur to the layer. Adjust the layer Opacity to scale back the effect to your liking. Add Chromatic Abberation and Vignetting Chromatic aberration and vignetting are forms of lens distortion that are produced by imperfections in real-world cameras and lenses. Because CG cameras have no imperfections, chromatic aberration and vignetting will not be present in a render unless you add them yourself. It's a common mistake to go overboard on vignetting and chromatic aberration, but they can work wonders when used subtly. To create these effects in Photoshop, go to Filter > Lens Correction and play with the sliders until you achieve an effect you're happy with. Add Noise and Film Grain Grain can give your image a very cinematic look and help sell your image as photorealistic. There are certain shots where noise or grain might be out of place, so if you're going for a super-clean look, this is something you may want to leave out.