How to Make Really Bad CG

Tips to Help You Create the Worst 3D Renders of Your Life

Listen up everyone, because this is the article you've all been waiting for!

In this piece we're getting down and dirty and going through some sure-fire ways to help you make some of the worst renders you can possibly dream of.

Follow these eight simple steps, and I promise you your work will look worse than ever. Take my word for it—these techniques will help you create enough awful, last-gen renders to last you three lifetimes. Enjoy!

01
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Never, Ever Use Reference

Designer holding head in front of computer
andresr/Getty Images

Professional artists never use reference, and neither should you! Reference will only hold you back—why would you need to look at physically accurate anatomy when you can just make it up in your head?

Good design is never based in reality, so forget the reference. You're better than that.

02
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Don't Bevel Edges

Because let's face it, dented, worn edges that catch light properly are overrated. Beveling edges to make them physically accurate will only make your images more photo-realistic, so avoid it like the plague. There's only one way to go for bad CG—clean and pristine!

Keep your edges razor sharp and you'll have terrible looking renders in no time flat.

03
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White Lights and Hard Shadows Only

Don't let your eyes deceive you, colored light is a myth—pure unadulterated white is the way to go.

Using warm yellows or cool blues will add atmosphere and drama to your render, and will prevent you from reaching your worst potential. Keep it clinical—stick with white.

As for shadows, I think it pretty much goes without saying that if you want your image to fail as miserably as possible, it's critical for every shadow to be hard-edged and pure black.

If you start seeing soft, realistic shadows in your image, you're doing it all wrong.

04
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Turn Off Anti-Aliasing

Why on earth would you want to increase your render time in exchange for beautiful, crisp images? Turn off anti-aliasing and you'll have a final image full of jagged edges and render artifacts!

And never use Mitchell sampling—that would just be silly.

05
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Make Sure Your Texture Seams Are Visible

Obvious texture seams are a foolproof way to make bad CG, so make sure when you unwrap your models, you put the seams right where everyone can see them.

If you plan to use a tiling texture without any seams, make sure everyone can immediately tell that it's tiling. Nothing says bad CG like a texture that repeats over, and over, and over, and...

06
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Focus on Detail, Not Form

Who cares what the overall form and silhouette of your model looks like as long as you've got millions of awesome surface details! Your image doesn't have to be readable, it just has to make people say, "man that must have taken forever."

Simplicity is never the answer.

07
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Make Your Renders Spotless

I don't care if you're modeling a race car or a war zone—if your textures aren't perfectly clean, I don't want to see 'em. Remember, dirt, scratches, and randomness rarely appear in the real world, so why should they be in your render?

Everything must be perfectly clean!

08
of 08

Subdivide Immediately

This one is specifically for the ZBrush/Mudbox users out there.

Lumpy models are awesome! Working at a low subdivision level will help you sculpt smooth, organic surfaces, so make sure you subdivide your model as quickly as possible and never look back.

Oh, ZBrush's trimAdaptive, trimDynamic, and hPolish brushes? Those are just there to confuse you.

But What If I Want To Make Good CG?

 

Well, I can't imagine why you'd want to do that, but if for some reason you'd like to make good CG, re-read this article and then simply do the opposite!