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The Art of Rendering: How to Create a Cotton Candy Rendering Using Rhino and V-Ray

Ex-OMA and BIG intern Bennett Oh is the creator of Archi Hacks, the popular Youtube channel dedicated to Architecture visualization, portfolio and design tips and tricks for students and professionals.

Embarking on a new decade might be the perfect time to experiment with new rendering techniques. Photos-realistic renderings will always have their place in our industry, but we could use a bit of whimsical, imagination-stirring images in conceptual phases to get the creative juices flowing. The secret sauce to what I call ‘cotton candy’ aesthetic is comprised of Render ID and Normal map channels.

Normal map is one of render channels typically used to re-light the 3D model on a third party software. The element assigns a unique RGB value to different directions each surface is oriented. The Render ID Render Element assigns random RGB values to each object in the scene to allow for convenient selection regardless of other factors in the scene.

As an unintended side effect, both render elements produce captivating graphics that we will harness to add new flair to today’s rendering.

Before we get started, you’ll need:

  • 3D model
  • 3D software
  • Render engine

*This demonstration uses Rhino and V-Ray

1. Open your 3D model in your software. Apply basic textures and setup lighting.

cotton candy rendering

2. In the render asset editor, add the following render elements: “Render ID” and “Geometry Normal”.

cotton candy rendering

3. Hit the render button and make sure to save all channels as separate files.

4. Compile RGB, Render ID, and Geometry normal maps as layers in an image editor.

5. Set the blending mode to Color for both Render ID and Geometry Normal.

6. Mask out the Render ID and brush in selective areas back for variation.

7. Add background and additional textures to finish!

We encourage readers to think outside the box and experiment with different render elements to come up with their own fusion images.

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