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Making of: Twin Peaks Residence

After a while, I finally got the courage to write a new post about how I create my works. This time, I bring you the renderings of Twin Peaks Residence, a project by Lim + Lu, an interior design studio from Hong Kong. My goal with this project was to recreate, as closely as possible, […]

Publish date

22 de June de 2024


Reading time

9 minutes

After a while, I finally got the courage to write a new post about how I create my works. This time, I bring you the renderings of Twin Peaks Residence, a project by Lim + Lu, an interior design studio from Hong Kong.

My goal with this project was to recreate, as closely as possible, the photos they posted on their website about the project. So I focused on making the furniture, materials, lighting and even the position and angles of the cameras as close as possible to the original images. It was as if I was playing “find the differences,” but trying to make sure there was no chance of finding any. The goal was to have it ready to post in my entry for the Rookie Awards 2022.

3D Rendering - Twin Peaks Residence

I chose this project because, although it seems simple at first glance, it has its little challenges. The biggest challenge was to make it impossible to distinguish which is the real image and which is the 3D replica. To achieve this, I had to pay a lot of attention to detail, from the textures of the materials to how the light falls on each object.

During the process, I encountered several obstacles, such as adjusting the lighting to look natural or finding the exact materials for each piece of furniture. But, in the end, each challenge overcome made the end result even more rewarding.

Data Collection and Analysis

The first thing I had to do was to choose which of all the available photos I found most interesting. In addition, they had to be easy to replicate, as I had no blueprints to capture their exact dimensions. So I had to rely on my intuition to estimate the measurements of the different elements.

For that, I chose photos that focused on the dining area. This allowed me to capture well the measurements of the different elements according to each of the cameras. They were simple enough that it didn’t take long to make the renders, yet they had that complexity of recreating the simplicity faithfully.

Original photographs of the Twin Peaks Residence by Lim + Lu

The next step was to research what furniture had been used in the original design. In this type of projects, they usually use pieces from well-known brands, especially chairs and lamps, and many of them I had already seen in previous works. So I figured out that the chairs were the Saarinen Executive Chairs by Knoll, the table lamp was the Revolve Table Lamp by Bert Frank, and the ceiling lamps were the IC Lights by Flos. As for the bench and poufs, I found references to a “Banquet Gatsby,” but not to the designer or the furniture house. And on the table and the sideboard, I couldn’t find what brand they were, so I had to imagine what they would look like, so I had to model them as I saw fit.

When I did this project, I hadn’t started my Master in Unreal Engine yet, so I used my old friends: 3ds Max for modeling, V-Ray for rendering, Substance Painter for texturing some particular things, and Adobe Lightroom for final retouching of the renders.

3D Modeling

The first thing I did when I started the project was to adjust the camera aspect ratio in V-Ray to match the reference images. That way I could make sure that there would be no distortion from not getting the size right. Then, I added the reference photo as a background and, using the “Perspective Match” tool, I started to align the different vanishing lines in their correct positions. In this way, in theory, you would get the correct camera position and values.

3D Rendering - Twin Peaks Residence - Perspective

But I could only really do this for the general image of the dining room, because the other two did not have the three vanishing points well defined, especially because they were detail images with complicated angles. So with those two I would have to be a little more creative. But for now, I would focus on the overview.

3D Rendering - Twin Peaks Residence - First Modeling

Although I had the vanishing points more or less correct, I encountered the typical problem that, when some things matched, others did not. The first thing I modeled was, obviously, the entire enclosure: walls, floors, ceilings and windows. I thought with that I could start to square the rest of the elements nicely. I was wrong. I had to make a lot of adjustments before it all started to come together.

I started modeling the objects one by one, starting with the chairs. Since the Knoll website provided measurements, front and side views, and reference images, it was not complicated for me to do so. It was fairly easy to follow these guidelines and get a model that was fairly faithful to the original, then I started on the table. I used a Box with rounded corners for the board and another Box for the leg. Then it was the turn of the windows. I didn’t want to complicate my life too much, so I made a couple of Boxes and added a plane for the crystals. This was enough to give it the look I wanted.

As I went along, I realized that keeping things simple was the best strategy. This way I could focus on the important details without getting lost in unnecessary complications. It was a fun and satisfying process to see how each element was taking shape and fitting into the whole.

3D Rendering - Twin Peaks Residence - Modeling

For both the poufs and the bench, I had the problem that I could not find those models in any furniture store. The only thing I found was a reference to “Banquet Gatsby” on 3DSky. The model that was there didn’t really convince me, so I decided to model it myself based on those images and the reference photos. It was a little more work, but I was happier with the result.

Regarding the curtains, I used Creation Baumann ‘s Arno 710 curtains that they have at Dimensiva. I found them perfect for what I needed. It was great to be able to find something that fit so well without having to make too many adjustments. In the end, everything came together little by little and I really liked how the whole thing was coming together.

3D Rendering - Twin Peaks Residence - Modeling

The next thing I had to model was the sideboard. Analyzing it well, I realized that it had quite simple shapes, so it wasn’t very complicated. Also, I already had the table lamp from previous projects, which saved me quite a bit of time.

For the ceiling lights and scissors that appeared in the detail images, I also got lucky and found them at Dimensiva. I modeled the two trays with basic shapes, and added a chamfer to the hexagonal one to give it that polished marble look when texturing.

Finally, to give the feeling that the space was in a city and on a high floor, as in the original project, I made a basic railing and used Boxes to simulate the volumes of the exterior buildings. As these were not going to be seen much, a basic texture and some light effects would be enough to make them look good.

3D Rendering - Twin Peaks Residence - Modeling


The texturing of this project was not overly complicated. Most of the materials are tileable, which allowed me to test several textures to see which one best suited my needs. The most important thing was that each material was interesting enough not to look flat. I also needed them to be as close as possible to the original photos.

I differentiated the following tileable materials: walls, white marble, brass, dark wood, light wood, parquet, painted aluminum, glass, water, red upholstery and buildings.

For the golden metal of the sideboard and the table base, I added a Noise in the Normal Map to give it those little ripples or imperfections that metal plates usually have. No matter how perfect these surfaces are, they always have some detail of imperfection that gives them that realism.

The only object that needed non tileable UVs was the small jade marble tray where the scissors are resting. I found the perfect material in Substance Painter and, with a couple of tweaks, it was ready to use.

To find out if the materials were perfect, I had to start rendering tests with the right lighting. In this way, I could see if reflections, roughness and refractions (where applicable) were adequate.

Lighting and Rendering

At first, the lighting for this scene seemed fairly straightforward. If we look at it, only light from the outside enters. However, it is a diffused light, which means that the sun is not shining directly on the window, so the shadows should be soft and not too strong. Looking at the reference images, I noticed that there was no emissive object, which makes our job a little easier.

The first thing I did was to put an AreaLight in the window, covering the entire gap. This would be my main light. As it is a light that tries to imitate daylight, its color must be white. With this, I got the lighting base I needed to make everything look natural and well integrated.

To continue with the lighting, I added a VraySun with its VraySky. To make the shadows more diffuse, I increased the size of the sun by adjusting the Size Multiplier until I got a result I liked. This would make the shadows softer and more natural.

In addition, I created a Dome Light and added as texture map the VraySky that was created with the sun. This helped me to achieve subtle reflections on various surfaces, which adds more realism to the scene. Reflections help to better define the silhouette of some objects and give them more depth. With these adjustments, the overall lighting was much more convincing and in line with the reference images.


Comparison and Final Adjustments

Considering that the overall image of the dining room was almost ready, I only had to make some minor adjustments to the cameras of the two detail images. I had to play a lot with the position of the cameras and their settings to get views as close as possible to the reference images. In addition, I removed the wooden tray with the glasses and added the marble tray with the scissors. On the other hand, in one of the images the ceiling lamp was not visible, so I had to duplicate one of them, scale it, and position it in the correct location to make it look like in the reference image.

Once the views, lighting and all the objects were ready, I did some small render tests to see how everything looked in postprocessing. As I liked the overall result of the default renders quite well, I only corrected the Highlights a little bit so that some areas didn’t look burnt and, from time to time, I did a little color retouching with Lightroom. It was such a minor adjustment that it was barely noticeable, but it helped give it that finishing touch.


In my opinion, this project has been a good practice to try to recreate some existing images made by a professional photographer. Analyzing the composition of the scenes, the lights, the camera positions and how the lighting affects the different surfaces is an excellent exercise to learn and improve in the creation of renders. Every detail, no matter how small, is important to give it that realism that makes us doubt whether what we are seeing is a photograph or a 3D recreation.

I am sure that everything I have learned during this express project will help me to make better images in the future. I have always sought to achieve maximum realism in my work, and this experience has been very valuable to me.

If you have made it this far, thank you very much for your time. I hope you liked the process of creating my renderings of the Twin Peaks Residence by Lim + Lu. See you in the next post!

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