Fitting Your Design Into Environment


It’s a very common scenario: you have designed a building and now want to present the way it would look in its real-life surroundings. A summary of the required workflow would be:

Here’s this workflow in detail, step-by-step

Download The Tutorial Files

As always, we’ll start by downloading the files required for this tutorial.

Download Tutorial Files (1.8Mb .zip)

Getting Started: Sketch What You Want To Make

I can’t emphasize enough how important is to have a sketch that will guide your process. For this tutorial, this is basically the image we want to make:


It doesn’t make a particularly good composition, but it will work for the purpose of this tutorial.

How To Show Background Image In Rhino

Before we get into details, I’d emphasize the importance of using the correct image size. For that, you need to first set the correct image size in the rendering (Render Properties, as before) as well as crop the background image to exactly the same size.

For this tutorial, we’ll use a small 640x480px image size so that it could render quickly.

Adjust The Perspective To Fit The Background

Next natural step is to modify our perspective view so that the building “sits naturally” in its surrounding which is seen in a background photo. While there is a very elaborate set of tools to ensure the perfect fit, they are mostly not appropriate for most of the situations, and we can almost always get good results by doing it “by eye”.

One thing: remember that it was always important to make the viewport the same proportion as the final rendered image, so that we can see the same thing in the viewport as what will come out in the render? When we have a background image, it makes this process a little easier, as long as we cropped the photo correctly.

Save View To Named Views

If you ever worked in Rhino, you noticed that is very easy to move the camera and change perspective by accident. This can be a huge problem when working on image compositing, because you will need to render several different images (more on that in the next tutorial) for exactly the same view.
In order to prevent us from messing up the view, it is very important to save it as a “Named View” – this way if we move the camera, we simply select the Named View we saved and the camera will go back into place:

Adjusting Lighting To The Background Photo

Finally,we need to identify the lighting conditions of the background photo. Where the Sunlight is coming from? Is there any Sunlight at all? We need to adjust the lighting in our Rhino file so that the Sun is coming from the same direction (or turn it off if there’s no Sun and visible sharp shadows in the original photo).

Rendering The Image With The Background

If we not hit Render Preview, to see how it looks, we’ll see that the background stays the same one-color as before:


So here’s how to put the same background to the rendering (hint: just turn on “Wallpaper” option in Render Properties):

Note: In this video you’ve seen that we turned off the glass layer completely and rendered the view without the glass. You will see why we’ve done that in the next tutorial:

Next Tutorial

Rendering Layer Masks (for Photoshop) In Rhino
Using Layer Masks to manage visibility is an essential Photoshop technique, but cutting out the masks is painful and time consuming. Luckily we can easily prepare them in Rhino.


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