image contrast

Image Contrast

Catch the attention of your audience.

Image Contrast is one of the most effective ways to catch the attention of your audience and convey your message.

In this article you can learn 7 real-time features for Image Contrast, that will enable you to reach stunning contrasts for your scene. Let’s do just a step back to explain what image contrast is and why it’s suggested.

What does Image Contrast mean?

Image Contrast occurs by combining opposite elements.

There are several types of contrast. It could be physical if related to a combination of different colors, tones, structures, materials, textures and so on. And conceptual as well, by bringing together opposite ideas like sad and happy, old and young, fake and true. Another fundamental parameter to define a contrast is the intensity because higher contrast will give your scene a total different touch, than a lower contrast.

As you can imagine, in rendering and in photography too, the possibilities of combinations and degrees are countless.

Why learn Image Contrast?

Image Contrast is a powerful tool to convey the mood and the story you want to share through your artwork.

In order to be sure to show exactly what you want to show, it is extremely important to know some basic rules about it. Every scene has a natural potential for storytelling, but sometimes it’s just as easy to waste it.

Image contrasts could be physical and conceptual, depending on what you combine. In this picture, the contrast is multiple: cold and warm colors, dark and bright areas, human and abstract subjects, fractured and linear surfaces.

Real-time Features to Make the Difference

The wordplay here is inevitable and extremely true.

In real-time rendering, all you see, while creating, is exactly how it looks like after rendering. Your workflow has no interruptions, because immediate feedback are delivered in a few seconds per frame.

While searching for the best contrast, it’s really useful to have a fast result to understand if you are on the right path or if you need to adjust something.

Here we have selected 7 real-time features for you that will help you create amazing contrasts for your scenes.

1. Volumetrics

  • Structural contrast: different depths in your scene.
  • Tonal contrast: playing with shadow density, you can reach a difference between the dark and bright areas of your scene.
example of volumetric contrast

An example of contrasts made with volumetrics.

2. Light Types – Ambient Occlusion

  • Tonal contrast: you can set different types of light intensity.
  • Color contrast: It’s a great way to make a subject pop out from the rest of the scene, to highlight it.

3. Shadows

  • Tonal contrast: using shadows you can emphasize the disparity between light and darkness.

4. Materials

  • Tonal contrast.
  • Color contrast.
  • Quality contrast: the combination of regular and irregular shapes.
  • Textural contrast: you can achieve this type of contrast with several material features like for example Glossiness / Roughness, Subsurface Scattering, Normal and Bump.
U-Render Real-time

Materials can help you to create several contrasts in the same scene.

5. Displacement Maps

  • Structural contrast: Displacement Maps permits you to change the structure and shapes of your surfaces without affecting the geometry of it.
  • Textural contrast: based on the texture you select, you can displace the shading of the object, without influencing the geometry. You can have different textures, even if it costs a bit of performance, but using a displacement map is much faster compared to making the same result with geometry only.

6. Depth of Field

  • Textural contrast: you can use DOF to soften the background or to blur the foreground by generating a contrast between the subject and the setting.

7. Post-processing Curves

  • Color contrast: With this feature you have total color control
  • Tonal contrast: Post-processing curves allow you to use different color ranges.
complementary colors

How complementary colors can create a color contrast.


As 3D artist, contrast is a fundamental component of your scene. It helps you to convey a mood or a message to the audience. The types of contrasts are several, and you can combine them as you prefer, depending on the story you want to tell.

The advantage of real-time technology is the immediacy of feedback you receive while creating. A noise-free result is delivered in a few seconds every time you make a change, boosting your creativity and accelerating your decision-making.

Keep Learning

Subscribe to the U-Render YouTube Channel if you want to know more specific details about real-time rendering and other related topics.

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