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Paco Barruguer: ‘It is the post-production that gives the image the life and magic it needs’

3D artist Paco Barruguer creates photorealistic renderings for a host of different clients. He talks us through creating architectural and product visualisations and how Affinity Photo aids his post-production process.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a 3D artist.

My name is Paco Barruguer and I am from Burriana, Spain. I’m happily married, and we have a lovely 7-month old baby.

I started with 3D in 2017, when I discovered Blender. I worked as a graphic designer in a ceramic tile company, and we commissioned 3D videos of product installations, but a lot of the time these products were modified, then we needed to change the videos. For this reason, I decided to learn some 3D software—if I learned 3D, we could change the videos ourselves. Fortunately, I tried Blender, and I loved it. From that moment, I began to study 3D and Blender.

For the last two years, I combined my work in the company with that of freelance, but now I dedicate 100% of my time to working for myself.

What do you love most about creating 3D visualisations?

I love that people like and appreciate my work, and that they say, “it looks like a photo!” My client’s satisfaction is the best feeling I can have about my work.

Where do you look for inspiration for your work?

I look for inspiration all day on Instagram, Pinterest, decoration magazines, etc. I always try to get ideas from real photos.

Can you give us an overview of how you create a 3D visualisation from start to finish?

Yes, normally I follow these steps:

  • Model the base building/room structure
  • Add the camera position
  • Configure the world/scene illumination
  • Add the structure materials (floor, walls, roof, doors, etc.)
  • Add the decoration assets (if needed, I model them)
  • Render
  • Post-production
Does your process differ between architectural, interior, and product renders?

Yes, the product render needs a better mesh for 3D objects. Normally I render detail frames, and I need the mesh to be free of artefacts. I need higher resolution textures too, and the lighting must be more precise. On the other hand, for interior scenes, I can use models with a slightly poorer mesh, and textures with less resolution. I can also play more with the post-production, adding effects like smoke, dust, dirt, etc.

How well does Affinity Photo fit into your workflow?

Perfectly. The last step is always to work on the render in Affinity Photo.

What are your typical post-processing steps for creating renderings?

I work with the renders with the alpha channel and without background. The first step I make in Affinity Photo is to add a background and adjust it to fit in the scene. After comes the levels, curves, saturation, colour correction, etc., and finally, I add some effect overlays like smoke, dust and flashes.

Do you feel post-production is an important stage in creating 3D art?

I think it is essential. There is a belief that a good render does not need post-production. I think this is false. It is the post-production that gives the image the life and magic it needs.

“There is a belief that a good render does not need post-production. I think this is false. It is the post-production that gives the image the life and magic it needs.”

Do you have any post-production tips for achieving realistic results?

Yes, here are some tips:

  • If the interior looks fine, the outside should have a high exposure
  • Always desaturate the image a bit
  • To use a background with the sun in the same direction as in the render
  • Perfect images do not exist. If your image is too perfect, it will not look realistic
What would you say is the most challenging aspect of 3D visualisation?

The image composition and choosing the right colours and materials—these must be in harmony.

Out of all the visualisations you’ve created, which are you most proud of and why?

Of my published images, maybe these two:

This one because I think it is very realistic and it is a scene that makes you want to be there. That’s is a good sign.

And this other one, because it has a very cosy atmosphere and gives me peace of mind.

Finally, do you have any goals for the future or a dream project you would love to work on?

I would love to be able to choose projects that I have more time to work on and thus be able to enjoy them. Normally all clients are in a hurry and you don’t have time to focus on details that do not convince you. That’s it, to be able to select my projects.

To view more of Paco’s work, check out his website You can also find him on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch and Artstation.