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20 Quick KeyShot Tips

Get More out of KeyShot with These Great Tips

A lot of people gravitate to KeyShot because it’s one of the fastest digital design software packages around.

It’s not only the speed that architects love. KeyShot is also easy to use. You can create all sorts of great models and visuals using this software. It’s also a great rendering software tool. Not even V-Ray can match KeyShot when it comes to pure rendering speed.

Over time, you will develop your skills and come up with a few ways to make your workflow more efficient. After all, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels because of the efficiency of the software. There’s always more you can learn.

These tips will prove useful whether you’re a KeyShot newbie or you’ve been using the software for a while.


Tip #1 – Use the KeyShot Cloud

Cloud computing has given the architectural sector so much. Digital design software like Revit use the cloud to allow for more collaboration in projects.

KeyShot does things a little differently, but it still uses the cloud to your benefit. The software gives you access to a bunch of textures and designs that other users have made available to the public. Use it to bolster the default materials you get with KeyShot, and you’ll be able to create even better models. You can even contribute your own materials to the cloud so others can use them.


Tip #2 – Custom Lighting Pre-sets



Most architects usually have some preferred lighting configurations that they use across all of their models. With KeyShot you don’t have to create them every time you want to use them. KeyShot lets you create a lighting pre-set.

So, how do you do it? Head to the “Lighting” tab in the project window and click the “Custom” selection. Change the settings to what you want and click the + button. You’ll name the pre-set, and it will become part of the drop-down so you can choose it again later. Spend some time creating the lighting pre-sets that you use most and you’ll save hours of work down the line.


Tip #3 – Colour Studies

KeyShot has you covered if you need to look at one model in different colours. Its colour studies really come into their own when you want to compare several different colours across the same model.

Set up your scene with your initial colours. Render it using the default settings and click the pencil icon in the render window. You’ll see a colour bar in the menu that you can use to quickly change the colour of an item in the render window.


Tip #4 – Using Internal Rendering Mode

KeyShot’s internal rendering mode is ideal for lighting objects in enclosed spaces. These objects tend to have indirect light sources attached.

Combine the internal rendering mode with whatever area and Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) lights you need. You’ll get a render that shows just how the enclosed space looks with different indirect light sources.


Tip #5 – Field Depth



We’ve all seen photos where the photographer has blurred the focus of certain parts of the picture. This highlights the focused areas and creates a sense of depth. You can emulate this effect using KeyShot.

Open the project panel and check the “Depth of Field” box. You can now select your main focus point and the area you want in focus while in the real-time view. You’ll notice everything else goes blurry. There’s also a useful slider that allows you to control this blur, which you can use to create as much depth as you need.


Tip #6 – Applying Materials to Labels

When you apply a label to one of your materials, that label takes its place in the labels tab. You can do a lot with it from here. Select a label, and you’ll see plastic as the default material. You can change the properties of the plastic to give it a different look.

Better yet, you can change the material completely. Have you noticed the drop-down box that says "Plastic"? Click it and you’ll have your choice of some other material pre-sets. Again, you can change these as needed after applying them.


Tip #7 – Creating KeyShot Package Files

KeyShot scenes tend to have a lot of data. This leads to large file sizes. But you can use KeyShot to create package files that compress the data. Think of it like zipping a bunch of files in Microsoft Windows.

Just click “File” and “Save Package”. Choose the file location and name, then click save. That’s your KeyShot Package File. You can drag the file into your render window to open it again. This is great for transferring textures to other scenes too, as KeyShot allows you to extract them into your library.


Tip #8 – Region Rendering

Rendering entire scenes takes some time, especially when you just want to look at part of it. KeyShot allows you to select a region to render. You can drag a box over the materials you want to render and work with them individually.

This works best when you’re working on complex models. It saves tons of time and let you focus your work.


Tip #9 – Using Animated Lighting



Your lighting doesn’t have to be static. You can create some cool lighting effects to make your scenes jump out.

Just create a sphere and import it into your scene. Animate it so that it moves in the direction you want your light source to go. Now, apply an emissive material to the sphere, up its intensity, and make it invisible to the camera. Enable “Global Illumination” for the sphere and you’ll have an animated lighting effect.


Tip #10 – Copying and Pasting

A lot of models have elements that you will use a lot throughout the model. Copying and pasting saves so much time. KeyShot has a couple of hotkeys that let you do this fast.

Hold the Shift key and place your cursor over the material you want to copy. Click the left mouse button to copy that material. Now, drag your cursor to where you want the copied material to go and click the right mouse button while holding Shift. KeyShot even links the copied materials so any changes you make in one, show up in the others.


Tip #11 – Set Your Lighting First

This is a tip that will save you a lot of tweaking time. Set the lighting for your scene before you start adding materials. Get the lights positioned the way you want, and then you only need to adjust your materials so they fit the light sources.

Adding the lights after the materials results in you spending a lot of time tweaking both to get the scene to work.


Tip #12 – Creating Custom Library Locations

You’ll build a wealth of materials as you use KeyShot. You may want to re-use some of them, which is where custom library locations come in handy.

First, click “Edit” and “Folders” to see all of your current folder locations. From here, you can change the location of each folder. Just click the folder icon next to the location name, and you can find your custom location.


Tip #13 - The Favourites Tab

Another great time saver, the favourites tab lets you build your own collections of materials and textures. You should use it whenever you’re going to work on several scenes that require the same materials.

Click the “Favourites” tab in your KeyShot library, then click the icon next to the search bar to create a favourites group. Enter the group’s name, then start looking through your materials. Right click on any that you want and select “Add to Favourites”. From there, pick the group you want to add the material to, and you’re done.


Tip #14 – Adjust Lighting to Suit Your Materials

The default lighting settings can cause some issues when working on your materials. Too much shine makes it hard to get any work done.

Just change the intensity of the lights if you have this problem. You can also move the light sources around so you have more control over glare. This proves really useful when working on chrome textures and other reflective materials.


Tip #15 – Tessellation



It may shock you to find that KeyShot can import more than 30 types of 3D data. Tessellation comes in when you import a different type of data. KeyShot converts the data into triangles to make it work in the software.

You can alter the quality of the 3D model when you adjust the Tessellation Quality slider. More triangles mean a better-looking model. You can also click the Accurate Tessellation checkbox if you want smooth surfaces.


Tip #16 – Editing Backplates

You’ll still need to use editing software, like Photoshop, to change your Backplates. But KeyShot now lets you apply those Backplates on the fly. Refresh the Backplate library and apply it to your scene.

You may also find the Perspective Match feature useful here. This allows you to match your model with the Backplate so you get the right perspective.


Tip #17 – Getting Rid of Hotspots

Hotspots tend to crop up when you apply new environments to your scene. Unfortunately, these can cause you to lose definition in the model. So, you’ll want to get rid of them whenever you can.

Go to the “Project Window” and enter the HDR editor under the “Environment” tab. This will show you some white light sources that could be the cause of your hotspots. Add a pin and overlay to the light source, then lower the brightness. This usually gets rid of any hotspots in your model.


Tip #18 – Gem Materials



The newest version of KeyShot has made some big changes to the Gem Material type. That means rubies and diamonds look even more like their real-life counterparts.

That’s great on its own, but you can also mess with how light disperses in the gem. Lower the Abbe value so it’s below eight and you’ll see some gorgeous effects come from this.


Tip #19 – Use Save Reminders

Let’s say you’ve been working on your model for hours. You’re locked into your work to the point that you completely forget to save as you go. Then, your computer crashes. It’s a nightmare scenario. All of that work down the drain because you forgot to save.

KeyShot 6 helps you avoid this problem with save reminders. Click the “Preferences” menu item and head to the “General” tab. You should see the save reminder section near the bottom of the tab. You can set this so that KeyShot reminds you to save at certain time intervals. There’s also a “Never” option, but anybody who has lost work before will want to avoid this.


Tip #20 – Use the Occlusion Procedural Shader

The Occlusion Procedural Shader allows you to place occlusion effects on individual materials. Think of it like an ambient light source. You’ll be able to use it to create some nice soft shadows. Beyond that, it’s great for altering surface details and creating more realistic scenes.

You can also combine it with the Material Graph to create different effects for my models. It takes some practice to get used to but your models will see the benefits if you put the time in.



So, there you have it. These 20 quick KeyShot tips will help you get the most out of the software. Hopefully, these tips will also make your workflow more efficient. Every saved minute counts in 3D rendering, especially when you have tight deadlines to meet.

Some of you may be unsure of how to apply these tips. That’s okay because ArchiStar Academy has you covered. Not only do they offer KeyShot at a lower price than any other supplier, but ArchiStar Academy also offers online KeyShot courses for those who really want to get to grips with the software.

That’s not all. ArchiStar Academy also offers courses in many of the top digital design software packages available today. They can show you how to learn Revit online or help you through our online Maya courses. With ArchiStar Academy, you can develop your skills in all of the major 3D modelling software packages. Contact them today to find out how you can get started.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Archistar Academy today if you have any questions.

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Posted on 20 Jan 2020

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