How to use lighting settings in HomeByMe to your advantage

In a previous post I discussed moving a lot of stuff at one time and the easiest way to do that. Now that most of the moving is done. it’s time to invite the crew over for a big Thank You! party. It will also allow them to see how their hard work has paid off and that the home looks far more civilized.

HomeByMe lets you create your own 3D home and decor.


Images are your way of showing off your hard work. They also help you evaluate your work as you go along. Lighting and shadows are critical part of any interior design project and they need to be part of your design thinking from the beginning. Light and shadow bring the drama to the party. It can be subtle or bold, but it better be there. Being able to show your work as it would look any time in the day is important to make sure that the design works well at all times and especially at the times that a particular area is most likely to be used.

The two images below do a good job of telling part of the story, but something is missing. You may guess right away or you may just know that something isn’t right. There is plenty of light, but I’m missing the other half of the equation – shadows. Both are needed to have a really complete story.

HomeByMe lets you create your own 3D home and decor.


In this post I’ll focus on helping you become more familiar with the overall exterior lighting options available in HomeByMe and how they affect your interior views just as much. If you haven’t added interior lighting, the outside light becomes your only source.

The overall scene lighting settings are located by clicking on the gear-shaped icon (1) and then moving down to the Sunlight simulation settings. The first slider (2) controls what time of year it is. During the summer months the sun (our source of illumination) is higher in the sky and warmer in color. During the winter months the sun is lower in the sky and cooler in color. The second slider (3) controls the time of day. Morning light is cooler than the nice warmer colored evening air.

The two sliders are independent from each other, so you can work with both to move your light and shadows where they will give you the best effect. Both sliders use European modes of expressing the date and time of day, but as long as you know what the sliders do you’ll be fine, move them around until it looks right!

HomeByMe lets you create your own 3D home and decor.


The Behaviours block (4 – above) contains the Improve rendering when inactive box. If you check this; when you are doing your design work and pause, in about 5-10 seconds (longer for larger files or those with lots of lights) the rendering will automatically improve. This is very helpful to give you a reality-check on your work without doing a rendering. As soon as you move your mouse the improved rendering will stop. The bottom image below is an example of how the Improve rendering when inactive feature quickly adds an extra touch of realism to your work (especially if you have a lot of reflective surfaces).

HomeByMe lets you create your own 3D home and decor.


Now, back to those sliders! These two images show how much difference I can make using those simple sliders. I almost always keep the time of year in the June-August time frame since the summer light is brighter and warmer. Then I slide the time of day slider until I get the shadows that are the closest to what I want. If you compare the shadows (1) in the upper and lower images the top image is brighter and more cheerful. Even the tableware (2) is brighter. The little bit of the living room (3) looks more inviting too. (Yes, those are still boxes in the living room from the move. They’ll be gone soon.)

HomeByMe lets you create your own 3D home and decor.


Completely different settings were needed to do the outside main deck. Once again, if you compare areas around the numbers in the top image with the same areas in the bottom, the top version looks brighter and more inviting. Experiment a little bit and you can make a big difference!

HomeByMe lets you create your own 3D home and decor.


Tip – Moving your floor plan does not change the direction of the light.

Tip – Windows are a great source of both light and shadow. Instead of one big window, try three tall ones and you’ll get far more interesting shadows.

Tip – If you have a choice, pick interesting furnishings that will give you extra reflections or other features for more interesting shadows.


Now it’s your turn!

  1. exterior
  2. interior
  3. light
  4. lighting
  5. render