Showing Mirror Reflections

Reference Number: KB-00858
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors


How can I see mirror reflections in my camera views?


Reflections are another aspect of lighting that can increase a 3D view’s realism. Starting in Home Designer 2015, when a flat surface is assigned a Mirror material, it can display the reflections of other objects in the scene when using the Standard rendering technique in perspective camera views.

If you have many reflections in a view, it can slow down 3D view generation and responsiveness of a camera considerably, so if needed, they can be turned on and off in the Preferences dialog.

To turn on/off the display reflections in mirrors in Home Designer 2015 software programs*

* Home Designer Essentials 2015 and Home Designer 2014 and earlier versions do not have the ability to automatically generate reflections in mirrors, instead, scroll down to the next section for instructions on approximating this effect in those versions of the software.

  1. First, make sure that your mirror symbol is using the "Mirror" material, located in the Library Browser at Core Catalogs> Materials> Glass & Glazing> Mirror.

  2. Select Edit> Preferences .

  3. On the Render panel:

  • Place a checkmark next to Reflections in Mirrors to turn this feature on.

  • For mirrors to be reflective, Use Enhanced Lighting must also be enabled.

  • Click OK.

Note: A Mirror surface cannot display the reflection of another mirror. When one mirror can be seen in another, its material is shown rather than a reflection.

If you apply the Mirror material to an object other than a 3D Mirror symbol from the Library Browser, that object needs to be mostly flat, with one or two planes of the object containing most of the surface area, in order to generate a reflection.

Home Designer 2014 and earlier versions

I have placed a mirror in my plan, but its material only appears as dark grey. I have gone into its specification dialog and applied the mirror material, but it doesn't seem to reflect its surroundings in the room? How can I get it to do that?

In the render images produced by Home Designer 2014 and earlier versions, a mirror material will appear as grey in 3D camera views. You can, however, approximate the look of a reflection by taking a camera view of the wall opposite from the mirror, exporting it as a picture file, reversing it, creating a material from the picture and applying it to your mirror.

To approximate the reflective look of a mirrored surface in the Home Designer 2014 and earlier versions, or Home Designer Essentials 2015, use the following steps.

To create the image that will be used for the mirror reflection

  1. First, launch the plan in which you want to create a the mirror reflection.

    Make certain that you have completed making changes in the room in which you want to show the mirror. Otherwise, if you make any changes to the room itself, they will not be updated in the mirror unless you take a new camera view and replace the material.

  2. Select 3D> Create Camera View> Full Camera  and, starting at the mirror's location, drag a short segment out towards the wall that will be reflected in the mirror's surface.

  3. Then zoom out until you can see all of the objects that will be located in the mirror's reflective surface.

  4. Next, select 3D> Final View with Shadows  and wait until the program has completed generating the view.

  5. Once you have the camera how you want it, with the 3D view still active, select File> Export> Picture .

  6. In the Export Picture File Dialog, choose an easy to remember Save in location, such as your Documents folder, and type in a descriptive File name in the space provided, such as BathroomMirror

  7. Click on the Save button to save that image, and you can then close out of the 3D camera view.

To reflect the image

Since the mirror's reflection will be reversed from the image that we saved, launch a photo editing program, open the newly saved 3D camera view picture file, flip the image, and then save it.

For the purposes of this example, we used Microsoft's Paint program (included on most Microsoft operating systems) and used the Image> Flip/Rotate function to horizontally flip the picture and then saved the changes.

Now that you have exported the image, and reversed it, you are ready to create a material out of it that will be applied to the mirror's surface.


To create a new material and apply it to the mirror surface

  1. Using the Select Objects  tool, click on the mirror in plan view to select it and select the Open Object edit tool to display the Furniture Specification dialog.

    If you accidentally select the wall or other nearby object first, click on the Tab key on your keyboard, or the Next edit tool.


  2. Go to the Materials tab, select Picture. and click on the Select Material button to display the Select Library Object dialog.

  3. In the Select Library Object dialog, click the Add New Material  button to display the Define Material dialog.

  4. In the Define Material dialog

    • Give your new material a descriptive Name, such as Bathroom Mirror

    • Move the radio button from Solid Color down to Texture, then click on the Select... button to browse to the location of your previously exported (and reversed) image and click OK.

    • Check the Stretch to Fit box

  5. When finished defining your material, click OK to apply the changes and close the Define Material dialog.

  6. Locate your newly created material in the User Catalog folder, click to select it, and click OK to close the Select Library Object dialog.

  7. Click OK once more in the Furniture Specification dialog to apply the Material to the surface.

  8. Finally, select 3D> Create Camera View> Full Camera  then click and drag to generate a camera view to see the results..

    Note that while this image is only a true reflection from one particular spot in the plan, it does approximate the look of a reflective mirror surface.

You can use this same basic process to create other types of reflective surfaces such as demonstrated in the pool image below.