American Diner

Hi guys,

This is my entry for Blender Guru’s “Photo Realism” competition. Whether it’s photo realistic or not, I’m not sure anymore, I’ve been at this for the past few weeks and I’m really tired looking at it - feels like it’s burnt onto my retina!

Anyhoo, I’ll probably post it up to blendswap when the competition ends to help noobs etc.

Rendered with Cycles, 1300 samples
Slight post work for the odd firefly or two and a bit of colour correction.

It would have been a larger image, but I’ve only 1GB on my Nvidia card and this was pushing it to the max - luckily for the comp the minimum size is 1280x720.

There’s still a fair bit of time left on the competition, so I expect there’s going to be a lot more work appearing soon - looking forward to seeing what other blenderheads can come up with.

Jay :wink:

Edit: I modified the colour correction slightly as I wasn’t happy with it :wink:

Whether it’s photo realistic or not, I’m not sure anymore

Looks very realistic to me, great job! Only thing that looks slightly odd is the burger, it looks a little bit like plastic. But you sure did do a great job, is that a dead fly on the window sill I see?

It looks very good. My only suggestion is that it looks perfect and that you should dirty it up. That shake is pretty full, maybe it spilled when the waitres set it down or carried it. the spoons in restaurants are usually dull from being washed so much. maybe some of the dishware has a chip in it. the white on the seat backs might be a bit grimy too. My two cents. :slight_smile:

You should also consider the color and quality of light. Blue and yellow light will be coming in from the windows; greenish fluorescent light overhead. (You can and should find authoritative information about color temperatures and relative brightness on the Internet.)

I suggest also that you consider adding these elements using the Blender Internal renderer, composited into what you have right now. These renders consist only of what a single light source does to a particular object(s), broken-down by object-ID and by specular/diffuse etc. Now, having all of these various components at your beck and call, you can “mix-down” to produce the final image using Blender nodes with MultiLayer file inputs.

I don’t know what the “rules of” the BG competition might be, but I personally have no reservations about this approach to generating a “final” image. Songs are recorded one track at a time . . . using Les Paul’s amazing invention every day.

Really nice work !
The hamburger bread is a bit too smooth , too perfect and too shiny.
Like Trenn said , add some dirt too.

Hope to see sometime this kind of image in sequences , with a smooth camera movement. you can probably launch it on ?

Keep your good work !

Great job!
It’s really hard to create realistic food, and you managed to do the hamburger all most there!
Only two points thing that bothered meare the shake cup - It’s extremely thin, If its glass you should make it thicker - and the wallet. The center leather texture is too stretched compared to the sides.
Other then that - Fantastic job!

[EDIT] Oh! Loved the dead fly!

Great image :slight_smile:

Try mixing in a slight translucent shader on the plastic menu holder (and the rest of the plastic items, condiment bottles, straw), and possibly the milkshake liquid as well.

Or try to emulate some kind of subsurface scattering with the ray length node (this setup for something else, but you can tweak it, distilled from

Something about the shadows break the realism, especially the angles and the weird no-caustic shadow from the milk shake glass and the syrup bottle. I’m guessing you are using the trick from Andrew Price’s video to minimize rendertime and fireflies from caustics?

Try a variation of this for your glass, it will cast a shadow the color of the right-most transparency shader and will also reflect while still ignoring light transmission (might be a little over complicated, you can possibly use the same transparency node for both inputs):

But over all really cool. Love the crumbs and the dead fly :slight_smile: The modeling, authentic look and nod to pulp fiction is really great.

Hi guys thanks for your comments, I was actually finished with this render “Finished Projects” not WIP, but anyhu if you’ve got something constructive to add that I did indeed miss or didn’t think of, then I suppose that’s good with me.

To answer a few of your points, yes, the burger bun was a pain - not to model, or texture - but oddly it just didn’t look that great in the end. The bun texture is from a photo I took of an actual burger bun - (it was a cheap burger with cheese and a bun for £1, Not a mighty fine burger at all! maybe this is where the issue is?).

When it didn’t turn out as I’d hoped I even tried to buy a better bun to replace it - but finding one where I live that either doesn’t have seeds on it, or is covered in flour is next to impossible :frowning:

I then added the seeds with the particle system with a variation of a group of seeds.

I added a small amount of shine as the bun I had, had a slight sheen (as with most things in real life they have some kind of reflectivity) - maybe I added too much.

I created a bump map/displacement map from the original photo, grayscale etc and increased contrast for the areas that needed lifting and deepening. Maybe this is where things were let down slightly too, I’m not sure either - bumps can be hard to do for some organic things. I wasn’t rapturous the way the bun turned out, but it was the best I could come up with sadly.

I didn’t want to make the diner too scruffy, it was meant to be a clean establishment that was reasonably new - a modern take on a 50’s diner - I referenced this a lot. I did considered a whole host of dirt and scratches, but my wife’s a chef and she’d never have a place that had chipped cups, tatty chairs, dirty bottles etc. Additonally I was running low on gfx memory for rendering, which was causing a few headaches - adding all these extras textures cripples GPU rendering, esp when you’ve only got 1GB.

So I just went with a few details - pepper on the pepper pot top and table, salt on the top of the salt pot, ketchup around the edge of the sauce bottle and obviously the fly - which no matter how clean a place is, there’s always a dead one around somewhere :wink: - Maybe if I’d have gone with a cheap truck drivers cafe, then maybe that scruffiness would have been more appropriate - least that’s my take on it.

Lighting wise I tried to avoid too much of the cliche orange glow, the sun wasn’t that low for the angle in the sky, at least that’s the way I saw it through my window at the same angle/time of day - maybe it’s different in the US, living in Ireland I rarely get much warm yellow sun here lol.

I wanted to avoid using the Sun lamp as I’ve always been aware or the problems with Cycles and fireflies (white dots). But needed to use it because I wanted to use an alpha tree texture outside the window to simulate light passing through tree leaves and branches - I thought it would add a nice bit of detail to the light. Plus it’d make the bloom look a lot more realistic.

I know that Cycles now has the Clamp option to help with over-exposed areas, but obviously that would have not only killed the fireflies, but also the bright bloom - I tried it, and it sucked, even at 0.99.

As with most renders it’s all a question of balance, what I wanted wasn’t a hundred percent achievable, at least not with my knowledge or with Cycles - there was a bit of a compromise here and there. It’s not until you put all those tips and knowledge into a complete scene that you realise that not everything works as well as at did in a basic test studio environment.

Monsterdog, I did use Andrew’s glass method, to reduce render time and also reduce the noise in the glass - its by no means perfect, but was another compromise.

Your first node setup for the plastic I couldn’t use because I’m not using a version of 2.63 with Ray Length, I’m assuming it’s in a later build from mine. Even though I know milk would make for a good SSS render, the milkshakes I looked at online for reference didn’t let any visible light through, so SSS would have probably been a bit overkill - it would have been nice all the same. Also the plastic sauce bottles, some were slightly transparent, others were completely opaque - at least from the angles they were shot.

I tried the second setup you gave for the glass which works well if you have caustics switched on, but this causes too many fireflies in the scene - I had to remove a fair number of them in post and that was only a small sprinkle - with caustics on I’d have been at it over an hour or more removing the damn nasty things! Without Caustics on and using your node setup the glass renders too dark, like tinted glass. So I guess the original method I used was the best compromise in the end - thanks anyway :wink:

Pulp Fiction - I originally was going to recreate a Big Kahuna Burger diner, but because it was fictional it was hard to get many references (mostly just mentioned in Tarantino’s films) - there are a few logos around from the film, but I just didn’t like the colour scheme, it was just too far away from my original image I wanted to create - the 50’s diner. so in the end I just added a few things to suggest the homage.

The Fly - Everyone seems to like that, although it was the easiest part to create. Just an alpha map image mapped onto a plane. the angle of the lighting in the fly photo matched the angle of the scene well, plus because it was alpha mapped it cast a nice shadow too. Glad I didn’t have to model a whole fly just for the effect!

Anyhu, It’d be nice to see some of you guys do something for the comp, you all seem to know what you’re doing - and it’ll be good for advertising what blender can do in the right hands, good luck!

Jay :slight_smile:

Cool, thanks for the feedback. Oddly I was having problems with my glass being too dark until I did this (I have an object in a glass case, and I need the case to be reflected in something else). Would you mind letting me know how many light bounces you have your integrator set up to do?

In the scene where I used that shader I have it set like this:

Transparency max 64, min 8
Bounces max 64, min 3, diffuse 64, glossy 32, transmission 16

If you use the same glass setup Andrew used, you should be able to set the transparency color to be darker than your glass to give it a hint of a shadow from the glass.

I appreciate your image being finished, its very good and I don’t really think the burger bun is that far from reality.

Hi monsterdog,

I had Cycles set with the default Full GI for the render and the same for when I tested your node setup - I didn’t fiddle with it as it’s too slow to test with a full scene - someone said before that you really have to boost up the glossy and transmissions a lot to get a better render and noise free result weirdly - but never tried. I’m at the other end of the scale at the moment, most of my renders have me trying to reduce things as low as possible to speed things up.

That damn burger bun Grrr! lol :wink:

I like this version better! I’m thinking that maybe if the bread isn’t so shiny, but the seeds are still shiny, it might look better on the bun. maybe.

That is beautiful man congratulations!

Very very well done!!!
Quite convincing, excellent modeling skills and a fine cycles render.
Eh, I need this coffee… LOL

Keep it up Jay. The greatest thing about perfection is that it doesn’t really exist (to some). Meaning you’ll always improve.

I kept wanting a burger and a milkshake when I was working on this scene - don’t like strong throffy coffee though O_o

I had a huge burger the day I’d seen it. Two burgers on one bun. jalapenos and chorizo on it too. It was wonderful…
Mild coffee is the best I think.

ANYWAY, slightly off topic :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: