Background Image Renders Dull

I am doing a simple space scene using an image as a background. The rendered image has dulled the vibrancy and contrast of the original background image. There is no distance fog, or anything like that. Can someone tell me what I’m doing wrong? The examples and blend file are below. Thanks.


Download Blender File

You didn’t pack the images to the file, but I figured it out. In your render settings, please look in Shading and choose Transparent instead of Sky for Alpha. Your alpha over is mixing the sky and the image in the compositor.

That did it. The YouTube video I used to learn how to include the background image in the render didn’t show this. Thanks a million.

Hi Craig, I know this is an old discussion but I think I’m having the same problem. Could you elaborate more on your suggestion? I have Blender 2.9. In render settings I have ticked the Transparent option under the Film section. Are you referring to this? I’d really appreciate your help

Yes, you check that Transparent option there under Film, and make sure you are using an image format that has RGBA so alpha can be used if you are outputting to frames before combining with a background image later. If you are using the Compositor to output your render layer and then combine with an alpha over node to the background image, make sure your render layer goes into the bottom socket and the background image node into the top socket because Blender uses a top to bottom scheme similar to a text editor and not a bottom to top scheme like and image editor.
Let me know if you need specific help, maybe post a sample file to examine.

Craig thank you so much for replying. I went back and have done all the things you said. I can see the background image rendered. All the transparency is working fine. Only problem I have is that the rendered background image is dull, the whites are grey instead of real white if it makes sense. I found out it’s because of the color management being on Filmic. If I put it on Standard the background image renders properly, but it obviously changes the way my 3d geometry is rendered. Using an Rgb curve node for the background image I managed to crank the whites up enough to make them look close to real white. The ideal thing would be to apply Filmic only to the rendered geometry and use the Standard only for the background image. Hope it makes sense. Thank you very much for your help.

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Your “photo” is irrevocably mangled, and hence not usable as a plate for the render.

It’s akin to trying to mix an Instagram photo with physically plausible light ratios. It can’t work.