Final render looks so dull [Archviz - Cycles]

Hey guys. Recently I found myself being interested in visualization related stuff and have modeled some scenes to see how they would come along in Blender. The problem is, almost all interior/exterior renders I took look very very dull. I’ve been using Blender for a long time and I do not have this problem with product renderings. But when it comes to exteriors/interiors, it seems like I am missing out on something.

Original render:

Bumped up contrast to see whether it is a lighting/shadow related problem:

I am aware of that exposure values that we see around the window would be much higher and the imperfections achieved via roughness maps on the bricks look too bright. But I don’t think it is that “thing” that makes this scene feel very dull. I tested the scene with different lighting setups, checked the scalings of the objects, replaced some of the textures, increased/decreased the values of imperfections but nothing helped. The scene is rendered in Cycles, with Filmic Encoding enabled, and the light bounces are set to 7. I’d be so grateful if you know and guide me on what might be happening here.

Additional image: (The following scene is not finished but I see the same dullness here as well.):

So maybe you lights are just not so different or interesting (slighlty different color )? You may even use a non HDRI to give some different reflections… ??

Having a big window also means very different ligth from extern… so this almost crys for HDRI…

  • If you are using filmic, you may want to go set it to a slightly higher contrast option. Instead of the default medium contrast, put it at medium high or high contrast.

  • I would also try increasing the saturation a bit on the final render, just to see if it looks good.

  • I would increase the brightness of all light sources, your images are a bit dark. Especially in the street scene: sunlight is much brighter than that. Don’t be afraid of going bright, the filmic color space can handle lots of light before clipping.

  • The interior scene needs more light from the light bulbs, they are really weak. The outdoors could stay as they are right now (if you want an evening scene), but the lamps would then dominate the lighting much more.

  • Both scenes seem to have light coming from behind the camera. Be careful about that, this visually flattens objects.

  • The scenes lack a clear point of interest. What is the point, the story of the image, what is it trying to show? Right now, they both look like someone just took a random photo in a random, empty place. What if there was a colorful or important object that stood out?

  • Image composition is also a part of it. The street scene has a very flat camera angle and few elements to add depth in the image.

  • Camera effects: add a little bit of depth of field, lens distortion and glare. They will make an image look more realistic, like it has been taken from a real camera (though keep them subtle).