Getting Photorealistic Renders

How do you go about getting photorealistic renders with Cycles? Currently I’m working on a product visualization project, and I’m quite unhappy with how it works on smaller stuff- I’ve previously used it for archviz and have gotten decent to good results.

These are some of the renders I got out of Cycles. They were made in different stages of the product, hence the variations.

The last one uses a bunch of normal based node lights as well, hence why only the metal looks somewhat nicer than the previous pieces. But it still doesnt look that great (its for commercial uses, packaging etc, so it has to be good), plus you need to tweak a heck lot to fit it in different scenarios, settings and HDRs.

I’m almost on the brink on giving up on Cycles for this purpose. Downloaded Keyshot and you get far better results with lesser clicks, but I’m struggling with other aspects of learning the software.

Would like to hear some tips on what I could do to improve, or perhaps just inform me that I’m maybe using the wrong tool for the job.

Maybe this could help you:

its a mix between good lighting and materials/shaders

Have you researched how photographers do product shots? Try to replicate and enhance their methods instead of doing what “feels right”. Search Pinterest for product renders, you can get some really good inspiration there to use as a basis for your own works in the future. The things that helped me get great results most were PBR materials, filmic colorIO and modeling physical lights with an emission material and sometimes an emission texture.

It’s still under construction, but I have some renders up here:

Good luck!