Goldfish render - critique and feedback requested

Goldy the fish has finally been released into a wild and uncertain freedom… the open waters prove to be a bit surprising!

Inspired by Joshua Maule’s tutorial @ I was not getting a good result putting the fishy inside a glass bubble. So I decided to relocate fish and bubbles to another environment. I plan to make a better render with more samples at a later stage and perhaps add a few more details.Modeled in Blender 2.65, texturing and rendering in Cycles, 250 samples. Post-processing done with Photoshop. The water image in the background is a photograph by Felipe Skroski – licensed under the Creative Commons license.

Please critique this image, I would like to improve it, especially concerning texturing and lighting.


Hi, I’ll just list everything I got.
The background looks slightly blurred. I guess is dof but, the viewer will think it’s the underwater thing. In that case there should be a more watery layer between the foreground fish and the camera. Water distorts. And this is to much dof for me. The scales should be more defind. The impact of the normal displacement of the scales on the speculiar lighting should be more visible. Maybe use a speculiar map for faking the scales or more detailed texture maps in general. The proportions don’t really look like a realistic goldfish. The eyes are far too big. The back fins seem to be sticking out of the fish, but in reality the body bends thereby forming the fins. I feel as if you hadn’t used enough real life references. Finally the fish still looks a bit too much like plastic. Either you use sss or you could try adding a custom translucent duplicate wrapping around the mesh to make it look more like the usual fishy see through skin.

Hi there!

Thanks for the suggestions first of all.

The scales I specifically didn’t want to cover the whole fish body, and I must say, the goal was not to be super realistic. I experimented with bigger flatter scales as well, but fount their effect TOO cartoony again. But yes, maybe using another texture map will help.

Those back fins DO need more work, I’ll look into it. I actually used real life references, but with texturing and lighting it that bit got a bit lost… :slight_smile:

Once again, realism wasn’t the complete goal, but I’ll have a go at “custom translucent duplicate wrapping”… as soon as I figure out what this is. :smiley:

Thanks for taking the trouble to reply.