I’m trying to learn how to get photo-realistic results for architectural scenes in Blender using cycles. My first few attempts were total disasters. I knew I had both lighting and materials issues, so I tried copying an example I found on poliigon that used one of their HDRIs to hopefully limit the number of things I needed to figure out. This is the original I’m trying to recreate:
My progress so far is below. I wasn’t able to totally match the way that the concrete blocks are dirty, and I’m sure there are other problems as well, but at the moment my focus is on trying to get the lighting to match.
In my render, the sunlight feels too bright and the shadows too dark. This is especially noticeable around the window on the second story as well as on the light shining through the stairs and the shadows surrounding it.
I’m starting to wonder if there is another light source. I tried using both point and area lights above the model, but then it loses the contrast between the shadows on the floor between the front and back. I also played around with a wall immediately behind the camera. This brightens things up, but then it reflects a lot of light and the back of the stairs are much brighter than in the original, so I don’t think that’s right either. I also tried putting in trees using tree billboards, but they always seemed to cast more detailed shadows, so I’m thinking that they’re not really affecting the lighting in the original either. It may also be post-processing, but I’m new to that and not sure where to start.
If anyone had some general suggestions as to how to get the lighting to match better that I could dig into further, I would really appreciate it. Or if someone knows exactly how the poliigon samples were created and would be willing to tell me, that would also be great!
This is my attempt: