Hi people!)
I need advice. I’m trying to get render of my work, but it turns out to be very unrealistic. How to make a render more realistic?

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Your materials are very reflective, perhaps overly so. Also, check your lighting against reference images. It seems like the whole scene is too dark but there are very bright reflections- this makes me think you’re using a few strong, focused lights. Nature doesn’t have many strong, focused lights.

I think it is looking pretty good!
First off, the windows look like mirrored glass, and reflect too much ( but I am guessing there is no interior ), but that would help bring it to life, being able to see though the reflection.
Second, the rock facing is not random, you can see the 5 repetitions in a glance, or at least I can.
How about some depth of field to blur out the distant trees and only the house is in focus?
? Are you using HDRI lighting ? it doesn’t look like it, with the sharp shadows, and it looks like AO is on but with the sharp light perhaps pushed a bit more.

This is purely an observation but after years of construction, I cringe at seeing it, you have pyramid hip roofs intersecting into a flat wall…that would NEVER happen, WATER-RAIN no escape route. The 50’s iron porch support? Perhaps a Wood Bracket something like this…

Thanks for your reply. In my work I used hdrmap and all the lighting was from it. Is it right to do this? If is right, how I can it be properly configured somehow?

Thanks for your coment, it`s very useful for me. I have 2 questions: I actually used hdr, but without AO. What World settings should be made for realistic visualization? How I can fix repetitions in a glance&

Here’s what you could try: use an HDRI, like you are, but also put in a couple light objects. A sun or two, for example, might even out some of those super sharp reflections. You can find Sun under the Add Object menu in light sources. Also, turn on ambient occlusion. It adds huge levels of realism. Lastly, go over your materials and make sure they make sense. Grass, for example, is not glossy or reflective, but your grass seems to be very shiny.

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You shouldn’t enable ambient occlusion when using an HDRI. the HDRI already takes care of it. The only time you should enable it is if you’re trying to fake an HDRI.

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I did not know that, that is super interesting! I guess I was wrong, thanks for letting me know about that :smiley: Could you possibly explain how an HDRI takes care of the AO? I’d really like to learn from you how that works!

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To be honest, i’m not exactly sure why this is, but lighting with an HDRI + AO just looks wrong. I think it’s because mixing the flat color of the AO and the multitudes of colors in an HDRI end up looking fake and unnatural. Just spitballing here, but I think maybe an HDRI is just colored AO?

I’m not the best person to ask, so if you want to start another thread asking this question, go ahead. However, if you’re interested in learning more about HDRI lighting, i’d suggest watching this tutorial series by Gleb Alexandrov.

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Ambient Occlusion from the manual:

Ambient occlusion is a lighting method based on how much a point on a surface is occluded by nearby surfaces. This is a trick that is not physically accurate, but it is useful to emphasize shapes of surfaces, or as a cheap way to get an effect that looks a bit like indirect lighting.


I knew I read that somewhere! Thanks man, wish I could like this twice.

Not sure how much you set up your world, so gonna assume you don’t know this…here is a node set up for world will work in either 2.7xx and 2.8…

In your case I would disconnect ray setting to use the sky in your background, you could make good use of sky and clouds. I use it to use HDRI and no background showing…

I disagree with AO and HDRI…I use it all the time and it makes a great fill light, it may be " wrong" but I don’t play by all the rules. If it gets what I want…so be it.

As far as at a glance Patterns… in your stone walls, there is that ONE+ lighter colored stone just off the left edge of the front section…dead give away… you could recolor that stone using colors from other rocks in a paint prog, or find a neutral, all one tone rock PBR ( and use PBR) !
There are many free ones out there. when building the node you can use a color ramp to lighten or darken the stone in conjunction with a noise node. Hope this helps.

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Are you using PBR shaders?

I use Principled BSDF

Are you using “Filmic Log Encoding Base” as Color-Management? In think you can pump up the hdri light source more with this Encoding. And with that the shadows shouldn’t look as dark as now.

In my opinion the bricks are not varying enough. I know one can do it but mostly there is more variation in the color of the briks. Like in this refernce:

The last thing I think is that the Windows need to be set more into the wall. Like you can see in the link above.

Yes, I`m using “Filmic” as Color-Management

Interesting. I never knew that plugging a texture adjustment node into a Mix Shader node adjusts the shader in the other slot.

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This is a good start. I’m likely not saying anything that hasn’t been said already. The first thing I would do is change the windows to something less reflective. Beyond that one other thing is to flatten out the yard some and reduce the length of the grass. As far as modeling I would make one suggestion. To the right side of the garage door there is not nearly enough space. The dimensions seem to be off some. Lastly there is too much chamfer along the corner of the bricks portion of the wall. Please know that this is still a good job overall.

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Very valuable advice and information in this thread already.
I find that your scene is very beautiful and I understand the struggle of getting realistic exterior renders, however here are some tips that help me :

  1. Use PBR materials (Sketchfab link explaining PBR :, you can obtain such materials from which is a website that searches textures from famous PBR textures websites like

  2. When using HDRIs for exteriors a simple trick is to use an hdri with soft lighting rather than a hard sun (or an hdri that contains a mix). is a very good source of completely free HDRIs at very high resolutions.
    Try searching the cloudy or overcast categories for good soft lighting.
    If you want to use a strong sun (whether as a lamp or an hdri with a sun) I think that having it face the front of the house will look better as it will emphasize the house itself.

  3. A very important rule is to also use the highest resolution for both textures and HDRIs that your system can handle, you can however use lower resolution textures for small objects (like leaves and grass blades).

  4. Vegetation is a big part of your scene so improving it will greatly add to the scene’s realism.
    You can start by using smaller leaves on the trees, this is a very common mistake I used to do when doing trees to cover more area with the leaves, the correct and more realistic solution however is to make the leaves smaller (as in real life small or just a little bigger) and use more branching and more leaves to prevent the tree from looking dead.
    Here is picture example of the difference between using different sizes and numbers of leaves :

  5. Grass also looks like a textured plane, this a good trick to save performance if the grass is small but it is big in your scene so you can either use/make better grass or just make the grass smaller and more dense (although this might change the scene you want).
    Here is a very good tutorial to make realistic grass : Grass Tutorial.
    There are of course many other tutorials for grass you should however apply the tutorials on the grass species you are using.

  6. Last but not least, if your system can handle opensubdiv (Explanation video) use it on the stone wall on the house, the tiles on the pavement leading to the garage and the rocks on the ground.
    This will add much much more realism since just using a normal map for these materials looks fake and flat.

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Thank you for very informative commentary))))