Light interior with hdri

How can i light interiors with HDRI?
When i try it the sunlight burns out but the room is pretty dark. Its a HDRI from hdrihaven with 21 EV.

Here is what i mean:

Learn to use light portals and tonemapping.

What can i learn from that tonemapping thread? I dont understand what they talk about.

I’m also learning how to solve this issue and found this good explanation about tone mapping.
Maybe it helps.

Hey, just a thought. Use AO set at .50 Then jack the strength of the HDR up to where you can live with the highlights. Then use the RGB Curves Node to lighten the room. MZGarmi, there must be nine ways to skin a cat in Blender. I like to keep it simple if possible. But, no doubt others have a better solution.

Also a bone white room is very seldom that. Even a white room has gradients and is very often anything but bone white. And, the scene outside doesn’t even have to be your HDR the room was lite with. Any image plane that looks right will suffice there. Like Hollywood this shit is all smoke and mirrors. When it looks right to you then put it out there to your friends. They are much more the viewing public then us on this forum. We will fill up sixteen pages of a thread with something they never noticed.

Haven’t tested it yet, but apparently this bug related to AO has been fixed. I don’t use GI much myself these days, if I need the look I’ll probably just go with direct light + AO or 2 bounces for critical materials where I for other materials use ray depth to switch to AO (color input same as diffuse component). Can also render separate AO pass which you can multiply over the total image in comp. So yeah, probably many ways to improve, relying on pure GI doesn’t seem a viable option at least on my hardware and time.

@CarlG, Vicky, the master of lighting, would have done a still like this on her old Intel Duo machine which could have been used in a national advertising campaign. And, she might have done it using Blender Internal. Rendering in minutes on even her machine instead of the better part of a day with cycles.

But, I’m interested in animation. And, most of the younger Blender Heads don’t even acknowledge BI much less use it. Oh, and let me quickly add BI to animate certain content reins supreme. I have seen many enjoyable shorts done with BI. Some that had you wiping a tear. Amazing stories in other words done with the old work horse in Blender.

Then having reread your post maybe the old man here just ran down a rabbit hole. In Cycles when animating I now favor 2 Diffuse bounces which wasn’t always the case. Being inside a completely enclosed area with no walls lost I do use AO set at .50. Then I guess it becomes a judgement call on how a white wall actually looks. Something I have struggled with at times.