Lighting in Cycles Rendering Engine "poor" compared to Blender Render engine

I am a total newbie to Blender. I was swimming through the vast amount of Blender tutorials online and people were of the opinion that the new Cycles Render engine is much better than the old Blender Render engine.

I rendered the same scene (which had 2 lamps ) as two images, one with Cyclesand the other with Blender-Render. As you can see the one rendered with Blender-Render is significantly more realistic than the one rendered with Cycles ( 100 samples ). Especially the lighting. The 2 lamps are reflecting on the objects in the Blender-Render and the shadows are also significant. With the same lamps, there are neither noticeable shadows nor lamp reflections on the objects with Cycles.

Am I missing something?

Am I missing something?
Everyone else is, your blend file so they can see your scene setup.

The results you get are all dependant on the materials and lighting. Since the materials and lighting aren’t compatible between each render engine it depends what your setup looks like, which nobody but you knows.

You have to use BI materials and lighting methods for BI, Cycles materials and lighting methods for Cycles. You can’t just switch rendering method, tweak samples numbers, and expect an equivalent result.
You need to swim more among the tutorials, and especially work more on your setups, before drawing any conclusions.

Bear in mind that Cycles has not been optimised for newb usage yet. While getting familiar with Blender in general, you might be better off saving Cycles for later. But it depends on what you want to achieve with the software.

@Richard Marklew
Sorry, I hadn’t saved the .blend file that I used to create the above 2 images. But I tried my best and re-created the scenario and I am attaching the .blend file with this post.

I’ll surely keep in mind the points you’ve mentioned. Also, can you please guide me on what are the differences in materials that the two engines deal with? I mean, in materials tab for Cycles engine, there was only the diffuse color I could choose from.


lighting.blend (573 KB)

Looking at your blend you are just using the blender internal materials and lights.

Before doing anything else go and understand what cycles actually is and at least the very basics on how to use cycles materials.
Start here and then go watch other tutorials

There’s several reasons your cycles render looks bad in comparison to the BI one. First of all smooth shading on the cylinder and Cone make the lighting too smooth on the sharp corners. The Cylinder is easily fixed with an edgesplit modifier. the Cone is more complicated, there’s no real good way to fix it to be smooth in one direction yet have a sharp tip. These are smooth shading artifacts because of the way normals are interpolated. This is also visible in the BI render but in cycles it has a much bigger impact, because the bounced lighting is dependent on the normals.

You should also disable AO in cycles, there’s only additive AO which in my oppinion does not look good (I prefer multiplicative, because it doesn’t crush your contrast), but you shouldn’t have to use AO in Cycles anyway because you get the “real deal” with bounced lighting, no need to fake it via AO.

Then we come to the Materials. The BI standard material is more complex, it has a base Diffuse Color, then on top Specularity, which is faked light reflections. The Cycles Standard Material is only Diffuse and there’s no specularity because it’s a physicaly based renderer, you need to use real reflections to get those lights reflecting. a mix of a diffuse shader and a glossy one is close to that.

The next issue is using lamps, cycles does a better job with emissive surfaces (a lamp here reacts like a sphere with a certain radius, not a point light), because it can’t sample those lamps behind transparent surfaces (glass, transparent, translucent, refractive shaders). This is not a problem for your scene as you don’t have transparent surfaces but something to be aware of.

Thus far this is trying to replicate what BI looks like, but Cycles’s Node Material are highly customizable, if you take a look at the different threads on this forums (cycles test thread, easter egg thread, various others in the test section) you will see the potential. This example is far to simple to see any advantages. Not to say that you can’t do very pretty stuff with BI, but it’s far easier to tweak materials in cycles with its realtime viewport mode. About the rendertimes, as everywhere in 3d there’s tricks to reduce rendertimes, and also postprocessing Did you try rendering highly complex scenes in blender internal? if you push the settings on it higher it also takes ages. I’d say choose the tool that fits your requirements best. want to render photorealistic physicaly accurate shots? maybe look for something like luxrender, or Cycles, or any of the others that are out there. Looking for non-photo-realistic animations? BI might still be the best choice.

Here’s a file with some basic changes to your materials and objects. I separated it into Scenes so you can more easily switch between different setups. I added some more variants with some examples.


lighting-2.blend (1.3 MB)

Thanks all for the kind and timely support!