Photo realism with Blender?

Disclaimer: I’m NOT yet a 3D artist, i’m still at the stage of choosing the software I’ll be using.
I nailed down my choice to either Blender or Cinema 4D. My preference goes to Blender but…

There is something I notice and wish to know if there is some substance behind the observation or is it just subjective “green pasture” syndrome.

Fact is, most C4D render images I stumble upon look incredibly photo-realistic. And lots of Blender images don’t look good… they look like bad 3D and not realistic.

Just 2 examples I got on randomly surfing on the C4D sub reddit:

Is it even to achieve this quality with blender? Is C4D better at texturing, rendering?
Is there any technical reason why C4D could achieve a quality of render Blender can’t ?

Why do C4D images I stumble upon almost all look so good?


What you’re seeing is a result of the Blender subreddit being almost entirely populated by amateurs, memers, and people who think being rude to people asking questions is fun. The C4D subreddit is far more mature, and has a better representative slate of artwork as as result.


Possibly, but it really depends on the user. With any DCC program- garbage in, garbage out.

Because C4D is used mainly by motion graphics professionals, and Blender is used by a wide range of amateurs :slight_smile:

If you want to see photo-realism in Blender, browse the gallery here (at the top), or check out some of these examples:

You won’t find much worth looking at on the Blender subreddit :slight_smile:


You can achieve that quality in Blender without a problem :slight_smile:
If you know how to do it- first render is a day of work, second is like 2h. The thing is, even with free Blender, you need good quality textures (often paid)

Cinema 4D is not free software. I don’t want to offend anyone but many people have instant access to Blender because it’s free- even those who have no knowledge, talent, passion etc. Many of them just post trash quality renders as a joke. Forums and facebook groups are flooded by poor artworks like “it’s my first render, what do you think?” “it’s my progress after 2 weeks, what do you think?” “I made this after 1 month of learning blender, rate it plz” etc :wink:


I can show you some trash Cinema4D renders.

Quality is based on artist ability more than program.

And Cycles can works on Cinema4D.


@Ragarak bear in mind that the scenes you linked are rendered in Octane (first) and Redshift (second).
Those are external render engines which are NOT part of vanilla Cinema4D. You will need to buy rent them separately.

Default renderers in Cinema are either trash or slow, and practically nobody is using them.


Google “FStorm”.

Not to mention Octane is also available for Blender, so yeah hehehe


It’s not all doom and gloom with the subreddit, people post good things there too. Oriental houses, “Blockage”, “Cyberpunk bedroom”, “Les Paul Guitar”
These are from the first 50 or so posts I saw when I started typing this.

You wouldn’t say pencils are bad just because lots of ugly, deformed characters came out of them then got shot with a camera at a skewed angle with terrible lighting straight to Deviantart, would you?
Or, you wouldn’t browse Deviantart for high quality art, though such art does very much exist there. You’d go to Artstation instead, and if you’re looking for one for Blender art specifically, you’d go here.

Blender is free and becoming very popular, most people without money but with internet are kids, it takes long to become skilled in this field and the influx of new users will drown out whatever people with tons of experience there are. Nevermind that 5+ years ago Blender had some decent issues, e.g. right click to select (I got used to it…) and bad UI, which could’ve put a lot of people off learning it in the first place, who would’ve now become 5+ year veterans. A lot of what is on the subreddit would quite literally be the 3D equivalent of children’s drawings if it has that meme tag.
Other art there is people at various levels of knowledge. Some have moved on from ugly sketches and now are making the equivalent of proportionally ok characters with questionable shading. Some have gotten good, but just aren’t going beyond being simply good. Nothing quite stunning or photorealistic, just good.

Also, I think I need to give a passing mention to that C4D UI that’s basically Blender UI, hehe… Blender’s definitely attracting a lot of people.


Having spent twelve years with c4d I can assure you: there is nothing magical about those two sample renders you posted. That perfume render isn’t even portfolio-worthy for someone aspiring to product marketing.

Funny thing about the top c4d artists? For rendering most of them use Octane, which is also available for Blender. Or VRAY, which is also available for Blender. It’s commonly known that Maxon’s renderer, Redshift, produces inferior quality to Octane and VRAY.

You can achieve similar, perhaps 1-2% lower quality renders with Cycles right now. If you aren’t yet a 3d artist, the prudent thing to do is to learn and not burn through a bunch of cash on subscriptions. My opinion, anyway.


Just look in the Forum Gallery or Finished Projects gallery for plenty of examples created in Blender that are as good as if not better than the examples given in the OP.

1 Like

It takes the time what it takes. Wheter its 2 / 4 or 200 hours to archive the artistic vision behind it.
Just for fun I tried to recreate the bottle in 5 hours. Couldn’t get the caustics / the light correctly.

To make a time estimate is allways a dangerous thing…especially if not tried by yourself.
So even if something looks easy it make take more time than you think…

The whole light / reflection setup alone was 2-3 hours. (Not using an hdri)
and I didn’t modeled / textured the spray bottle and plastic part of the bottle wich would also need half an hour more…and as you can see its missing caustics, and the light is not shining through the bottle like in the original (wich imho would require render layers)

but yeah the times where photoreal could be nailed down to a render enigne is over


Did you try this with path guiding? This seems like a perfect use case for it

1 Like

not tried it yet, might be a good subject , thanks for the tip

1 Like

ok tried it, encouraging results, again thanks for the tip


Wow- that looks way better than the C4D version now


The biggest issue with this image IMO is that the liquid looks wrong.

The liquid/glass interface hasn’t been modelled properly:


thank you

will look into it thanks

Fortunately, we are long past the days when we had to use this type of logic to convince people to just give Blender a try (because we can now make reasoned and objective arguments that point to the technology it contains).

As for this thread, yes, I would direct all prospective users to Blenderartists if they want to see what the app. can really do (because it is far and away where you will find the greatest number of veteran users who have worked with it for many years and knows how everything works.

On the subtopic regarding the fluid interface problem, this can largely be created procedurally with the help of the geometry node’s normal input as well as the lightpath node (but make sure the glass has thickness and the fluid mesh goes just beyond the inner wall of the bottle). The Blendernation article I have not read (since I figured it out myself years ago), but no harm in taking a look I guess.

Thank you for your answers guys.
I retain convincing points:

  • Quality is more the result of the artist than the software
  • Material and texture quality matters
  • Lots of examples of high-quality renders. And thanks for the reproduction of the Perfume bottle.

Also, the bright future of Blender and the amount of educational material are big pluses.


This youtube channel shows verry detailed, how to make images like yours in blender: