Realistic ArchViz from Cycles to Eevee (with tips)

In this series will be doing different types of high quality architectural scenes in Eevee with tips and comments about the problems and solutions in creating realistic ArchViz in Eevee. The series includes a collection examples from ArchViz scenes in Cycles from Evermotion, Chocofur and others as basis to convert to Eevee.

My workflow and tips for realistic rendering are available in a number posts:

  1. Classroom benchmark classroom cycles to eevee.
  2. Realistic glass in Eevee realistic glass.
  3. For proper setting for shadows see link on Light Leaks.
  4. Lighting workflow see HDR lighting.
  5. Multiple or nested IRVs see link on Nested IRV’s.
  6. Do a Cycles render pay close attention to the lighting specially the shadows. Shadows can be sometimes difficult to create accurately in Eevee but are critical for realistic rendering. Lastly material differences like glass. This will be good a reference starting point for your Eevee scene.

I will start the series with three scenes from Evermotion Volume 43 and continue with a couple of scenes from Chocofur.

Edit on 06/01/2019: Updated link on nested IRV’s.

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The Evermotion volume 43 scene 1.

Workflow:

  1. Adjusted power for area lights.
  2. World background node for ambient light.
  3. IRV for the main room of 4x3x3.
  4. IRV for kitchen counter of 1x1x1.
  5. IRV under stove.
  6. Rectangular reflection cube map.
  7. Use my realistic shader for glass items.
  8. New kitchen chair material the Cycles version did not work in Eevee.
  9. Tweak a few other materials.
  10. Increase sampling to 256 to smooth the shadows.

This is the Cycles Render:

This Eevee Render to 11 seconds with 256 samples:

Detail Eevee Render to 11 seconds with 256 samples:

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The Evermotion volume 43 scene 2.

Workflow:

  1. Adjusted power for area lights.
  2. Use an HDR world background node.
  3. IRV for the main room of 4x4x4.
  4. Due to main room not being rectangular added IRV by the window of 2x1x4.
  5. IRV under stove.
  6. Rectangular reflection cube map.
  7. Use my realistic shader for glass items.
  8. Enable Subsurface Translucency for all the SSR food items see the grapes SSR as one example that come looking better than the Cycles version.
  9. Tweak a few other materials.
  10. Sampling rate of sampling of 128.

This is the Cycles Render:

This Eevee Render took 11 seconds:

Detail Eevee Render took 12 seconds:

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The Evermotion volume 43 scene 3.

Workflow:

  1. Adjusted power for area lights.
  2. Use an world background node for ambient light.
  3. IRV for the main room of 4x4x4.
  4. IRV under stove.
  5. Rectangular reflection cube map.
  6. Use my realistic shader for glass items.
  7. Tweak a few other materials.
  8. Sampling rate of sampling of 128.

This is the Cycles Render:

This Eevee Render took 8 seconds:

Detail Eevee Render took 8 seconds:

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The Chocofur interior scene 1.

This is a heavy scene with grass and trees total vertices use is about 75 million.

Workflow:

  1. Adjusted power for area lights.
  2. Use an HDR world background node.
  3. IRV for the main room of 4x4x3.
  4. Rectangular reflection cube map.
  5. Most of the materials were update to use the principal shader replacing all Chocofur custom glossy and metal shaders. This shaders cause Eevee artifacts.
  6. Use my realistic shader for glass items.
  7. Sampling rate of sampling at 64.

This is the Cycles raw render:

The Eevee scene was adjusted to match closer to the composite version of Chocofur.

The Eevee raw render took 26 seconds:

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The Chocofur interior scene 2.

This is medium complexity scene with plants, fabrics and cloth furniture. total vertices use about 4.5 million.

Workflow:

  1. Adjusted power for area lights.
  2. Use an HDR world background node.
  3. IRV for the main room of 4x4x3.
  4. IRV of 2x1x1 behind the sofa for better shadow definition.
  5. Rectangular reflection cube map.
  6. Most of the materials were update to use the principal shader replacing Chocofur custom glossy and metal shaders. This shaders cause Eevee artifacts.
  7. Use my realistic shader for glass items.
  8. Sampling rate of sampling at 256 to smooth the shadows on the floor.

This is the Cycles raw render:

The Eevee scene was adjusted to match closer to the composite version of Chocofur. Reducing the overblown window brightness and flooring from Cycles.

The Eevee raw render took 26 seconds:

Detail Eevee render took 24 seconds:

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Thanks for the tips

Hi @eklein , thanks for these great tips, I bookmarked the topic and checking it occasionaly.

I’ve couple of questions about these scenes:

1- Where do you place the area lights? Is there any light inside the room contributing to the illumination?
2- Where do you place/nest IRVs? I would like to know especially how you setup their falloff and distances with intersecting IRVs? (I often get slight artifacts on the walls when I nest them and it’s hard to control)

Thanks in advance.

filibis,

IRVs (Irradiance Volumes) can be one of the most frustrating issues in Eevee to get GI lighting correct in an interior scene. After working on many interiors. I usually don’t have to many issue with IRVs now. See my workflow below.

Tips for Main and Nested IRV’s are:

  1. Create a main IRV for the room that is not to dense no more 4x4x4 or less. The goal of the main IRV is to have just basic GI coverage on the room.
  2. Having too dense of a main IRV usually creates more problems by having probes intersecting objects and creating GI artifacts. Dense IRV also increase the baking time considerably.
  3. Stretch the main IRV close to walls.
  4. If certain areas of the room having missing GI lighting is okay, because it will covered later with nested IRVs.
  5. Distance for the main IRV should be 1.0.
  6. Distance for nested IRV typically range between 0.3 to 0.6. In this scene I have a nested IRV on the wall with distance of 0.5.
  7. Falloff for the main and nested IRV leave it at the default of 1.0.
  8. The Intensity I do vary depending on the scene lighting between 0.6 to 1.2.
  9. To achieve good blending between the main IRV and the nested IRV. Make sure the size of the nested IRV has some slight overlap with the main IRV probes. Also that the intensity are the same. See image below.

Wireframe of Main IRV (4x4x3) in yellow and the nested IRV (2x1) in red. Notice the size of the distance in the nested IRV.

In this scene I added the Nested IRV because the Main IRV created a dark lighting GI artifact on the wall by the picture frame. See render without the nested IRV below.

Now the render using both the Main IRV and Nested IRV (2x1). See how smooth the blending is on the wall between the Main IRV and Nested IRV and correcting the previous dark GI lighting artifact.

The scene lighting consist of an area light and sun Light:

The lights in this scene are quiet basic one area just outside the window. The area light creates a good fill light on the room. One sun light creating nice back lighting and highlights on the plants and light on the chair. This increases the visual interest and dynamics on the interior scene. I usually don’t add area lights inside an interior.

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Pretty nice. I love eevee as a preview renderer, and I managed to do some productviz with it too. But the gi quality is horrible and I really don’t like the whole concept of irradiance volumes, looks kinda ok on first glance but it is just shit imho. I would much rather see a hybrid rendering with raytracing and some GI baking for eevee. That said cycles needs some better option than brute force for GI too for these type of renders to be efficient with resources.

The GI in Eevee won’t be as accurate as Cycles. The quality in many cases is good enough specially once you gain experience with Eevee. In this series of interior scenes I came close to the quality of a Cycles render. To create a compelling scene is not only about GI lighting, but also quality of texturing, direct lighting, shadow definition and tone mapping.

Once the lighting is baked working with an Eevee scene is real-time and noise free. The time saving can be huge in high resolution stills and in walk-through animations it can save days of rendering.

As you mention working with Cycles GI lighting can be difficult in interior scenes. Adjusting the lighting to reduce noise especially in an interior with small windows. Their is also hot spots and splotches to improve and many more potential issues.

I agree in the future not having to use irradiance volumes probes for GI lighting would be great. I expect Eevee to move into a raytracing solution like other real-time engines like Unreal. See the video below on working with a GI raytracing in Unreal.

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