Secrets to realism

Subject pretty much tells it all, I’m looking for information/tips on making renders realistic. What is it that makes a realistic render?
I have a project going right now that requires a certain object to be realistic as possible, with an outdoor lighting setup. It shouldn’t look fake.

Don’t know much about yafray but have seen it do some amazing things. Was planning on a Blender render but it doesn’t matter, the bottom line is reaslism. Any help would be great.



Suggestions …

(1) Make sure that it would be a good outdoor photograph. The rules of outdoor pro-photography, lighting setups and so-forth do apply. “Underexposed” and “overexposed” areas are a no-no.
(2) Make sure that all areas of the picture, and foreground and back, are working for you.
(3) Light creates a focus for the user’s attention and a path through the picture. Be certain your shot has one.
(4) Be careful not to show too much detail. Film cameras have a depth-of-field; so should yours. Real-world setups never “look perfect,” so “perfect” looks “fake.”
(5) Be mindful of your final target-output media when you design the shot. Is it going to film, to a magazine or book, or to video? Different media have rigid requirements concerning contrast … what makes an “easily printable” picture or not.

lighting is very important, very.

textures are also important, procedurals are a NO NO

Most of us are very use to seeing things as they are. Which is the photo realistic state. When watching those old monster movies, I use to know that the monsters weren’t real because some little alarm went off in my head telling me that something wasn’t right.

This it what you’ve got to ask yourself every time you render a picture. Why doesn’t it look real? The best thing do to is to take a real life photograph and try and re-create that photo or scene with a CG image. You’ll always have your photo to refer to and this will teach you a lot about the importance of lighting, ENV Mapping, shadowing etc.

Making something look photo realistic is like a magic trick. It’s about being able to fool people. Make them believe something to be photo realistic. Rule out all seeds of doubt. Be sure that when someone looks at your image that they don’t ask themselves: Is that real? Make them know it’s real. See their jaws drop when they you tell them it was done using a 3D Graphics program.

Like a magic trick, not easy to pull off but when you do, everyone will want to know how you did it.

Good luck fellow benderer


Thanks fellas for the tips, I will deffinantly take them into use.
More specificly, does anyone have any blender/yafray specific tips?



Well, if you find a .hdr image that matches your scene somewhat it can help to create very realisitic lighting if you’re using yafray.


I think that HDRI will make your render look very realistic. Look at this site where you can download stuff to incorporate HDRI in Blender:

There is also this thing called ambient oclusion. I don’t understand it fully what is means. But it surely can make your render very photo realistic. Check this website:

Awesome, thanks fellas! What do ya think, Blender or Yafray? The project has to be done in 3D because we can’t get the apropreit camera angle on a real world object. CG is the only other option and has to be real as possible.



why cant u get the appr. angle in real life? that makes fake to have a fake camera angle :smiley:

The angle isn’t available for us, it is completly accomplishable in real-life, but with our budget not possible.


One thing that many forget:

The realism of reflections depends a lot on the environment. Make objects or at least some textures that can be reflected. You might even think about a picture of a guy with a camera. Sounds odd, but it is realistic.

Another one: When your object has a shiny surface, it MUST reflect stuff. It goes hand in hand. Obvious, but easy to forget.

i didn’t notice anyone say PROPORTIONS, very important if you have more then one object that can be recognised by other.

so if you have scissors and a pen, one would expect the scissors to be somewhat larger then the pen, and if you make a huge pen and tiny scissors then it won’t be counted as realistic.

other then that, lighting and texturing extremely important.