Trying to get a photo realistic render.

I have been working on a scene in blender for my work as sort of a side project. I’m trying to get a more realistic render. I feel that my biggest issue is my lighting and then my materials. However i’m not quite sure how to go about improving both. Here is my latest render.

Is there a recommended lighting set-up that would work well for this kind of scene as right now everything looks rather crap.

Well, that totally looks like Blender internal renderer, not Cycles. If photorealism is what you’re after switching to the latter would the best first step you can ever take. Then you might ask for further suggestions

you have a long ways to go

This must be Blender Internal render.
To get photorealistic renders, indeed it’s better to use Cycles. It’s otherwise such a trickery to do that with BI.

Some tips for photorealistic render:

  • Indoor scenes ( like this) are hard in Cycles. I would change the scene so that there is more open air.
  • Look for the latest pbr shaders, best are the original from cynicat pro especially if you use rough gloss like the walls and road.
  • Everything has gloss ( with correct fresnel ). For example the yellow lines doesn’t have gloss. They need also bump and imperfections.
  • The scale of the asphalt texture is to big, bump is to high, wrong gloss.
  • Carpaint doesn’t look metallic. Use dark diffuse, then rough colored gloss and on top of that a colorless gloss with correct fresnel reflections.
  • Most lines are to straight. Mess it up a bit with dirt, smudges, and other imperfections.
  • Add some more details. ( For example something between the floor and the wall. and between the road and the curves. Such sharp edges makes it also look fake. ).
  • If more in open air then use HDRI environment map.

I expect this is hard to make photorealistic. For sure you need a lot of samples. ( indoor and lot’s of light sources.).

  • If indoor check if portals are usefull. Indoor is quite trickery with light. If to much then cycles got “confused”, if not enough variaty then it looks dull.
  • A bit DOF will help, but not to much.
  • You could check if you want to do something with colormanagement.
  • Camera imperfections ( if you like), you could check in post: lens distortion>Dispersion

Oh please no! Don’t suggest that!
Dispersion effect is nowadays the first indicator that I’m looking at a CG image :no:
It’s ironic: it was created to simulate camera flaws, and now that photography went digital, professional camera lens got better and better, and flaws can be virtually ignored… the only place where you still get visible lens dispersion is in 3d software!

Add grit on everything.

May I cordially suggest … that, “instead,” you should simply allow your render to be what it is? :slight_smile:

Are you seriously, ever, going to convince me that “this is a real car, in a real tunnel?” Basically, the answer is, “no.” However, it is otherwise an interesting and generally well-done render. The lighting and placement of the tunnel is interesting, although the side of the car could use a little light and although the double-yellow lines down the center of the roadway threaten to “shed the 3D illusion.” (The pavement, also, a-bit looks like cobblestones …)

Nevertheless: “a very nice render!”

As a former semi-pro photographer, I chuckle at the term, “photo-realistic.” There is no such thing. Every photographic print that you ever saw in a magazine was engineered(!) to “look ‘realistic’” (sic …) when it was p-r-i-n-t-e-d(!) in that magazine. (And, if you called it “realistic,” they’d done their job.)

“Nice print!” Clap yourself on the back! (And, deservedly so!) Then … (“awright, awright, get back to work!”) … get busy creating another one! :smiley:

^^^Agreed, this is a very nice start. Maybe it needs a bit of sprucing up to make it more visually appealing, rather than “realistic”.
Composition: I’d move the car back up the road a bit so it’s not dead center in the frame. Also have it fill a bit more of the image and lower the camera.
Lighting: That is super-bright and even lighting for a tunnel. It makes the headlamps look like lasers! You could add drama to the image with higher contrast, well-motivated lighting. Have the light appear to come only from the fixtures, headlights, and the end of the tunnel. Well-placed shadows are critical to making lighted areas pop.
Materials/textures: The blocks on the sides, the yellow stripes and the walls need appropriate bump maps.
Compositing: The car looks like it’s parked. Try a small amount of motion blur on the car or the tunnel to create the illusion of motion.

Yes, I agree. Currently lens distortion/chromatic aberrations are not cool most of the time if you’re looking photorealism. I think robwesseling has put it last on the list for that reason.

You will not get a photoreal image without aberration, but it must be correctly applied, not hacked on with eyes closed. If aberration is not cool, there can’t be anything cool in feature film composites, can there… as they all have aberration and a lot of other imperfections added to break the sterile look of render. The point is, they must be applied so that they work almost subconciously, not scream to your face like an average aberration tutorial in youtube.

I was talking basically about chromatic aberrations and Blender, I do not know the filters of other 3D programs. What I have seen is that Blender lens distortion>dispersion filter adds basic red-blue bands chromatic aberration. In these days that kind of blue-red bands chromatic aberration I have seen in the real world only when using very bad quality cheap lenses. Currently these days most camera lenses are achromatic, in addition because the processing of the internal camera software or Raw softwares filters it is very difficult to find this strong blue-red chromatic aberrations in modern photographs, at least not as strong as I have seen some 3D artists use.

@to the people suggesting that he should add camera imperfections


its- its done

CG society should give this an award, it’s done

No, adding camera imperfections isn’t going to make a non photoreal image any more photoreal,
it’s like rubbing vaseline on a tumour, it’s not going to cure the cancer.

See, I like to look at the post processing process… as an “intensifier” if your already photoreal render gets into photoshop, hey presto, it’s going to look better no matter what you do to it(unless you do incredibly stupid like add a levels adjustment and set the black output to 254)

Okay your image isn’t bad right,

it’s just not very well presented,
The aston martin model is nice.

But this is where I think you went wrong,

This is going to be long winded so… grab some popcorn, wait no don’t popcorn is bad for you anyway,

I like to keep a policy,

This is going against the public concensus here,

If you can model the bricks in the pavement, model the bricks in the pavement,

A displacement texture isn’t going to capture the details the reflections, it just isn’t going to live up to what you want it to be,

I don’t know if you are doing this for a game

but if you aren’t, come on, model these details in, it’s going to take a while but it’ll be worth it.

So the other thing,

The design of the tunnel,

so I’m guessing that you are going for a vintage shot of a Aston Martin db5 in action in 1965(because the production of these cars stopped at 1965)

So I did some research of how tunnels looked like in 1965,

Your tunnel resembles the queensway tunnel

So there you go, good reference to start with

I’m not saying you should recreate the tunnel like copy the map 1:1
use it as a reference of how high up the lights should be, how many lights per meter there are,etc

Little things like these add to realism and believability

Also one last thing,

use cycles, it’s a no brainer :wink:


Where’s the bloom?
Where’s the lensflares?
Where’s the heavy amount of teal and orange grading (like what you see in the movies)? Don’t you know that the realism of an image is proportional to the number of buzzwords in use? :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, the take away from that for the person seeking advise is that you really shouldn’t overdo things if post-processing is needed (ideally you should get the raw render as close to realism as possible). The reason being that a heavy dose of it is not going to succeed in creating a wow faster if the quality of the shading and lighting (as seen in the render window) is poor.

For those being upset that I advised Dispersion, please would you read my post again where there is a whole list of suggestions. And at almost the end I suggested quite subtile about dispersion. I think these reactions are not proportional.


Oh yeah the rest of your post was fine(not sure about the “pbr shaders” part though)

@robwesseling, Hey, I read your comment on the weekend challenge. Why this reaction?. Here a thematic has arisen from your comment and people just discussed about it respectfully. No one is despising the good advices you gave. If we have not talked about the other items on the list it is perhaps because we are mostly in agreement with them.

Ah, it’s allright, It’s just that the rest of this thread started to be all about lens distortion. At first I didn’t bother but it kept on going. And I thought that I could say something about it. But no worries, I understand how things go on forums.