Trying to understand my errors in archviz, need some help please

Hi all,

I’m a furniture designer but I’m really attracted to archviz. My main goal is to achieve some scenes as photorealistic as possible. I worked on this scene for a month or so and did everything I could to get some realistic design (in terms of proportions, equipment and so on). But when it comes to rendering I fail miserably.

I read a lot about lighting, texturing, watched countless hours of videos and made 19 versions of this scene. I learned a lot but at one point, you must be honest with yourself and seek some help.

I really enjoy luxury villas in Marbella. And I really enjoy this eye popping pictures I’ve seen on internet, with clear blue skies, overexposed white walls, azurean pools and I’d like to achieve this kind of results.

What I did and paid attention to :

-textures proportions
-HDRI lighting (I’ve tried around 40 different maps)
-Get the right camera angle
-Try to keep a proper white balance before and during post processing
-use a grey card within Blender to get the best exposure
-try many different glass shaders possibilities for window panes
-put some slight chromatic aberrations in post prod

All this kind of stuff. Post processing may be off by itself but the final render is way too amateur in the first place. If someone could help me, that would be really appreciated. Thanks!

Here’s the render before post processing in Photoshop.

4800x2700 at 1000 samples. Transparent world.

This is resized, I couldn’t uploaded it in the first message.

Hi Rico64,
your rendering is looking already pretty good. I don’t exactly know how to achieve the last 5% to make it look realistic, it is probably a combination of many small elements. Hyper realistic renderings usually have many intentional imperfections like their real world counter parts. In your case maybe the materials are too clean and the models too perfect. Did you try to recreate a photography of a real architectural project, or at first an interior, just for practice? I think this way, when you can compare your rendering with reality and notice all the little things that are missing, you can improve quickly. Hope this helps a bit.

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Hi nicknemer!

First of all, thanks for your reply and your interest! This is a house I designed myself. At first I wanted to create a big luxury villa but I lowered down my ambition a little bit. I did everything but the vegetation (which comes from Botaniq add-on) and the cars (random sources, I don’t rememebr where I got them).

I had some references images that I analyzed during hours and still can’t get what I missed here. Post porcessing in Photoshop is a little bit too harsh but that’s not the tricky part. I can change it. But the render itself looks fake even though I paid attention to many details. For example, the floor is not a map only, it’s hundreds of separate beveled tiles. The asphalt ground use displacement map. Everything is modeled following exact real life measurements. And so on.

But as you said, it looks too clean. The problem is, all the reference photos I see on internet, display perfectly clean houses, with perfectly white walls, ultra clean windows, deep blue skies… I really don’t get why I got this kind of all looks almost 99% of the time.

I wanted to switch to Vray but I think the problem comes from me in the first place and I should learn more tweaks before trying other softwares.

some things I think make your render less realistic :

  • When I google search marbella villa, I don’t find any villa with big white wall without window. You probably need to add one.
  • The white wall is to white, you need to adjust a bit the exposure. (In a real photgraphy, if your wall is overexposed, the the cloud will be to)
  • Sky is not consistent with the other elements on the picture. (I don’t know precisly why. Probably a bit to saturated, and sun seems to comme from the right. And there is many clood so with this sky, the sun light will be probably softer)
  • On most of photography, you have some lamp on the white walls.
  • windows seems not egough deep in the wall. On all reference I have seen, windows are deeper into the wall, or the the roof is more advanced to protect them a bit.

I never done archviz, so I probably miss many things, and I can be wrong on some points.
Hope that comment can help you to improve the render.

Hi Rico,

Here is a video with some tips from Arqui9.

Here is another video from them where they review submitted images.

What you need is more noise, more imperfections. Anything to break up the computer generated monotony, and make it look a little more lived in and real world.

It won’t take much, and you shouldn’t go too far with it. Just some slight discolorations in your wall material here and there, slightly more rounded edges on your corners, some more random bumps in the concrete, very subtle roughness on your glass, some sunken or raised tiles on your patio. Every little not-quite-perfect detail will make it pop that much more.

I’m not a fan of the camera angle and lens setting. You say everything is modeled to real world scale but something about the camera makes it feel extra flat and some things that look normal sized when I look directly at them feel too small when I look at the whole picture. I agree with the other comment that says the walls of the big window area feel too thin.

I feel your frustration. I tried making my first exterior arch viz this year also and it was a lot of work for very unsatisfying results. Thinsoldier sketchbook - #81 by thinsoldier

Salut Guillaume! Merci de ton com’, je vais répondre en anglais quand même par respect pour les autres :wink:

-I guess you’re talking about the upper wall on the left. At first I wanted to put some laminate woods on this one but you probably make a point here.
-You obviously make another point here. The sky is just a picture I put behind the render. The HDRI map I used wasn’t nice (only light was). But you’re correct, 100%.
-I agree about your analysis on the walls and windows. But everything matches real life measurements. But there’s a little detail about this picture that could make a lot of stuff weird. The fact that I used some french architectural norms mixed with foreigners ones. Wall thickness is accurate and so on but equipment matches US or other requirements that seem not to be the ones we use here in France.

But thanks for your analysis, it’s really interesting and I think it gonna help me a lot buddy!

@acadgatsu Thanks for the links! I subscribed to Arqui9 videos at the beginning of this project, a really nice channel indeed!

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@Renzatic Thanks for this reply. You’re right 100%. That’s what I’m working on since I posted this picture. Especially the tiles of the patio! Other details you mentionned are already there but don’t show up in the final render despite the already quite “large” resolution. I should work on it also.

@Rico64 I think you can break up the large driveway surface in the foreground with a tree shadow. Currently, it leads my eye to the cars. Maybe the large wall on the left could receive a palm tree shadow as well to break up the large surface.

I’d also say that better composition would help you a bit here too. Pan the camera to the right, maybe move it down, and aim it up so that the building is more angled in the frame. Plus, try to get both cars in the scene, since they’re more interesting than the relative blank space you have on the left side of the image. Also, maybe changing the time of day so that the light is more behind the building, and the rooms are lit inside would make it more varied visually.

@thinsoldier Thanks a lot! You make a very technical point here. The more I observe my render the more I guess you’re correct. Indeed, everything matches real life scale no doubt, wall thickness, window frames, walls height, ground thickness, handrails height, even tiles thickness. But obviously, it looks off in the end and the camera angle doesn’t help.

To be honest, this is the first camera angle I used (with a different HDRI setup, less details and so on) and it feels more pleasing to my eyes (but not realistic at all).

I never got interested in camera setup, maybe you gave me the opportunity to do so!

I’m also not a fan of the yard itself. Do people really like this kind of yard? Why? There is this big open space with no shade, no greenery, no seating, it seem’s you’re not supposed to drive on it or park your car on it bu there’s also nothing standing in the way of driving your car into the pool.

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@Renzatic Again, excellent point here Sir. That’s why I gave up photography several years ago. I never had the “photographer eye” to make photos stand out. I would have never think to set the scene the way you said.

I strongly prefer this camera angle. From this angle I am no longer focused on how big and empty the tiled area feels. Everything feels reasonably sized now. I’m no longer tempted to park my car next to the pool because I can see the area isn’t really as big as I thought it was from the previous image.

@thinsoldier To be honest, I’m not a fan of this space too. But that’s something I see all day everyday in houses here in France. Of course these are not luxury villas, just typical random french houses, so that’s accurate in a way but not really for the type of house I wanted to recreate. And that’s something I should have keep in mind.

@thinsoldier I now see exactly what you meant about the tiled area. I enlarged it on the last render because the pool flooring was too close to the grass. That’s really interesting to see what others see and what I don’t. This is a treasure, thanks a lot to everyone of you guys!