Nov 2, 2022
Effective Tips for Increasing Photorealism in 3D Renders
The most obvious answers are artistry and practice. If you work on your art and you practice, then you are going to create photorealistic renders more easily. Advising you in this capacity is difficult. It is like trying to write an article on how to swim faster. Nevertheless, there are a few standard things you can do to improve your photorealism success rate.
Add More Dirt
There is this startling problem with modern TV shows where everything around the actors is new. Every mug, every beaker, every work surface, everything is new. It looks so fake and so much like a TV show, and that is not to mention the fact that all the actors look like they just graduated from a Hollywood acting school.
The makers of the TV show Farscape said that every time they rendered out a clean ship, it looked super fake. That is why many ships in older and better movies use darker grays and browns. It isn't about adding imperfections, which is something you are taught in college, it is about adding wear and tear and grime.
There are even some amazing 3D artists who create items that look as if they have been cleaned by human hand, which is an amazing way of adding photorealism to an image. Forget your new and shiny lamp, this is a lamp with a slight streak where somebody wiped it down with a rag.
Render Out With Full Settings
It is going to cost more time and effort if you render your content out with the highest res and all the settings turned up to full, but this is what is often required for a more convincing photorealistic appearance. As you can imagine, this costs a lot of money because you need a high-end computer or server if you want the work done quickly. However, there are cloud rendering services like rebusfarm.net that allow you to render out your content pretty quickly. So, perhaps the best option is to render out your drafts yourself with your own tech, and then run the final version through a cloud service.
Know What to Blur Out
Become a master of the blur. It is such a massive part of photorealism, and yet common sense suggests the opposite. Surly, photorealism is about realistic details? Yes it is but look at any photograph and there are blurry areas. In many cases, you don't even know they are blurry until you really take a good look.
You take a photo of a sofa, and in the background there are chairs. To your eye, everything is in focus and the photo is great. But, if you look really closely, and perhaps try to draw outlines of the chairs in the back, you can see they are slightly blurry. Then, the curtains or wallpaper behind those is even blurrier. Become a master of the blur and your images will look more photorealistic.
Lighting Creates More Realism
This isn't fully true. A master of photorealistic images will be able to use light to create realism, but in truth, light is used to create character and atmosphere. If you want to succeed more easily with your photorealistic images, then keep lighting broad and gentle. If you don't create sharp shadows, then you don't have to worry about getting them wrong.
Do learn how to use Photometric lighting, but be aware that it creates better looking images, not necessarily that it creates more photo-realistic images. If you become a master of advanced lighting, still consider adding fewer sources. That glorious sunset may create the perfect photorealistic image, but those small candle lamps on the tables may be adding light in such an obvious way that the entire scene looks fake.