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Lack realism/photorealism

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Hello everyone. For about a month and a half, I've been learning 3D visualization for product rendering, primarily furniture. I used different software before, but despite various attempts and seeking advice from more experienced users, the results were not satisfying at all. However, last Saturday, I decided to start using 3ds Max along with the Corona Renderer. The effects were visible immediately, but I encountered a problem. My visualizations lack realism; there's something like a haze, not sharp and clean enough (?), and it just doesn't look like a photograph. What could I change, and what should I focus on? I'm using the Chaos library and free models and textures from the internet, mainly from 3dsky and Poliigon. I'm attaching my current render (white desk, blue walls, blue chair), a reference render that I found and would like to approach in terms of quality, and the render settings from Corona.

Generally, you shouldn't need to change anything in the render settings, they should already be at their best. Lacking realism can fall on the quality of your models, the scene and environment lighting, the textures, camera placement and also how a scene is dressed. Adding to this, post processing is also a great help in most cases. Your image feels more like it was shot in a studio rather than on location. Making use of the lightmix is a fun way to play around with different lighting setups and intensities. Keep at it and keep sharing :)

Nejc Kilar:
Yeah I would very much agree with B here and to me it seems like you are very much on the right track. Kudos!

First thing I'd maybe suggest doing is playing with the lighting a bit - right now its somewhat flat as in everything is quite evenly lit and the small bit of directional lighting you have is kind of maybe not landing somewhat awkwardly on the floor in the lower left corner. I'd personally try adding imperfections to the lighting (a tree outside the window) or a different angle but that might also be a subjective preference I have. That said I do think something less "studio like" would work better here and often that adds realism as well.

Good reference is looking at what photographers sometimes do in these types of setups.

As far as materials go I think if you spend a bit more time adding details to them you'll get more realism in there. Maybe imperfections on that chair's metal legs, some slight dirt spots (maybe also in cavities with AO) on the brick wall (which itself could be a bit more detailed with a different displacement map?) and just generally things of that nature. One thing that does strike me as unrealistic immediately is the white on the table itself. Its too dang white to me (check your albedos with the albedo render element).
These things can take a lot of time but details are important folks say :)

And as always super high quality models can help you as well. I really like that plant you have there from Cosmos but I think it can still be improved by the way of improving materials etc.

So I think you're off to a great start but maybe just keep on hammering it out.

Oh and don't worry about render settings, that's the beauty with Corona. You're not missing out on realism unless we are talking caustics (which you need to enable) but given that there are non in your scene...

Thank you very much for the valuable tips, guys! I'll play around with and test the things you mentioned. As for textures, do you know any good online tutorials for manipulating textures? I'm interested in locally adding dirt or playing with the texture of flowers, for example, because since I switched to 3ds+Corona, when it comes to materials and textures, I feel like I'm "drowning" in a sea of possibilities and options, and it's like black magic to me (in my previous software, textures were limited to loading a map and two sliders - maybe that was the reason why that program was so weak).

Hello again! Yesterday evening, I was working on my project. I changed the lights and some textures (including refining what I believe are the chair legs, folders, and made slight adjustments to the walls and brick texture). Due to time constraints, I haven't had a chance to add imperfections to the textures yet, but that will come later. I wanted to thank you for all the advice because, after a few tweaks, my render looks better in my opinion (LightMix is a very useful tool that I had no idea about just yesterday). However, I see that the lighting could still use some subtle improvements – it seems a bit too aggressive on the upper right part of the desk. Regarding the white color, it might be too white, but the desk is my own project created in SolidWorks, intended for production, and the white color was added according to the boss's preferences. I'm attaching the new version of the render; I've applied some of the corrections, but not all yet. If you have any new observations, I'd be happy to read them. Thanks!


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