Modern technology can help you to achieve exceptional results that are not possible with traditional means. However, it can only help you reach to a certain extent. The rest depends on the different workflow techniques you use to get the outcomes as per your expectations.

In the realm of 3D rendering, photorealism plays a very important role as many architects and designers use that effect to showcase their work by using the 3D rendering software. However, in many cases, there is also a requirement of non-photorealistic effects in various domains, which can also be achieved with the help of the same software. Here, the process usually involves the creation of 2D images or animation by converting the 3D models with the help of advanced computer graphics.

This article is mainly targeted towards achieving photorealistic 3D renders that look more authentic and truly convinces your buyers to make a purchase or investment. Use it as a guide to learn the few tricks or tips for implementing them in your architecture and product 3D rendering projects to boost photorealism.

  • Pay attention to lighting


    There are many aspects that should be considered while creating a photorealistic effect. However, we will start with the most crucial one, i.e., lighting.

    The light determines how we perceive the different objects present in the scene. So, by adjusting the right amount, you can make the scene look more natural and set the mood. On the other hand, if you make any errors, it will be immediately noticeable to the normal eyes. In that case, you can either use ordinary light resources or different 3D rendering engines like V-Ray, Enscape, etc. to produce the desired lighting effect. Apart from creating daylight, you can also use it to create artificial lighting in the interiors.

  • Make the edges a little curvy


    The geometry of real-world objects is not perfect, especially when it comes to edges. It is literally impossible for the surfaces to meet at right angles and remain totally sharp. However, if you use a 3D software, then all the edges and surface of the object will remain mathematically perfect. To avoid this, make sure that the surfaces and edges are rounded, uneven, and a bit irregular. It will help in defining the planes and add volume to achieve visual accuracy. When it comes to CAD designs, you can use 3D render engines like V-Ray and Arnold to add that subtle damage to the edge.

  • Adding horizon presets


    Another common mistake that makes a rendering appear unrealistic is the horizon line that can be viewed from different angles and rooms. To make sure that it does not appear flat or thin, you can use horizon presets. It usually contains several background options, which can be utilized to showcase the architectural exteriors. Besides, it will also help in reducing the rendering time.

  • Using proxies for large projects


    Many companies offering 3D rendering services implement the technique of using proxies for elevating the look of their architectural projects. These are basically dummy objects used for representing the real 3D models that are frequently repeated in a scene. Mostly, the proxies are created for 3D people, 3D trees, 3D home, etc. for their use in the architectural visualization projects.

  • Concentrate on the shadow intensity


    Different CG light resources are often used by 3D creators to enhance the shadow quality of the objects. However, there are some resources where the edges produced will be sharper. It usually happens due to some technical difficulties, and the users won’t even have the same level of control to eliminate it. In that case, it is better to avoid those types of resources. The best ones to avoid are ambient light and point light. On the contrary, you can choose other resources like dome lights or area lights to produce believable outcomes.

  • Incorporating advanced textures and material


    Emphasizing on the texture and material of the interior elements is also crucial to achieving photorealism. Here, you have to recreate the exact look of the textures or materials that will immediately strike the viewer’s memory and would remind them how it generally feels.

    Apart from adding advanced materials and textures, you have to pay attention to details as if the interior renders look lived in. For example, the pillows, carpets, bedsheets, etc. shouldn’t look flat and should contain ruffles and creases.

  • Adding people to the scene


    A scene would look more realistic if there are people in it. You can find various libraries online that can help you to include 3D people in your architectural projects. In addition to that, you can use custom RPC content that can give an amazing appeal to your pictures.

  • Understanding the value of focal length


    The focal length of the camera is a common aspect, which is often overlooked while creating photoreal imagery. It has the potential to portray a scene in a dramatic way that can impress your audience. The typical mistakes that need to be avoided in this case are wider shots possessing no distortion or close up and macro shots having no depth of field.

  • Identifying the right view


    Finding the right perspective of the scene can also help you to avoid fake-looking 3D renders. To identify it, you have to first compose the scene from a human’s point of view and refrain from overlapping or aligning the geometry. It will help you to stay away from confusion. Also, add an appealing exterior view to the scene by including trees or vegetation in the outside environment. Finally, avoid misinterpreting the space proportions and review the composition to see if any issues need to be fixed.

  • Adding a bit of imperfection


    The 3D software will generally create perfectly flat surfaces, which we don’t want as things aren’t perfect in reality. To eradicate it, we can add subtle imperfections by applying noise patterns to your 3D interior designs. It can be applied as either a bump map or a color tone.

    Apart from that, you can slightly displace the furniture or add different objects to the scene by placing a soda can, putting a magazine, or rotating the furniture in random increments to add realism to the images.

  • Refining the perspective


    To bring further refinement to your perspective, you can add the field view. It will determine the portion of the scene that will be visible to the human eyes in the given view. It is another great feature that can mimic the outputs of a physical camera and will provide a sense of realism.

  • Accurately showcasing size and scale


    When it comes to product renderings, it is better to showcase the size and scale of the product by displaying it along with other objects that people are familiar with. For example, if you want to showcase a dining table, then put some chairs around it so that customers will be able to imagine it and predict its overall dimensions. Also, don’t forget to highlight the best features of the product.

  • Mind the lens effects


    Photographers usually avoid lens effects while trying to get a more perfect picture. However, as CG artists, you just need to do the opposite. You need to subtly add all the flaws to create the effect as if the scene is actually photographed. Some of the common flaws in the lens effect which you need to include are bloom, glare, lens flares, motion blur, lens distortion, vignetting, dust or scratches, and more.

  • Aberrating the colors


    The color aberration effect occurs in real-life photography when the camera lens fails to emit all the color channels at the same point of convergence. It results in the appearance of red or blue outline around the high contrasting edges. To attain this effect in your pictures using Photoshop, you need to offset the red or blue channels in a 3D scene by a pixel. Make sure that it is subtle enough to look realistic without overdoing it.

  • Blurring the background


    A blurred background is one of the simplest tricks to add depth to a scene. Besides, it will enable viewers to relate it with real-world photography and bring a more naturalistic appearance in the scene. An efficient way to achieve this is by using the most popular software, Photoshop. You just have to add depth effects in the background and provide a shallow field depth to highlight the subject.

As we know that the real world is imperfect and messy, the best way to achieve that extra level of realism is by excluding perfection. So, forget the average looking 3D renders and take time to identify the subtle differences by observing the real world. It will surely demand a lot of practice but is worthy enough for the results you will get. Also, make sure to avoid the common mistakes mentioned above so that your 3D renderings look more natural and appealing to the human eyes.