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Posts: 48
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi Guys.

So i have been working on a large 8 plot model for a long while now, i am just about ready to render the final images. I have spent soooo much time on this model, i really want to get the renders to best quality. I have done some test renders but i am not happy with the results as of now, so i want to ask some advice. (render examples at the bottom) 


What produces the most realistic results, to render using transparent PNG and add sky after? or use podium physical sky with cloud dome?

Can i get sky/cloud reflections in the glass or is this also best with Postprep?

My model has a lot of vegetation and 2.5d grass, so therefore i have been using the vegetation preset, however, does the vegetation preset produce quality renders as good as exterior fine or exterior high? If not, whats my alternative, as when i use other presets, my 2.5d grass does not render properly ( has transparency under it)

My lighting in my model seems flat and blueish, how can i get sharper shadowing and brighter more realistic renders, my shadowing and depth is poor, but i have seen some examples on here which really nail it

(natstars cottage for example: see thread here

Also, for external renders, how should i set up my intensity and exposure sliders? 

Whats a good texture to use for the white wall rendered building?

Can anyone recommend the best way to make the roof tiles realistic and convincing?

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as i really want to nail these images.

See attachments for test renders.

IMG_0651.jpg  IMG_0653.jpg  IMG_0655.jpg  IMG_0657.jpg  IMG_0659.jpg  IMG_0661.jpg  IMG_0663.jpg 

This is how i have done my roof tiles -  ( ignore the double tile stack on the right where they pattern falls out - this has been fixed)roof tile example.jpg 
Any help would be great! need these done by the weekend!



Posts: 1,609
Reply with quote  #2 
You might find this article helpful:

1. I would use physical sky with cloud domes.  the clouds will be reflected in the glass windows. 

If this is not a panorama, you could use the other 2D cloud backgrounds.  Once they are in the model, they will get reflected.

From the material dialog turn Cast Shadows off if use 2D arced backgrounds.

Also, the cloud domes do change the tint a little bit.

2.a. I think you are already using exterior_high, correct?  I don't think you could have made the grass look so good without exterior_high.
exterior_high is the best preset but it does take 2 or 3 times longer to render. 

b. exterior_QMC is also a high quality preset but the recommendation is to render two times the resolution you want and then scale the image down to remove the distortion.

c. fine_AA only improve the anti-aliasing. But that's all it does.  The number of light bounces is the same as _default.

There is another preset that I have attached for when you use .hdr file format that combines fine_AA and _high.  If you use this, make the file format of the image .hdr.  The latest version of PIE read .hdr.

3. Tiles - I think Big Stick (Jim) or some other real designers will have better advise.

4. Blue tint - you can use post processing to make it less blue.  I need to scan thru the forum but there's a bunch of HDR presets that Jim created that I think render the raw image without a lot of saturation....Jim, Justin - any help here?

Generally, I impressed with the rendering and the modeling.

5. Not to make you jealous but, the next version of SU Podium will support HDRI background images and these will get reflected in the model.  You could get a taste of that by downloading ProWalker GPU, if you are a Windows user with an Nvidia GPU.  HDRI background images, have a different lighting effect.    If you upload the model, I can add a few examples.

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Posts: 10,562
Reply with quote  #3 
The thing to consider first, is what you really want to achieve - and why. These are decent renders, and for most clients, they will easily be good enough.

In terms of realism though - they aren't particularly convincing. You've started with decent renders and want to improve, which is good, but tricky. It's practice and judgement that will take them to the next level. I'm warning you in advance, I'm going to be brutally picky. I don't have to be, you can be proud of what you have done.
If you want to develop your images to get closer to photographic quality, there's some work to do.

You have done the same things in all the images, and in terms of realism, they could be viewed as mistakes...

1. Kerb height - 125mm and m with the kerbsake the landscape or ground or paving flush. This is what normally happens. In residential areas it can be a little less, but almost never much more.

2. Scene composition. You need to compose your images as if you were taking a presentation photograph. That is what these images are trying to simulate

3. Detail. You have spent a lot of time adding either the wrong sort of detail or unrealistic/unconvincing detail. Your roofs are a perfect example. You have created and textured individual lines of tiles, but to what end? They look no better than a flat plane from a distance, and in fact they probably look worse because the texture is casting shadows where there won't strictly be any. If you look at your gable, you have got your mortar projecting beyond the fascia - this can't happen! You spent time modelling something (incorrectly) that can't actually be seen in the images you have created. Projecting the tiles beyond the fascia is a good thing to do, and fairly quick, but don't waste time adding too much detail, particularly if it's not right. 😉

If you look at your window reveals, I don't think a single one of the timber ones is correct. How are you going to end the timber boarding at the reveals? Normally you protect the end grain and finish it against a timber edging like at the corners. The neck on your downpipes is too low, and what are supposed to be projecting rafter ends - aren't. You can see that they are simply projecting battens. Even if you modelled them properly, you wouldn't want to expose the end grain of your rafters because this significantly reduces their durability. You always cover them with the fascia.

You haven't added any lead flashings to the clay tile roofs and the timber boarding seems to be flush with your brickwork. This can't easily happen...
The timber boarding detail where it meets the glazing in the centre of the gables isn't correct either. 

Your front doors are all bad, and your downpipes look to chunky - around 75mm generally. Most houses don't tend to use 100mm.

As you can see, there is a whole series of things here that you could have done differently. It seems you have done the thing that most of us do from time to time, and that is spend so much time modelling or drawing, that we don't stop to think what we are doing!

Your kerbs are another example. The best solution would have been to have extruded an HB2 shape around a path, and applied a texture that has joints on it. Much faster, and most likely a lot more convincing.

You have spent a lot of time on 2.5d/3d grass, but it just doesn't look very good. This is really tricky to get right. It doesn't look bad by any means, it just doesn't look particularly good either. I don't bother with it. When we get instancing implemented, I will spend some time and make sure I can get a solution that looks great. Until then, the trial and error with the render time is not productive for me.

In summary then, you need to be very selective with what you model and how you model it.

4. Backgrounds. Several of your renders need actual 2d backgrounds to look convincing, otherwise all you get behind the buildings is sky, right down to the ground plane. Some of your images are fine, some not. If you want a reflection in the windows, add a background behind the camera - something for the windows to reflect.

5. Textures. Your bare timber texture is blotchy and not good enough here.

6. You need some Post-processing on your images. These widescreen format images aren't what you normally see. You ought to compose your scenes more carefully, not using a 14:9 9 (or whatever) format.

In terms of rendering, as Dave has suggested, the HDR presets really are the best option for the majority of scenes. We have been discussing internally whether in the next versions of Podium, we only render HDRI images - so no jpg or png. Of course you could save to this format from PIE, but it forces everyone to use the best approach from the start, and to use PIE. This is still up for discussion however, and may not happen at all, but it illustrates quite how much of a benefit HDR renders are.

The first things I would suggest are to re-render, composing your images much more carefully. Have a look at major house builders' websites. They have professional renders created, and lots of professionally-taken photographs of their projects. Try and analyse how those images are composed. Look at the aspect ratio, and how they seldom chop anything off, like foreground grass for example. When images are cropped so you don't see neighbouring buildings, look how this is done.

Render with the HDR presets. Add backgrounds behind the houses and the camera. Personally I prefer to just use the physical sky background. You can experiment with our skydomes from the Browser. If you do that, you need to turn sun intensity and exposure up to the max. Use post-processing in PIE to tweak the white balance, contrast, exposure and colour balance. No-one should use raw renders. Professional photographers use filters and retouch most of their work. You need to do the same thing with renders.

When you get these things right, there is a greater chance that the images will also just look right. You shouldn't notice the dodgy modelling and detailing nearly as much. If things don't look that realistic from the outset, there is a natural tendency to scrutinise the images more carefully to work out why.

These things are much more important that what type of background to use.

Good luck!


That which does not kill us makes us stronger
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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