Achieving photorealism is both an artistic and a technical skill. Being able to see and represent the real world’s details goes hand in hand with technical knowledge and the renderer’s capabilities. The first thing you need is the right software for the job. The software must feature:
- Accurate lights
- Physically based materials
- Physical cameras
- Atmospheric effects
The other part of the equation is understanding the real world and which elements are needed to create the feeling that an object, environment, or character exists in real life. As an archviz specialist, artist or a designer, you should try to:
Observe the world around you so you know what the real world should look like in your rendering.
Think like a photographer. Use camera angles, composition rules, depth of field, motion blur, and lens effects to your advantage so your virtual picture looks indistinguishable from a real one. Check out these tips to boost your composition and camera skills.
Plan your lighting. Well-arranged lighting can add value to your subject and make your setting look more realistic. Check out our 5 lighting tips for photorealistic renders.
Add details. Objects that look “too simple” can ruin realism. Detail your models as much as you can, adding intricacies such as round corners and imperfections such as dirt and scratches to materials.
Understand your materials. Every material behaves differently depending on its nature. Plastic reflects light differently than metal, for example, and understanding each material's properties is key to representing it accurately.