Alright! First attempt at photorealism DONE! which do you think looks more realistic? [ scroll down for third]

This was my first attempt at making photorealistic renders in Blender

Some things I already know.

In the first one, the water droplets are too big. And there are too many of them and it looks odd.
Also in the first one, the water is too blue.
In both of them, there are no shadows.
Not sure how this happened since I used an HDRI but whatever.
The bricks - I know, they don’t really fit in with the realism.
I was planning on using a PBR something but I was running out of time and since I knew the render was going to take a long time I just used a brick texture.
I also could’ve chosen a different HDRI for the sky - water doesn’t float in the air high up like that. But it was the only HDRI I had atm and I was running out of time - I knew the render would take 20-40 mins.
I also used compositing to add denoising, some contrast changes and just a teeny bit of chromatic displacement (camera distortion).
I think the frost texture on the glass looks pretty realistic, and the water on the second one looks more water-ish.
Also, the lighting in the second one matches the number of clouds in the sky.
This was my first time rendering with more than the usual 128 samples in cycles. I used 200 this time.
It took about 40 minutes in total because the cloud parts and the bricks were simple images that didn’t need lots of energy. I noticed that the…what do you call them…render squares? edged their way over the glass and water, but skipped rapidly over the sky and the bricks.
Also for anyone wondering this is the same HDRI I used for my most recent GFX art


I know this could’ve been way better, but I can’t improve on it as of now and will try making a better version tomorrow.

EDIT: The THIRD render is here! Phew! it took 55 minutes!!!

NOW which one looks better?!
  • First
  • Second
  • Third

0 voters


Second one, hands down. Water in that small amount wouldn’t look blue.

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Rendering out an even more hopefully realistic one.
but its going to take a while…

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I agree with Golgi. The second one is more realistic as it reflects the light in the environment. This also may be a nitpick, but the shape of the water droplets feel a little too similar, even if droplets have similar shapes in general.

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The THIRD one is here! 55 minutes later


This looks amazing rendered, looks like it’s coming out from a video game. I’m impressed overall.

First one looks most real to me. The lighting makes the droplets look real, and the blue in the drink makes it look like there is something in it that causes it to be somewhat opaque. Numbers 2 and 3 look like they should have clear liquid, but they aren’t transparent enough (we don’t see enough behind them) to pull that off in a perfectly realistic way. They all look pretty good though.