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For a while now i have been trying to recreate the picture below, it is a city scene from Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.

enter image description here

But i am struggling with the lighting and my project ends up looking very dark with few reflections, here is a render:enter image description here

What i would like to know is what i have to change in my scene to achieve the look i am going for. Inside of each of the buildings i have one plane with a city building texture on it and that is hooked up with an emission node.

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  • $\begingroup$ I guess you need to put a bit of mist. Also maybe they mainly use image textures for their buildings. $\endgroup$ – moonboots Jan 12 at 11:11
  • $\begingroup$ what version of blender are you using? Trying to open with 2.79 and it crashes immediately $\endgroup$ – Dale Cieslak Jan 13 at 6:22
  • $\begingroup$ sorry, i am using the 2.8 beta, although it was modeled in 2.79. $\endgroup$ – AcTiV3 Jan 13 at 7:29
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Make the lights inside the windows brighter, maybe? Also maybe use some stronger, colorful world lighting, just to fake the effect of bright city lights. This will brighten up the scene more.

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I agree with Rix Yarbrough, the scene needs more light.
But the light is not to use it as is, but to play with it later in the compositor. It just asks for some glare filter for the windows. You can add material index pass to your render layer to use glare only for windows (and set pass index for the material as well). Or just use Emission render pass.
Believe me, you will never get an image like your reference with raw render only and no post-processing.

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Try a night time HDR from: https://hdrihaven.com/hdris/category/?c=night This will liven up the scene a little bit, but to make it as vibrant as your screenshot, you should add some colored lights between the buildings

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