I've been searching on the web for HOURS trying to figure out why my viewport render, which is set to cycles, and final render don't look similar. The lighting in my final render seems dulled, affecting the glitter material I made as well. (viewport first + final render second) enter image description here enter image description here

a list of causes i have ruled out:

  • hidden item in outliner
  • viewport and render settings not identical
  • no hdri in final render
  • modifier not applied

I'll attach my .blend file down below if screenshots don't offer much information. Thanks to anyone who can help me out, I want to move on from the tutorial donut lol. donut.blend


1 Answer 1


It's almost impossible to get exactly the same image in Render Preview mode as in a render, but here are a couple of things you could do:

  1. You're not using exactly the same lighting. There's a dropdown menu just to the left of the Rendered Viewport shading button. You have Scene Lighting checked, but not Scene World. You should check both. In this case, though, a large part of the remaining difference will be the exr file you're using for the scene world.

  2. There are various settings that can differ between viewport and actual render. They include some render settings, like noise reduction, whether you're rendering transparent, and so on; as well as settings on some modifiers, most notably subdivision surface.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh! So when I click off the scene world lighting, it's only for my viewport and not the render as well? Do you know how I can only render the scene lights and not the scene world? $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2022 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ @wizardofloneliness change the scene world so that it has no output. Setting the strength to 0 in the world properties will do it. I keep three different worlds in my startup file just so I can switch between uniform light, no light, or an hdri. $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2022 at 23:43

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