I have made this image : enter image description here

As you can see there is something wired going on with the liquid of inside the glass, in fact, I'm doing a fluid simulation here, it looks like the mesh of the fluid doesn't match the mesh of the glass, so I think that's why we have this cloth look here, any ideas on how to make the liquid more realistic ?

Also, I thought the color of the liquid would be more visible in the shadow, but it's not that much, do you know how to fix this ? (I'm using the glass shader, with Cycles).

  • $\begingroup$ Could you post a .blend, That way we can test using the file and help you quicker $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2015 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms I din't saved this file :/ $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2015 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ @TrevörAnneDenise How would you then decide if an answer works for you? $\endgroup$
    – stacker
    Mar 8, 2015 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ @TrevörAnneDenise ! ...but I thought you needed help with it? can you retry it? ...why need the answer if you're done with the file! $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2015 at 14:34
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    $\begingroup$ @TrevörAnneDenise Asking a question based on a non-existent file is odd . . . don't expect any answers. One thing to get you started on you rown though is lighting, do not under estimate the value of good lighting. Try using an HDRi environment texture $\endgroup$
    – J Sargent
    Mar 8, 2015 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


Refracting and reflecting materials need basically three things to look good:

  1. Proper shape.

Light bounces all around and INSIDE an object. You need to pay attention how every single edge look like - for example just looking at the top edge of your glass I can say you need to give more definition to it. It should be sharper and inflated when compared to the side of a glass.

Also glass surface is never perfect (the only exception would be optical lenses when you are justified to model it as perfectly shaped objects). So what you do is just add a little bit of displacement to the glass, just enough to barely see that distortion effecting reflections and refractions... and you think it's barely visible, just divide it by half and usually that's your sweet spot. Unless of course you are aiming for roughly formed glass.

So first thing - grab a real glass and watch it as close as you can, then recreate every detail you can spot (which usually would be couple more edge loops and that slight displacement).

  1. Proper lighting.

I can't think of a scene (except very very specfic ones) which looks good with one spot lamp. Try three point lighting at least, some high contrast lights or environment based lighting (rich surroundings that reflect and bounce light all around your scene or - which is best to start off - environment hdr light map).

  1. Something to reflect.

Again - hdr map as a lighting source helps here, but if you can build a rich scene that fills the space it would be just as good, if not better. For a quick scene however your best bet would be hdr.

There are some specific shots with bright color and couple white light sources (like catalogue shots for glassware etc.) However those scenes are much harder arrange and they are actually target the synthetic looks of perfect and not very realistic look of clear glass. However if you look closely you still find that those shots still work because of proper setup and contrast. And when rendering glass objects contast is very important, unless you aim for a milky, rough surface glass - you need very convincing highlights as your starting point and just the right amount of darker contrasting parts that will define your shape.

As an example you could look at these - not perfect or anything, but in the right direction I think:

Single area lightsource: enter image description here

Two color high contrast light source: enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ As soon as I saw Trevor's image, I thought the lighting needed some more work. It reminds me of a speed render I tried, where the shadow of the glass was far too strong. On top of that, liquid doesn't look very transparent to me. $\endgroup$ Mar 9, 2015 at 0:49

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