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Does GPU affect the rendered image quality and level of detail? I just feel like my renders are bland and like, the glossyness on the materials just make it look like someone rubbed their shirt on a CD or something, it just doesn't look right.

I try to make my images bright as possible without getting crazy bright. There are no fireflies, but everything just looks bland overall.

Like, nothing looks crystal clear, i'm trying to say. I've seen PS renders, and Cycles renders, which both look more photorealistic.

I'm trying to keep a low amount of materials used, but, I think it has to do with light falloff or something? All I know is that the sharpness in the renders are terrible, the edges aren't that defined and it generally looks smudgy, not sharp and clear.

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    $\begingroup$ No. Aside from feature support and (in some cases) the noise pattern, GPU renders should be identical to CPU renders. Is it possible you could upload an example showing what you mean by "bland" and "not sharp"? $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Sep 27 '15 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ I'll compare mine to another Just look at the car paint. I really don't see any "glossyness" to it anyways, there's no indication that it's diffuse or really glossy, though I can see a minor reflection on the front: imgur.com/HQXeinH Another here is made by someone else. Now, i'm not sure if this was made using Internal Blender, or Cycles. Maybe i'll have to start learning Internal if this is the case: orig01.deviantart.net/003b/f/2014/346/a/a/… $\endgroup$ – BinaryGreen Sep 27 '15 at 1:51
  • $\begingroup$ @BinaryGreen You need more for the gloss to reflect than just a grey world. Try using an HDR pano. $\endgroup$ – PGmath Sep 27 '15 at 1:56
  • $\begingroup$ How do I do that? I've never really went so deep with Blender. That isn't the only example. It seems like AA and AF don't exist in these images. I'm not too focused in the background, but more of the actual objects. Can I really use more glossy than that? And should I mess with bounces and volume sampling settings? Could that be the case? $\endgroup$ – BinaryGreen Sep 27 '15 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ Check out Greg Zaal's article here on proper HDR (high dynamic range) IBL (image based lighting). $\endgroup$ – PGmath Sep 27 '15 at 2:00
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In short, your renders look plain because you're mostly using out-of-the-box settings.

  1. You should experiment with creating more complex materials. It appears you are currently using mostly plain Diffuse with some simple glass for the table. Break out that Node Editor and tweak the noodles! Real world materials are some combination of diffuse and glossy, not either/or. Many materials such as plastics, marble, and skin also have Subsurface Scattering. There is a lot you can study about materials, so I'll leave it at this for a start.

Diffuse only:

Diffuse only

SSS / Glossy / Diffuse mix:

SSS / Glossy / Diffuse mix

  1. Try lighting with HDRi panoramas, like PGMath suggested. You can start by browsing here. When using environment lighting, it's best to enable Multiple Importance in the World context, and maybe boost it to 512 or 1024. Use .hdr files instead of .jpg whenever possible because they contain more color information. Better lighting in general will always help your scenes. Lighting is another a vast topic worth studying. Learning how to light with HDR images will take you far.

Lit with a single-color sky:

Objects lit with a sky of just one color

Lit with a single-color sky plus an emitter mesh:

Objects lit with a single-color sky plus an emitter mesh

Lit with an HDRi sky:

Objects lit with an HDRi sky

  1. You could add some bevel to the edges of your geometry. In the real world edges are not perfectly sharp. Beveled edges catch light and add to the realism. Not sure if this goes against the low-poly style you're using, but it's something to try.

No bevel:

No bevel

Bevel (with smooth shading):

Bevel with smooth shading

  1. Add some texture, even if it's subtle, and even if it's just procedural.

  2. You can use your geometry to automatically create color variation, for example by using Pointiness output from the Geometry Node.

Pointiness can change the color where edges are at steeper angles:

Pointiness being used to change the color

Pointiness node setup:

Pointiness node setup

  1. Add some bumps to your materials. Small imperfections can add up to create lots of juicy details. Glossy maps or other types of maps that factor the mixing of two different types of materials are also very effective. The real world is full of little nicks, scratches, bumps, and cracks, so we expect to see such imperfections.

Before bump displacement:

Metallic spheres before bump displacement

After bump displacement:

Metallic spheres after bump displacement

  1. Depth of Field can really enhance your renders and give realism. So can motion blur if you're making animations. Blur can be a good thing.

  2. Fog is a great way to add depth to large scenes. Just don't overdo it.

  3. Play with particles when appropriate. While the settings can be intimidating, particles are a good way to add lots of detail that would otherwise be impossible to create piece by piece.

  4. Don't forget the Compositor. There are many color effects and other enhancements that are possible via compositing.

I may add more example images later. For now those are some ideas.

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  • $\begingroup$ The one with the table wasn't mine, but was explaining how more defined and sharp it looked compared to the car one. I'll post a newly rendered example, and try to put the same effects I did for the original image i'm rendering right now. Thanks for the help guys! The colors really stand out and even though it sort of darkens the image (which can be helped with multiply and strength) it makes it look more realistic, making my image now acceptable to the community i'm native to (on another website) $\endgroup$ – BinaryGreen Sep 27 '15 at 2:50

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