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just quick question, I am having a rather dark scene, trying to do a prerender but even at 10.000 Samples the picture still isn't really any good looking and it's hard to say how it will look at the final render. Is that normal that you need quadrillion samples for a dark picture? The layer samples are set to 0, just if anyone would bother to ask.

Thanks for your attention.

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    $\begingroup$ General rule of thumb with Cycles is that "hard to find" light sources are prone to noisy renders. That means small lamps, hidden away light sources, indirect light, and poorly lit ambiences, which include dark/night scenes. $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Aug 16 '17 at 0:39
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A few of thoughts:

The rendered view on the viewport is really not a good indicator of how things are going to look in the final render and should be viewed with caution.

(read this link for more info)

Instead, use a Render Border to test render small segments of the image and evaluate the real render settings. It is the only way you will get an idea of how things are working.

It is easier to perceive noise in Dark and low contrast images with small light sources. Our sense of a noisy image is relative, images with more contrast are perceived as to have less noise than those with low contrast. Even when the grain structure is the same.

Rendering at a larger size and reducing the image size in postproduction can also help mitigate noise.

Another trick is not to make the original image not quite as dark and then darken later, as part of postproduction.

Additionally you might want to try the new denoise feature on available on v2.97. You still need a lot of samples to get a decent image, but not quite as many as you do without denoising.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the thoughts. One last question: Do you think it would be best cranking up the given light sources or create another one for more light which wasn't planned in the first place? $\endgroup$ – Deven Aug 16 '17 at 1:08
  • $\begingroup$ I can only give you three pieces of advice: Test, Test and Test. $\endgroup$ – user1853 Aug 16 '17 at 1:39

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