Need advice on getting a more realistic render

Started by Kevin Brown, March 03, 2020, 07:09:39 PM

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Kevin Brown

I'm new to Keyshot.  I'm a woodworker and build custom drums... as a hobby.  By day I'm a mechanical designer / drafter using solidworks.  I've used PV360 and visualize a bit for renders but they always looked fake.  The first render I did on keyshot sold me on it... but I think I can get better. (I've had the program less than a week)

As a woodworker, I'm very particular about the way the wood looks.. getting the general color and some varying grain doesn't cut it... So I believe finding excellent quality jpgs of wood is the way to go.  I'm noticing a few things though - the wood looks flat.  There is grain and pores and textures and unevenness to wood that make it real.  I've seen some tutorials where a specific texture will come with multiple layers to use to create some of that depth... but I don't really understand the process.  I'd also like to be able to add a clear coat over the wood to give it a tad of depth and be able to control it as if it's a thick gloss finish or a smooth satin hand rubbed finish.

I use stainless a lot and finish it either brushed, polished, or bead blasted... Any tips for a nice looking bead blasted stainless?

See my attached rendering and screen shots of the process.  I use the solidworks plugin to bring into keyshot, then have the keyshot render, then the final render with some photoshop... mostly upped the contrast and added a bit of blur to the edges / back.

Really just looking for direction, tips, advice... 

Kevin Brown

My end goal is to produce images that look like they were photographed the way I photograph my actual drums...  I've attached a few examples so you can see what I'm after.

Again and direction or advice is greatly appreciated.


My tip is to learn how to use PBR texture sets (diffuse / glossiness / normal / etc.) in Keyshot. You can  download textures from It's a search engine and gives you links to free download sites.

Esben Oxholm has a video tutorial on how to use such texture sets (using examples from Poliigon).


You will be doing exactly what RRIS suggested, using texture sets. is another one that has super high quality texture sets, and watch the tutorials on how to set those up, there are some catches to getting them properly linked up in the material graph. Esben has great tutorials, there's some on the Poliigon Blog site and Keyshot's youtube channel.

Kevin Brown

Thanks for the comments.  Now I've got direction.  I'll do some homework and post an updated render once I feel like it's making sense!


Some additional advices:
Get familiar with the material graph.
Just look into KeyShot Cloud, there you'll find plenty of examples.
Just look through this forum to find help. I've done the material you're looking for on a gun model for a user - but I can't find the post, yet. (searching with a mobile phone isn't that fun)

Happy drummy rendering!



I can help you with showing you how to use the material graph. 

Kevin Brown

I've been working a lot on getting things more realistic with different models.  On this djembe drum, I have a before / after.  I thought the before looked excellent and realistic, but then compared to some actual photos I had... then went back to keyshot to add some more depth.  I changed the light environment which helped a lot, I added a backdrop and added some noise as well as granite to the bump... I might could scale it up a bit, but my paper backdrop has lots of imperfections in it - And I get that sense with this backdrop.  Maybe adding a wrinkle here or there would add another touch.   I also used the material graph after watching some videos and added a color adjust to the wood to darken it.  Then messed with the color to numbers for roughness until I got a "finish" that looked more like my finishes, just a bit more glare than the flat look from before.
The last thing I did was added just a touch of the wood texture to the bump to get some imperfect looking nibs here and there.
These things really made this drum pop.  I'm not sold on the metal band still... stock brushed stainless from Keyshot, with chrome tacks...  But I feel like I can touch the wood.

I added just a touch of blur in photoshop and ran the typical raw camera filter that I run on photos upping the clarity and contrast a bit and adding a slight vignette.    I also played around with the burn and dodge on the carvings to make them look not so uniform.  I only modeled the bottom row of carvings in Solidworks and it took ages to compute - so I copied and pasted the carvings in photoshop as the other two rows before I played with the dodge / burn.   I'm pretty excited about the results.   I'd love to revisit this in another month or so and see how I can improve it even further. 

Open to suggestions.

Now the next step is getting out to the shop to actually build it!


Finally I found the post.
Here you can found two solutions for your wood material comparing to your reference pictures.

And IMHO your environment need some contrast so that the metal doesn't reflect in flat.

Hope that helps