Posted 09 March 2010 - 04:32 AM
Imperfection is the norm. Go for those odd scratches and imperfections, add some detritus to your scene, small effects can give a "lived in" look to a scene which aids in photo realism
Depth of field is good if used gently, almost imperceptibility it may not be obvious at fist but it will help sell a shot
AA, we often work very hard on crisp AA but in life few things have hard crisp edges, our eyesight is not perfect and neither are cameras or print techniques. Bevel edges where possible ( also helps to give spec reflections) Add some softness to renders.
Use gobos and / or off scene objects to add extra shadows to enhance realisim, Gi should give good ambient shadows but if not it helps to add some very light soft shadows using extra shadow casting lights
Very few things are perfectly reflective but ALL objects are reflective ( else we will not see them) add blurry reflections where needed but use sparingly as it is a render hog
Bloom is good to add to bright window openings to give that slight overexposed look from a window, and some people also like to add post bokeh effect to some relections .. google bokeh
Volume light can be good sometimes but don't alway use it, how often do you see vol beams in your house when you are not smoking?
For large expanses, eg wharehouses think of a distance color gradient whereby very distant areas have a grey/blue tings. You can get this distance coloring i the DOF settings in avanced render or use a fog effect and i think sky can have a distance effect
Dirt / Grunge
There are many way to approach this but for marks on a solid table i would either layer a grunge map with the main texture map, possibly using a mask in the layer setup. You could also try adding the grunge map to the diffusion channel
If it is a dirty window or glass you could add your grunge map to the transparency channel
For crevice grunge you could just use straight ambient occlusion but a better effect is to use a grunge texture and have it masked by AO that way the grunge only shows where the AO will allow ( in small crevices)