For this thread, I’m going to try and make a comprehensive list of things that I think work well or don’t look good in photo scenes. It will mostly be focused on lighting and usability/versatility for photos. I might throw a few ideas out there along the way but nothing like “oh you should build a gas station on this road.” This may come off overly critical than what is reasonable to fix but its still better to have it out there. Also, while I have limited experience with UE4, I don’t know all of the terminology so I apologize in advance if some things I suggest don’t make sense or have performance issues etc.
To start off for reference, here is a photo album of all the scenes with default settings (besides aperture and moving the car out of weird shadows in a couple cases): https://www.flickr.com/photos/155409293@N02/albums/72157711492512197
The car used has paint with no saturation and 0.5 brightness and shininess.
Pics will all have default settings unless stated otherwise.
80s Design Room
This is one of the better photo scenes. The main room has good reflections, default exposure, and lights the car pretty realistically within the scene. If I were to change anything, it would be nice to get a bit darker shadows underneath the car and reduce the shininess of the hardwood floor a bit to look more like the material. Especially by the rear of the car in this shot the car looks a bit cut out and pasted into the scene, but overall it looks good.
I remember the garage area being a pain to work on so some of this stuff is probably already known. The main thing that sticks out is the room has a strong yellow cast on everything but the floor looks like its lit up with blueish lights and I don’t see where those blue lights are coming from. The yellow-lit car against the blue-lit floor looks weird.
(same neutral grey car from the flickr album)
Maybe the blue is supposed to be daylight from the window, but it is present on the garage door side too. Also again the shadows are barely there but I remember that being hard to fix last time.
Yeah this scene is dark. There is only one light directly above and the mirror floor doesn’t reflect anything back up so the bottom third of the car is in almost complete darkness. There is some weird blocky shadows that show up on the sides of most cars here too.
I think this scene needs a filler light of some sort, maybe a low intensity skylight or something just to give the bottom half of the car a little more light. It can still be more heavily lit from the top. Also I think the floor should have a little texture besides the planar reflection to hide the lower resolution of the reflection and make it less awkward to cut off the reflection in the composition of some pics. Just some mild bumps and scratches etc. It can still look like a mirror.
There is a big light that is reflected on the car but isn’t visible in the scene and the rest of the car looks kinda flat. Is there a way you use a reflection map or something to bring some subtle details to the reflections on the car other than blown-out white? In real life the car wouldn’t exist in a void unless it was a render. (That probably made more sense in my head).
I’m sure its way easier said than done, but this pic has some smooth reflections from the lighting.
This has exposure set to 3 to demonstrate the wonky shadows and darkness on the bottom.
This one is not as bad as Black Mirror. Because of the grey floor, the car has a lot of that grey reflecting on it so the car looks like it is engulfed in fog. I think it could use the same help with the reflections as the Black Mirror scene to help the car not look so flat. Again I think the floor could use a bit of texture to look more like a real floor.
Personal taste, but I think a darker shade of grey would work better. The light grey is high contrast with the black background and it takes away attention from the car a bit.
A real quick and dirty photoshop to show a darker floor:
Maybe the floor texture could be like a more subtle version of this?
I got started on this later than I thought so I’ll have to pick it up tomorrow. Feel free to ask anything if I’m not explaining things well.