For this post I am taking one of the renders from the cabin interior, and give you a brief idea how I improved the render quality. No matter how good a render may come, I do not remember a time where I skipped the post-processing, even if the improvement was minimal. Eventually this is the kind of work where you never take an image as finished, always trying to make it better, but recognizing when it is enough.
1. Original Render
I do not push my renders to show the material detail to the fullest directly from the render engine, nor lose much time with rendering tests by adjusting settings over and over, such as the material bump and displacement. On the other hand I do not ignore those definitions either. Setting balanced values that allow me to bring up those and other details in post-processing, by being selective on what I want to contrast, is what I usually do.
In projects that have a relative amount of details coming from the 3d model itself, is quite easy to make a mistake here and there. This kind of mistakes in an image mixed with other images would probably go unseen, or be seen and taken as it was supposed to be that way. One of the reasons I put myself through the post-processing and not ignore it. Even in personal projects I would feel guilty if I did.
2. Nik Collection Color Efex Pro
I wanted to make the cabin look brighter and slightly warm, increase the contrast and turn the blue shadow tone from the vray HDRI into a darker one.
3. Nik Collection Viveza 2
After some editing, we reach the final stage. With control points that Nik Collection offer, I can apply individual area adjustments and be selective in what and where I want to make a change, as I said earlier in this post. It feels much more practical and easy to work with, when compared to the traditional photoshop mask selection. Another great aspect of the control points is their color recognition, allowing changes to a single color with little to no changes to everything else inside the area effect.
Bellow we have the comparison between the render outcome and the post-processing result.