I gotta throw this one out here because I thought it a bit different and kinda fun. On a lark, I was experimenting with some PS 3d Lighting effects on a model I imported. The tower has "windows" and I used the pre-set glass materials in the windows, then managed to put a point light inside the building so it casts some really cool lights and shadows outside here's a pre-render view.
I have the IBL turned completely off and have two point lights. The first is tucked inside the tower there and is casting the light with a decidedly warm glow. I also have an exterior white point light with just a tiny bit of a blue. I adjust the intensity and shadows to get it to look like very weak moonlight. But the gradient I used in the background pulls off the night sky without much help so the exterior light isn't very strong. Anyway, I got the above result and thought - hey, that's pretty cool! So I hit the render.
And the whole thing washes out - no more light reflection or shadows. I've adjusted the lighting settings, fall-off, shadows, you name it. Just trying different things. (You can see I cranked up the reflection on the floor just to see what would happen on that last render). But the render washes out the light every time. But even the stone is looking more washed out and "fuzzy" than it did the first time I rendered the tower a week ago.
I've got a GPU that can handle the process no problem. I'm running an Intel i8 hyperthread, with an Nvidia 770 and they just updated the graphics drivers a couple of days ago so I've got everything up to speed on that. Oh running Windows 8.1 too. I've got the preferences lined out for the high end 3d renders. It's a pretty good sized model with some really intense detail on the stone. I have a gradient layer plus 2 lights and the floor, but it only takes about 15 minutes for a full render (huge improvement over my last computer). Both versions actually look pretty darn good so I'm thinking there's probably one little tweak I'm missing.
I'd just go with the first image but I am getting light leakage where the tower connects with the wall. As I mentioned earlier, about a week ago I pulled the model into Photoshop for the first time and used lighting and had some really nice results but I didn't have the light inside the tower and this render doesn't look as nice as the ones I got earlier. I was just curious if anyone had any success with something like this. I can always pull it into Maya and get it work that way, but I wanted to give Photoshop a go because lately I've gotten some really nice results and it has been super easy pulling composites from Maya renders.
Anyway, like I said, just curious if anyone has any ideas.