To me, (purely personal opinion to follow), there is a key problem when rendering a figure in an unbiased renderer.
For architecture, cars or product renders I really like the look of the unbiased renders, a well lit scene can be beautiful and extremely realistic.
Conversely, the most perfectly lits scene with a figure in it will have the same level of realism but will reveal exactly what that figure is, which is a manikin with a photograph of skin plastered to it. They all look like posed cadavers to me.
That is not the fault of the renderer, rather it’s a direct consequence of the current level of figure modelling and their texturing. The unbiased renderer simply reveals the truth of what it is.
A biased renderer can be pushed to hide this limitation. Even there if you push the reality too far you will end up with a similar effect and if you get the skin to look perfect another element in it will probably break the illusion.
I tend to render with postwork in mind, where I push towards a more ‘airbrushed hyper-real’ style (hyper-realism as applied to painting not as others sometimes mis-use it to mean photo-realism). My galleries are in my sig if you want to see what I mean.
I don’t normally post photo-realistic but I’ll make an exception here. In this render you can sort of see how the illusion breaks on some elements. Given a choice of which way to go I’d rather pull back on the realism to get all the parts to gel together.
Click thumbnail to see full-size image