As you can see the original saved test render is rather dismal and boring. I felt a bit like Roger Moore as James Bond, when he was offered the wine Phu Yuck
Now, this was just the initial render. I many times save them as a reference for later tweaking when I need to go and do something else. I never got around to continuing with this image.
I didn't have time to tweak and re-render the image, but there is a MUCH faster way. Load it into Photoshop and make it more interesting looking that way. That's what I did.
Bernie's observation that I "added blue" was very astute.
There is also often a misconception that I'm striving for photo realism. Most of the time when some sort of photo realism is achieved, it is often by fulfilling very strict conditions and limitations ... using certain lighting and camera angles, materials, props and resources ... avoiding using people, hair, fur, animals, organics in general and so on. Deviate the slightest from it and it easily falls apart. Too masochistic stuff for me.
I do sometimes use HDRI photos as surroundings or light sources, but that's just for speed and convenience.
This is a fairly photo realistic render,
and also very fast and simple to do. As long as you adhere to the very strict conditions of the scene. There is very little artistic freedom in this image. You can rotate the car and change it's materials, but that's about it.
Over the years when I used to mention the image has no post work, I noticed some people didn't believe me or thought I was bragging or something. As a renderer it feels good when the render doesn't need post work. You get a joyful feeling of "I nailed it!" That's all.
As an artist it's naturally the final look of the image that matters the most, not how it was created. Now that I have both rendering and Photoshop skills, I can give any of my images a gazillion different looks. If the render is good I don't have to do much to it, sometimes nothing at all.
This time I chose to see if I could make a horribly boring render look nicer using only Photoshop
With the "Sister 2" image I only did what I think of as non-destructive post work. The render itself is intact, there is no brush work.