The shot on the left is my composition prior to David’s feedback, and the image on the right was after. The main iteration points were to adjust the camera angle and some compositional elements to make things look more interesting.
While making various tweaks to the camera angle and position, I’d lost a certain amount of depth to the image, and the camera was leveled with the table. Dave’s feedback addressed this and I was able to remedy the issue. The second area that needed more impact was the composition of the elements. The candlestick tower above the jug shifted from the focal point, so I made some changes to its design, which snowballed into tweaking multiple props.
The new arrangement had a better overall sense of harmony, with interconnecting and overlapping shapes, whereas the props initially felt quite isolated from one another. This new composition also allowed the jug to be the dominant vertical element again, and I continued to make small tweaks that can be noted in the final renders.
Shader Tips & Tricks
Adjusting Microsurface Detail
This is a great feature that can allow for some manipulation of the roughness/gloss response in the scene, and this helps make scene-dependent artistic changes without changing the source content.
In the Microsurface module, I picked Advanced Mirco to manipulate the roughness texture of the assets directly in Toolbag. You can adjust the Minimum and Maximum sliders to affect the range of values of the loaded texture.