We test this C4D light­ing plugin

3D World - - CONTENTS -

| | PRICE $249 (£190/€215) DEVEL­OPER Greyscale­go­rilla web­site www.greyscale­go­

Light­ing is an in­te­gral part of any CG work, but it can also be fid­dly and time­con­sum­ing, so any­thing that helps speed it up is a real bonus. This lat­est up­grade to Greyscale­go­rilla’s ven­er­a­ble Light Kit Pro takes a holis­tic ap­proach to the process, pro­vid­ing a com­plete and fully cus­tomis­able light­ing so­lu­tion.

There are plenty of free light­ing rigs avail­able for Cinema, of­fer­ing a se­lec­tion of lamps, pan­els and soft­boxes to cre­ate a per­fectly ser­vice­able stu­dio setup. So why should you spend nearly 200 quid on this? The short an­swer is: ef­fi­ciency. Clearly the GSG team has thought long and hard about ev­ery as­pect of the light­ing process, sim­pli­fy­ing and stream­lin­ing it as much as pos­si­ble. So choos­ing a light is as easy as pick­ing one from the drop-down menu – it’s then com­pletely ad­justable both in the main view­port and in the ob­ject man­ager. You can al­ter any­thing from size, bright­ness and colour tem­per­a­ture to the type of stand that it uses and its vis­i­bil­ity in the view­port. And if you don’t like the one you’ve cho­sen, just click one of the nine icons to change it.

Once a light is in the scene, it’s re­ally easy to po­si­tion it, ei­ther di­rectly us­ing the move tool wid­get, or via the slid­ers in the ob­ject man­ager. You have com­plete con­trol over the look of each light, even down to the amount of im­per­fec­tions in the soft­box fab­ric.

In­deed, the key as­pect of LKP3 is that the makeup of the lights is phys­i­cally real­is­tic, so your ren­ders also look real­is­tic (how things would look in real-world pho­tog­ra­phy). But even then you can still cheat: a gen­uinely use­ful fea­ture is the abil­ity to de­cou­ple the cast light from the re­flected light, en­abling you to tweak over­all bright­ness lev­els sep­a­rately from the spec­u­lar high­lights, to get pre­cisely the look you want.

One of the slight down­sides is that be­cause ev­ery­thing is para­met­ric and cus­tomis­able, things can get a bit slug­gish with lots of lights in a scene. The ad­justable stands are a nice touch, but be­cause they add so much over­head – and so lit­tle ef­fect, if they’re not in shot – it would be bet­ter to have these off by de­fault. But other than these mi­nor nig­gles, there’s very lit­tle to com­plain about here. With a huge li­brary of pre­set stu­dios on of­fer, some re­ally clever func­tion­al­ity and gen­eral ease of use, Light Kit Pro 3.0 comes highly rec­om­mended – hell, if your work is pri­mar­ily prod­uct shots, it’s pretty much es­sen­tial.

Light Kit Pro 3.0 isn’t for every­one, though: it’s a bit too pricey for hob­by­ists when there are per­fectly fine free kits avail­able. But if your liveli­hood de­pends on the cre­ation of good-look­ing ren­ders – where time is money – this plugin should pay you back in a mat­ter of weeks.

Light Kit Pro 3.0 pro­vides a va­ri­ety of real­is­tic lights, pan­els and soft­boxes with which to re­ally hone your light­ing

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