LIGHT KIT PRO 3.O
We test this C4D lighting plugin
| | PRICE $249 (£190/€215) DEVELOPER Greyscalegorilla website www.greyscalegorilla.com
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