3D World

HOW CAN I IM­PROVE THE LIGHT­ING OF MY PRO­JECT?

Rita Comby, Ox­ford

- Pi­etro Chio­varo replies Unreal Engine

Many el­e­ments can help us to achieve en­gag­ing light­ing ef­fects in a scene, and if our aim is to achieve re­al­ism in our im­age, the light­ing is the first thing to im­prove. There isn’t a for­mula to do it since the light place­ment and val­ues de­pend on the scene and at­mos­phere we want to give to the pro­ject, but for sure the main thing is to learn all the tools and tech­niques that can help us to reach a bet­ter re­sult.

There are four types of lights: point light, spot­light, sun light, and area light. The point light is a light that em­anates the same quan­tity of light in all di­rec­tions. The spot­light em­anates light in a cone with more light in the cen­tre, grad­u­ally ta­per­ing off to­wards the sides of the cone (this light is the most com­plex of the light ob­jects and in fact, it con­sid­er­ably in­creases the ren­der time). The sun light is a recre­ation of the nat­u­ral light of the sun and is pro­duced by a light source at an in­fi­nite dis­tance from the scene. This type of light oc­curs in ev­ery soft­ware, with the only dif­fer­ence of­ten be­ing what it is re­ferred to: for ex­am­ple in Un­real En­gine 4, this op­tion can be found as ‘Direc­tional Light’.

The Area Light is a light that sim­u­lates the emis­sion of light orig­i­nat­ing from a rec­tan­gu­lar sur­face (for ex­am­ple the screen of a smart­phone, a TV or a com­puter). And last but not least, in some soft­ware it can be pos­si­ble to find a fifth type of light, the Hemi Light, which is a con­stant light source that pro­vides light from the di­rec­tion of a 180-de­gree hemi­sphere.

All of th­ese lights can be placed in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions and mod­i­fied by chang­ing the pa­ram­e­ters (colour, power, ra­dius, shadow, spec­u­lar and so on).

For ex­am­ple in this medieval kitchen, I chose to give more im­por­tance to the cen­tre of the scene, and to do that, I shaded the sides and con­cen­trated the light at the cen­tre. So the first thing to do to im­prove the light­ing in your pro­ject is to de­fine all the el­e­ments that should emit light, for ex­am­ple, win­dows, chan­de­lier, fire, and so on, and then place th­ese lights ac­cord­ing to the kind of source.

For ex­am­ple in this scene I used a point light for ev­ery sin­gle can­dle in the pro­ject, sun­light placed out­side to sim­u­late the sun com­ing through the win­dows, and a point light and spot­light (with a wide an­gle) for the fire­place. With this sim­ple step I achieved a nat­u­ral light, and a day­light at­mos­phere. For a warm look and feel, in­crease the tem­per­a­ture of the light, or for a cold/bluish ap­pear­ance, de­crease the tem­per­a­ture. Take time to ex­per­i­ment and test out the many dif­fer­ent al­ter­na­tives for your pro­ject.

TRY AN HDRI MAP

An­other way to light your scenes is through the use of an HDRI map. Sim­ply place one in the back­ground (world) ma­te­rial to im­port real-world light­ing into your pro­ject.

 ??  ?? An­other im­por­tant step af­ter edit­ing the lights is the post­pro­cess­ing stage, where we can es­tab­lish in­ten­sity, colour, and con­trast of the fi­nal ren­der
An­other im­por­tant step af­ter edit­ing the lights is the post­pro­cess­ing stage, where we can es­tab­lish in­ten­sity, colour, and con­trast of the fi­nal ren­der
 ??  ??

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