23 PRO LIGHT­ING TIPS

An as­sort­ment of light­ing ex­perts share their top tips to help your work shine

3D Artist - - CONTENTS -

For says pro­fes­sional il­lus­tra­tor and con­cept artist Car­los Dattoli, “Light­ing is the most im­por­tant fac­tor in giv­ing your pic­ture a feel­ing.” Whilst the most im­por­tant fac­tors can change from im­age to im­age, get­ting the light­ing just right is al­ways go­ing to make or break the fi­nal prod­uct. the trick is to find a so­lu­tion that works for your im­age to make it com­pelling and with so many op­tions avail­able that can be a time-con­sum­ing prospect.

Luck­ily 3D Artist has as­sem­bled 23 top tips from a host of pro­fes­sion­als in one handy ar­ti­cle. ev­ery­thing from strate­gi­cally plac­ing shad­ows to gath­er­ing ref­er­ences is cov­ered. so whether you’re in need of in­spi­ra­tion or en­tirely new to light­ing, the next few pages will en­rich your work with some top tips and tricks.

01 USE HDRIS

Lights and re­flec­tions come from all an­gles in real life, no mat­ter how light or shady the area is. so if you want to save ef­fort on cre­at­ing a whole 360 de­gree sur­round­ing, you can use Hdris. thuan nguyen Minh Duong

02 CRE­ATE BACKDROPS

backdrops can help you ease the tran­si­tion be­tween the ground and a wall in your ren­der. this will help you achieve that stu­dio feel. thuan nguyen Minh Duong

03 USE AT­MO­SPHERIC FOG

in some cir­cum­stances the air should be more vis­i­ble than oth­ers. You can use at­mo­spheric fog to your ad­van­tage, it will light up the air around light sources, help cre­ate sun rays and en­hance the depth of your scene. Most ren­der en­gines will have this ef­fect. thuan nguyen Minh Duong

04 BREAK UP A BIG SCENE

once fully lit, a big scene can some­times look bor­ing. You can make use of some over­hang­ing ob­jects or trees to cast a shadow on the ground for added vari­a­tion. this will keep the scene look­ing in­ter­est­ing. thuan nguyen Minh Duong

05 SET THE MOOD WITH SHADOW shad­ows can greatly dic­tate the mood of an im­age. Your work does not al­ways need to be fully lit, shad­ows can tell a story, con­vey a mood and mys­tify any as­pect of a char­ac­ter. thuan nguyen Minh Duong

06 SPEC­U­LAR ABOVE ALL ELSE

Nail­ing the spec­u­lar re­sponse for skin comes be­fore any of the other sur­face prop­er­ties. Work the ter­tiary and mi­cro sur­face de­tails with a com­bi­na­tion of rough­ness, dis­place­ment and bump maps. Use the spec­u­lar AOV frame buf­fer in Arnold to help de­bug. Avi­ral Agar­wal

07 NO DIFFUSE, ONLY SUBSURFACE turn the weight of the base in ai stan­dard sur­face to 0 and also set the subsurface weight to 1. All of the sur­face colour and scat­ter will then be han­dled by the subsurface com­po­nent of the shader. Avi­ral Agar­wal

08 SET­TING UP SSS

Use the albedo map for the subsurface colour. the ra­dius will de­ter­mine the depth of the scat­ter­ing colours. the red chan­nel should be set close to 1 as red light scat­ters deep­est for hu­man skin. Also set­ting the scale ap­pro­pri­ately in re­la­tion to scene scale is crit­i­cal to get cor­rect translu­cency. Avi­ral Agar­wal

09 VELLUS HAIR, SUB­TLE BUT IM­POR­TANT they may be thin and tiny but their con­tri­bu­tion is any­thing but in­signif­i­cant. one of the things they help with is a layer of sub­tle spec­u­lar over the skin, to make it look nat­u­ral and bring the ren­der closer to re­al­ity. Avi­ral Agar­wal

10 V-RAY LIGHT SELECT

in arch vis we usu­ally don’t have the time/bud­get to ren­der an im­age or a se­quence mul­ti­ple times to split the light­ing con­tri­bu­tion of the dif­fer­ent parts of a light rig. by us­ing this ren­der el­e­ment and play­ing with the dif­fer­ent modes you can re­fine or even change the mood of your light­ing in post. Luis tornel

11 LINK V-RAY SUN & V-RAY SKY

i like to use V-ray sun as my gen­eral di­rect light source. some­times peo­ple for­get to link the sun to the sky map, when linked the be­hav­iour of the en­vi­ron­ment will be more ac­cu­rate. Luis tornel

12 BACK­GROUND AS GUID­ANCE

if you want to light a char­ac­ter in your scene, pro­grams such a Keyshot al­low you to place a back­ground im­age. this way you can choose an il­lu­mi­na­tion that matches your cho­sen back­ground. this will blend your char­ac­ters with the scene, colours and mood. Car­los Dattoli

13 PLAY WITH YOUR OP­TIONS

Don’t set­tle for the first op­tion, make sure to play around with light­ing be­fore you make a choice. After re­view­ing your op­tions you will be able to recog­nise the light­ing that fits your work. Car­los Dattoli

14 ADD MUL­TI­PLE LIGHTS

in con­cepts and il­lus­tra­tions it is al­ways nice to have dra­matic light­ing. in or­der to do this you might want to set more than one di­rec­tion of light, play with the op­tions and add as many as you think nec­es­sary. try light­ing from the back, front and side. Car­los Dattoli

15 IM­AGE EDIT­ING

for con­cept art and il­lus­tra­tions it is al­ways a good idea to take your 3D ren­ders to an im­age edit­ing pro­gram, such as pho­to­shop. this way you will be able to im­prove even your cho­sen light­ing and give the fi­nal im­age an im­pres­sive fin­ish. Car­los Dattoli

16 OB­SERVE, STUDY, PRAC­TICE

for a start, study the pic­tures you love, try to fig­ure out how they are lit and try to im­i­tate. this will not nec­es­sar­ily give you un­der­stand­ing of why is it lit the way it is and why it works. but if you study hard and prac­tice you’ll get there. Marek Denko

18 USE A RIVET TO CON­STRAIN YOUR LIGHTS this helps to bring the eyes of a char­ac­ter to life. this is cru­cial in cre­at­ing emo­tion on screen. i cre­ate a lo­ca­tor and con­strain it to a point of fo­cus on the char­ac­ter, let’s say the eye in this case. from there i par­ent con­strain a light with an off­set, so it fol­lows the char­ac­ter and catches all the de­tails in the eye. this helps a lot in get­ting that emo­tive light­ing in the iris and pupil we of­ten see but take for granted in real life. Patrick nanton

19 USE V-RAY RT

When us­ing the V-ray rt, set the CPU bun­dle size and CPU rays per pixel to 1, the re­sults will be quicker, and the im­age re­tains its qual­ity. Make use of pro­gres­sive ren­der­ing as well for faster test ren­ders. tim Palgut

20 BE EF­FI­CIENT

try and be as ef­fi­cient as you can and front-end your light­ing work. treat your first pass as the fi­nal, then hope­fully there will only be mi­nor changes mov­ing for­ward. then you can fo­cus more of your time on other shots. Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the value of match­ing your HDR to your plate for ev­ery sin­gle shot. tim Palgut

21 CORONA LIGHTMIXER

the Corona Lightmixer lets you change light in­ten­sity and colour in the frame­buffer, with­out the need to re-ren­der your im­age. this is great for ad­just­ments and fine tun­ing. Alex Langletz

22 SUNSIZE FOR SOFTER SHAD­OWS the de­fault value for the Corona­sun is set to 1, which cre­ates a very hard shadow. set it to at least 3, to achieve more nat­u­ral look­ing shad­ows. Alex Langletz

23 HIGH­LIGHT COMPRESS

An­other great fea­ture of the Corona frame­buffer is high­light compress. it can be used to get back to bright and burned out parts of the im­age. How­ever, it should be used with cau­tion, as it re­moves some con­trast from the im­age. Alex Langletz

from there i par­ent con­strain a light with an off­set, so it fol­lows the char­ac­ter and catches all the de­tails in the eye

Tao by Avi­ral Agar­wal

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