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FoxTrax
08-26-2012, 03:04 PM
Note that I am a complete n00b at lighting, so don't be surprised is the following post gives you cancer.

Here's an official Sonic the Hedgehog render.
http://images.wikia.com/sonic/images/f/fc/Sonic-Generations-artwork-Sonic-render-2.png

My question is, how can I achieve this exact kind lighting? I want my Sonic renders to have the same infinitely-lit, barely shaded feel this one does. Does it have to do with compositing in Photoshop, or can it be done within 3DS Max with VRay or Mental Ray (doesn't matter which)?

Array
08-28-2012, 05:01 AM
You can get close to this in mentalray using 3 passes. On the first pass, create a white sphere around your character and enable final gathering in order to give your image the ambient, omnidirectionally lit, look. There should be settings in whatever software you're using to make the sphere contribute to final gathering, but to also have it hidden in your render window. Your second pass is a simple ambient occlusion pass. Your third pass is a key pass which will give your light a slight bit of directionality, in this case it looks like it's about 3/4 up, coming from screen left. Once you have these three passes, open up PhotoShop, or your compositing package of choice, and do the following:

1) Load up your final gathering pass as your first layer
2) Load up your ambient occlusion pass as your second layer, and use the "multiply" operation with that pass and your final gathering pass.
3) Finally, load your key pass and add/plus it to the results of step 2.

Array
08-28-2012, 05:05 AM
I should not that on your key pass, should you need it at all, your light shouldn't be casting any shadows.

FoxTrax
08-28-2012, 07:36 PM
You can get close to this in mentalray using 3 passes. On the first pass, create a white sphere around your character and enable final gathering in order to give your image the ambient, omnidirectionally lit, look. There should be settings in whatever software you're using to make the sphere contribute to final gathering, but to also have it hidden in your render window. Your second pass is a simple ambient occlusion pass. Your third pass is a key pass which will give your light a slight bit of directionality, in this case it looks like it's about 3/4 up, coming from screen left. Once you have these three passes, open up PhotoShop, or your compositing package of choice, and do the following:

1) Load up your final gathering pass as your first layer
2) Load up your ambient occlusion pass as your second layer, and use the "multiply" operation with that pass and your final gathering pass.
3) Finally, load your key pass and add/plus it to the results of step 2.

I should hug you right now. Thank you for the simple advice!

One question, though: For the first pass, do I need to have another light in the scene for it to work?

Array
08-29-2012, 02:54 AM
I should hug you right now. Thank you for the simple advice!

One question, though: For the first pass, do I need to have another light in the scene for it to work?

You shouldn't need any other lights in your scene for the final gathering pass to work. Final gathering is a point sampling algorithm which calculates the color of a pixel based on the luminosity of the surfaces around it. I.e., when calculating a pixel, rays are sent from that pixel in a semi-hemispherical pattern in order to sample the surrounding surfaces, so putting a sphere around your character will result in an omnidirectional lighting scenario. Just be sure that your "max distance" attribute, under your final gathering settings, is set high enough to reach the sphere from the surface of said character.

catche
08-29-2012, 06:30 AM
actually with max you do, don't know about other software but max adds default lighting to renders unless there is a light in the scene, so just make an omni and turn it off.

there are howerver, more time friendly ways to get a look like that than using a sphere to illuminate, just use a simple skylight together with final gather set to low or medium with 2 bounces. you might even not need the ao pass if you go up to high on fg. also of course include a very soft keylight. if you want to make an animation out of it you should have 0 bounces, low fg and do the ao pass. just remember not to comp it with too high opacity or it will just look harsh and too "AO-ish".

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