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Somhairle
02-16-2005, 06:57 PM
Hi All,

I wanted to know if anyone had any good links to lighting tutorials, etc.

I want to achieve a "corpse bride", "james & the giant peach" style lighting, perhaps more in the Corpse bride style. But, a little bit faster setup - as I know they are time-consuming.

So, anyone in the know, or links to share - Thanks!

- Somhairle

floze
02-16-2005, 08:54 PM
http://www.itchy-animation.co.uk/ ->tutorials

Somhairle
02-17-2005, 12:09 AM
Thanks Floze,

thats a great theory link. I should have said I need a more Maya specific way to get the corpse bride effect of lights. I'm just getting started with lighting. I have a classical art background so the actual "look" is not the problem. just the program settings, etc.

Anyone got some good links? and again I'm an animator...I don't want to spend hours upon hours of tweaking to get bad results...I prefer to spend it animating (as I don't have much free time after work)

- Somhairle

Somhairle
02-18-2005, 04:45 AM
anyone at all?

dudders
02-18-2005, 09:28 AM
What do you mean by corpse bride lighting?

You say you want corpse bride/james and the giant peach lighting. What this says to me is you want eerie night/bright day lighting.

I dont understand, is it the shader look you want because this is the only thing I see that they have in common? (I think they are both made from plasticine, so that accounts for the look, but can be replicated with maya)

Theres no quick plugin to lighting a scene you have to place the lights in your scene as carefully as the objects/characters themselves and then you have to tweak, tweak, tweak.

---------------

Here are some tips to help (I hope!):

Have several lights per character and only lighting that character (eg use light linking so the lights dont illuminate anything else). Use this method for each character/prop/background. Think of stage lighting for a play. Also the colours of lights are important warm colours jump forward, cool colours recede. This works but you can break the rules for interest. Also colours give you mood. Corpse Bride is very blue.

Have a minimal amount of lighting that illuminates everything, if any at all.

Have one light giving off a shadow not all of them! this will keep the scene from being cluttered with shadows. If there is another light source, say a candle or two windows, then keep cluttering to a minimum.

Start with darkness and illuminate with one light then two and so on.

Imagine your scene as a stage and think of stage lighting, use only spotlights (imo) and maybe a point light here and there. When a character/object is important he/it is lit brightly, when they are not they are lit minimally.

With spotlights you can have other effects with barn doors/projections/gobos as you can with most lights but it is easier to control the direction of them.

---------------

Im sorry if these tips state the obvious but lighting is the one major thing that lets people's renders down

Its worth spending some time getting the lighting right as it will add to your animation, if its crap it will detract.

If you cant be arse with any of this then use hdri, sometimes you can good results but in an animation it will become dull and repetitive and cant be tweaked so much.

Undead Fred
02-18-2005, 12:26 PM
Other really general tips- using spotlights, make sure to adjust the cone angle (unless you need a really focused light) to something more like 75-90 degrees, take the penumbra angle off of 0 (I like 7 for a default), and adjust dropoff (1's my default). Then, assuming you're using depth map shadows, make sure you bump up your depth map filter to more than 1... keep raising it until you aren't getting pixelation in your shadows.

Fill lights are very important. The should never be brighter than your key/main light, but make sure there aren't any solid black areas in your scene unless there's SUPPOSED to be. Usually there is some degree of bounced light in real life to fill in shadow areas, so keep that in mind.

Somhairle
02-18-2005, 04:45 PM
dudders & Undead Fred - thanks a millon for those tips. some great tips there. this is the kind of response I was hoping for...a very artistic approach instead of that HDRI stuff (imho).

Heres a link to some images:
http://www.timburtoncollective.com/cbcaps/cb_001.jpg
http://www.timburtoncollective.com/cbcaps/cb_008.jpg
http://www.timburtoncollective.com/cbcaps/cb_009.jpg
http://www.timburtoncollective.com/cbcaps/cb_012.jpg
http://www.timburtoncollective.com/cbcaps/cb_070.jpg

guys really I'm a newbie with lights/shaders/rendering and I want to get into good practices from the get-go. can you run through a few ideas once I'm past the lighting stage. ie. Do I need dome lighting with this? mental ray, etc?

Thanks again,

- somhairle

pixelmonk
02-18-2005, 08:15 PM
dudders & Undead Fred - thanks a millon for those tips. some great tips there. this is the kind of response I was hoping for...a very artistic approach instead of that HDRI stuff (imho).

Heres a link to some images:
http://www.timburtoncollective.com/cbcaps/cb_001.jpg
http://www.timburtoncollective.com/cbcaps/cb_008.jpg
http://www.timburtoncollective.com/cbcaps/cb_009.jpg
http://www.timburtoncollective.com/cbcaps/cb_012.jpg
http://www.timburtoncollective.com/cbcaps/cb_070.jpg

guys really I'm a newbie with lights/shaders/rendering and I want to get into good practices from the get-go. can you run through a few ideas once I'm past the lighting stage. ie. Do I need dome lighting with this? mental ray, etc?

Thanks again,

- somhairle

links don't work

floze
02-18-2005, 08:21 PM
Be a little creative! Try the upper directory:
http://www.timburtoncollective.com/cbcaps/

And btw, Somhairle, I dont think the lighting is your problem, it's the shading. Getting your shaders set up looking like in the Tim Burton movie is way harder than the lighting setup itself since they look ultrasoft and ultrasmooth.
And if you want to know how it's been lit: Ask the lighting artist that did this wonderful work. Anything else would result in answers like: 'Use huge and ubersampled arealights.' Trust me, it's the shading.

BillSpradlin
02-18-2005, 08:50 PM
BTW: Corpse Bride is all stop motion, there is no CG in it at all (Burton stated this a while ago).

Somhairle
02-19-2005, 02:04 AM
BTW: Corpse Bride is all stop motion, there is no CG in it at all (Burton stated this a while ago).

Sorry Bill, I didn't mention it - yep thats right - no 3D! except for I'm sure 2D post-production.

- somhairle

floze
02-19-2005, 01:50 PM
Are you freakin serious BillSpradlin?!
Allthough I havent heard of this movie yet (even though Tim Burton is my very favorite storyteller!), when I saw the pics on the site Somhairle posted, I thought this must be CG because the lighting is so subtle, so rich in contrast, so smooth and almost perfect - this cant be plasticine... but if you say so! Hell, I got tricked once again. :D

Maybe some hints to Somhairle:
Backlighting seems to be used quite often in the Corpse Bride shots I've seen.
And to get your shading plasticine-like I encourage you to have a look in this forums' great misss threads, it's worth it! Misss is able to produce supersoft shading within minutes and is very controllable imho.

One very active misss thread (but also do some searches for other ones!):
http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?t=163360

dudders
02-19-2005, 03:56 PM
After seeing those pictures I think some velvety shaders would be good, I think this one uses the facing ratio attribute of the sampler info node. Play around with it a little and you can get the nice soft effect.

LINK (http://www.highend3d.com/files/dl.3d?group=mayashaders&file_loc=Chanja_shader-v1.0-.mb&file_id=1851)

beaker
02-19-2005, 10:40 PM
Are you freakin serious BillSpradlin?!
Allthough I havent heard of this movie yet (even though Tim Burton is my very favorite storyteller!), when I saw the pics on the site Somhairle posted, I thought this must be CG because the lighting is so subtle, so rich in contrast, so smooth and almost perfect - this cant be plasticine... but if you say so! Hell, I got tricked once again. :D They don't use plasticine for stop motion much anymore. It's mostly some kind of latex foam or a urethane. The heads are a harder rubber or plastic and they swap them out evey frame for the dialogue. Aardman does use some platicine for their characters, but only in the face/mouth areas.

Back to the smooth glow look. Much of that effect is created in post. You cannot get this look all the way just with 3d. Much of it is doing light wraps and other little 2d post effects on top of the 3d to get what your looking for.

BillSpradlin
02-19-2005, 11:02 PM
I'd like to second what Beaker stated. You can get some great straight renders, but to what cost? The amount of time spent tweaking these renders to get that "perfect" look is far often much more than what it would take to render in passes and composite the passes in 2D. You have ultimate control over ever facet of a shot without having to re-render the entire shot over and over. The whole persuit of a perfect straight render, in my humble opinion, is a fruitless endevor. Sure I can tweak out a render all day long to get it looking perfect, there are plenty of tools in Maya to do so. I however would highly recommend getting past this way of thinking and begin exploring the beauty and control of controlling your renders in post.

Somhairle
02-20-2005, 12:25 AM
...The whole persuit of a perfect straight render, in my humble opinion, is a fruitless endevor. Sure I can tweak out a render all day long to get it looking perfect, there are plenty of tools in Maya to do so. I however would highly recommend getting past this way of thinking and begin exploring the beauty and control of controlling your renders in post.

Thanks again guys but I don't want to get "off-topic" or program as it were. I've worked in post-pro before (Using mainly after effects and digital fusion) and also for personal work to "sweeten it up" (ALL the renders were crap! haha) so when I finish this animation and from here on in I will use post-pro to desaturate slightly, etc, etc.

As I said I'm new to the lighting/rendering aspects of things...I made some before but NEVER focused on the HOW and WHY (in personal work). even since I started this thread I'm starting to understand it a great deal...haha just leads to a lot of coffee!!!....as a good friend of mine said "Its painting with lights"...what a GREAT inspiring expression!

What about area and volume lights? where are these useful? I read the maya docs, etc but the end result is pure mierda!

dudders: thanks for that link I've been tracking previously it and downloaded the sss_file. yep, theres some great results there.

floze: thank for the shader links, etc...I got some sweet mels there also.

Guys, one thing is downloading these....but i just LOVE the understanding part of breaking them apart and seeing whats what! fro me thats one of the best ways in learning. is there any pre-lit scene links anywhere?

thanks all!

- somhairle

lazzhar
02-20-2005, 08:16 AM
Guys, one thing is downloading these....but i just LOVE the understanding part of breaking them apart and seeing whats what! fro me thats one of the best ways in learning. is there any pre-lit scene links anywhere?

- somhairle

Maybe you wanna download this simple casio model lit by me :rolleyes:
http://members.lycos.co.uk/lazzhar/casio.jpg

http://members.lycos.co.uk/lazzhar/Casio.zip

Good luck.

lazzhar
02-20-2005, 08:47 AM
Since I've seen the great screen shots of tim burton's movie I was trying to remember where I've seen somthing close. Now I do :scream:

http://www.sharktacos.com/Emelia/index.shtml

It's all 3D and made and rendered in Maya too, and the guy is so generous to give us some tips he's using.

dudders
02-20-2005, 01:30 PM
Good link, thanks lazzhar

Somhairle
02-20-2005, 08:10 PM
Maybe you wanna download this simple casio model lit by me :rolleyes:

:thumbsup: Did that when I checked your website in a previous post!! (Thanks for sharing).

Guys I'll try and post some images soon....(when I get the time)

thanks,

- somhairle

Somhairle
02-20-2005, 08:12 PM
jejejeje - then you can do a "Simon" on me! (ie. american idol)

- somhairle

Somhairle
02-20-2005, 09:18 PM
guys,
thanks for your help so far! :buttrock:

with the shadows in the real-world, (eg: an upright pencil, or whatever) the shadow at the base is very sharp, as it moves away from the source (pencil) it gets more blurred.

How can I get that effect in maya? I played around with ramps attached to the shadow controls, etc but to no avail (in other words, I haven't got a clue!)

Suggestions please?

thanks,

- somhairle

lazzhar
02-21-2005, 07:52 AM
guys,


with the shadows in the real-world, (eg: an upright pencil, or whatever) the shadow at the base is very sharp, as it moves away from the source (pencil) it gets more blurred.

- somhairle

Just use an area light with raytraced shadows, or increase the radius size of the the shadows settings. That's all.:scream:

Somhairle
02-22-2005, 12:53 AM
Thanks lazzar!

I'll get cracking at this ASAP and post some renders.

- Somhairle

In the meantime anyone else feel free to comment. useful tricks with shadows, etc.

Somhairle
02-24-2005, 11:31 PM
Hi lazzar, I've decided to definately go with just the maya renderer for what I need. As the mental ray is too time consuming. (When I get a new machine I'll change over!)

Like I asked before - with the shadows in the real-world, (eg: an upright pencil, or whatever) the shadow at the base is very sharp, as it moves away from the source (pencil) it gets more blurred. (maya renderer only)

thanks again everyone,

- Somhairle

lazzhar
02-25-2005, 08:21 AM
Hi Somhairle,
This thread contains some useful tips about rendering soft shadows.
http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?t=146177&highlight=soft+shadows

Maya renderer can also render area lights. Just create one area light, make is casting raytraced shadows, and don't forget to enable raytracing from render global. But if you're looking for speed, MR can render those things mush faster, especialy if you you're dealing with big scenes.

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