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jeremybirn
08-19-2006, 08:47 PM
Edit: This thread is archived. If you scroll down to the Challenge #6 section of the downloads page, you'll see that the models can still be downloaded for your tests, and also that a gallery has been made of top entries.

Lighting Challenge #6 is on-line!

http://www.3drender.com/challenges/candles/screenshot.jpg

The rules are simple: light and render this scene as if it were lit by candle light! You can download the scene here:

http://www.3drender.com/challenges/

All shading and rendering techniques are fine. Any minor tweaks you want to make to the scene are OK. The rules are to have fun, make a cool candle-lit rendering, and share how you did it afterwards.

-jeremy

ShadowM8
08-20-2006, 12:32 AM
Looks great Jeremy, can't wait to give this one a try.

lazzhar
08-20-2006, 10:06 AM
Let me start this up after a long break where I moved to another continent for a job.
http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/6066/candleshz9.jpg

fighter4d
08-20-2006, 10:13 AM
It's my first challenge in CGtalk , i will try my best,and woderful idea 2 begin

ChrRambow
08-20-2006, 11:13 AM
Oh what a wonderful challenge #6!

Can not wait to get my hands on that scene after this weekend.

I would appreciate if you could offer a 3ds file too.
The reason i ask for this was, that the under the boardwalk
obj-file was merged into one mesh with texture selections.

If this obj file is not merged ... then ignore my question ;)


@lazzhar: I like the lighting and translucency on the candles.
Just the flames looking too bright and flat at the moment.

Welcome back and congratulation for the new Job. :)

MasterZap
08-20-2006, 12:02 PM
http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f366/MasterZap/candles-4.jpg

I call it "Altar of Worship" ;)

/Z

jeremybirn
08-20-2006, 12:37 PM
@ lazzhar - "FIRST!" Congratulations on the job! I was wondering about you, the guy who always posts great lighting work but had to look for work from Algeria. So now where to? France? UK? Singapore? USA? Canada? ?

@ ChrRambow -I just added an .fbx file. The .fbx should support the grouping and naming of the original scene, and keep the NURBS surfaces as NURBS, and should import well into Max and some other programs. If that isn't good enough for everyone, we'll have to get some volunteers using other software to do more conversions, and I'll host the files...

@ MasterZap - Great render, but don't you usually wait until your relatives are dead before you make a shrine to them with candles??? :eek: OK, you got a laugh out of me, and the asian screens sortof match...

-jeremy

MasterZap
08-20-2006, 12:53 PM
Well, I was more thinking of "worship of a god" style thing. But maybe the red mood made it a wee bit too somber and looked like some form of memorial. ;)

I most certainly did not envision as deceased, you were quite live and kicking last time I saw you ;) (You even survived me feeding you swedish candy Cars ;) )

Here's a more... uhm.... neutral version. I added some foliage outside the asian screen walls...

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f366/MasterZap/candles-7.jpg

/Z

Seggy
08-21-2006, 12:33 AM
Hi all, this is my first posting on the cgtalk website. I look forward to your feeback!

http://www.protograph.co.uk/candles1.jpg

I want to put a little more light coming in from the right on the vase. It was rendered with ARTVPS Renderdrives. There is no GI or SI involed and unfortunately there is no SSS material to use for the candles... but I faked self illumination with an ambient ramp. I have imagined a window bringing in blue light from outside on the right side with a door a jar on the left creating white highlights and some light. I'm thinking the screen at the back could do with something also!

The candle which looks blue is because it isn't being lit on that side by the other candles. It kind of looks a bit odd, but I think it most likely would look like that.... mmmmmm

lotaH
08-21-2006, 01:28 AM
Great chanllenge however!!

kadazil
08-21-2006, 04:26 AM
Greetings all! I have just discovered the lighting challenges! It was 2h30 am when the light was thrust upon my eyes! And now, it is 5h24 and I am a member and proud to be participating to challenge #6 Great work all of you! Good luck to all!

ps: thank you Jeremy for your time and valuable support ;)

barrymcw
08-21-2006, 05:33 AM
My first lighting challenge entry. Thanks for the forum to show work and talk about it. This is a great resource.

Render time is just under an hour with GI. Done in C4d. In my next pass I've got to to deal with those nasty glows around the candle lights. I feel like they're a bit much and I forgot to render them in a separate pass.

Clearly I've got my inner chiaroscuro going - five candles would probably generate more light than that. In my next pass I'll add a fill light but not too strong of one. I like the atmosphere.

I'm not sure what the odd blooms on the screen are all about. Something having to do with GI, I imagine, like photon mapping...I'm a broadcast design guy. We don't do a lot of this kind of lighting. If anyone's got an idea of how I can reduce that, feel free to send it my way.

http://img226.imageshack.us/img226/8343/candlechallenge01fe3.png

Oh man, I just noticed the floating candle...I'll fix it next pass.

@ Master Zap, I really like the translucency of the candles. They feel nice and waxy.

Cheers.

jeremybirn
08-21-2006, 09:44 AM
One thing that I love about MasterZap's renders, especially the first one where it's brighter, is the luster of the metal base holding the candles. That mix with very low diffuse but the right colored soft reflections and highlights creates a really nice feeling of a metal like brass or copper.

barrymcw, welcome! That's a good start! Sorry about the floating candle, I hope otherwise that the obj file imports well into Cinema 4D. If you take a look at the candle to the right of that one, it seems as if the sense of contact between the base and the ground could be improved with better occlusion or shadowing. The circles of light around each candle seem like something you could get rid of if the shadows were softer: the shadow of a candle itself onto the table beneath it shouldn't be so clearly focused. Are the bright dots on the screen in the background photons from global illumination?

Edit: Seggy - looks like you haven't got an image to appear yet, but we look forwards to it.

-jeremy

lazzhar
08-21-2006, 10:19 AM
Thanks Jeremy and ChrRambow , as french people say: "Nul n'est prophète dans son pays "
Geat renderings Zap you really made me laugh for a while lol.

For fun here is a second render:
http://img201.imageshack.us/img201/5845/ccczu0.jpg

MasterZap
08-21-2006, 10:46 AM
Seggy: Very nice, except the material on the picture frame isn't really working for me. But the glass/metal candle holders, and the plate, work perfectly!

barrymcw: Yes those "glow blobs" are indeed a problem. Try to do what I did (which is a classic "trick" to get stuff to look "brighter"); layer a few glow-blobs of different radii.

One thing that I love about MasterZap's renders, especially the first one where it's brighter, is the luster of the metal base holding the candles. That mix with very low diffuse but the right colored soft reflections and highlights creates a really nice feeling of a metal like brass or copper.

Glad you like it!

It's the new mental ray "arch&design" material (the we unveiled at SigGRAPH) in pretty much the default copper preset.

Actually everything you see is using that material, except the candles that are misss_fast*.

Here's a new rendering of mine w. some DOF plus I added some "off screen reality" with the help of a very dialed down HDRI w. a window to light/reflect in the scene.

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f366/MasterZap/candles-D.jpg

I dialed down the coloring of the asian screen backlight... hmm... now you hardly see my paltrees outside it. Oh well.

Maybe the DOF is a bit over the top.

I think I'll try something completely different w. it now. I really liked Seggy's glass candle holders!

/Z

CaptainObvious
08-21-2006, 11:35 AM
Oh, nice challenge! I'm cleaning it up for Lightwave/modo use. Shall I upload the LWO somewhere when I'm done?

I'm going to wait for my computer to get here, then get stuck in. The 733 MHz G4 I'm using now is just too dang slow. Oh well, it should get here this week. :)

fulg0re
08-21-2006, 01:03 PM
Hi all, I am new here on the forum, and this is my first challenge.I hope my english is not to bad :). The image is made in blender internal render without AO, the shadows in the background look maybe odd but they look similar to the shadows cast by real candles.
http://img241.imageshack.us/img241/892/finalzu9.jpg (http://img223.imageshack.us/my.php?image=finalzl9.jpg)

meanlebh
08-21-2006, 02:16 PM
Great challenge once again, and some really great starts so far, I am looking forward to being able to finally post some work in this one once again.

As I said, nice renders everyone, but I think one of the things that is looking just slightly off to me is the coloring of the candle light in most of these. It seems to me right now to be fairly whitish in color, when in reality candle light can be quite reddish....in my experience, even with indoor balanced film, it still appears quite orange/yellow rather than white. Anyways, just my 2 cents, but I really like some of the lighting that is going on here.

MasterZap, nice renders, however in your last one the DOF looks off to me, too great of a difference between the non focused and focused areas considering the actual distance that it is convering. Otherwise though, very nice starts.

Folgore, nice start. I would say that without the AO as you mentioned, your objects lose a great deal of connection with the table, try to add this in, or adjust your curent shadows to help give us some connection. Also, you are right about the shadows looking slightly off, try using some slightly softened shadow maps or soft raytraced shadows to help blend them a little bit better, I also feel that most of the shadows could be made to be a bit darker, rather than just upping the umbra, or coloring of the shadows, try to add some bounce lights to help lighten them up, this will aslo help to illuminate some of the pitch black areas of the unlit sides of your objects. And lastly the thing that looks the strangest is that the wicks of the candles are casting shadows on the back wall, this makes it appear as if the candles are not lit. Anyways, nice start, keep it up.

Nice job everyone.

-Brian

Seggy
08-21-2006, 02:48 PM
Amended the frame and added a little more light


http://www.protograph.co.uk/candles2.jpg

MasterZap
08-21-2006, 03:59 PM
Frame is better.. but... still not as good as the rest.

Here's my problem - same as yours.

With little light... you hardly see nuttin'

With "more light"... it stops looking "candle lit".

I still don't have the perfect solution... yet.

Stay tuned...

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f366/MasterZap/candles-E.jpg

/Z

Seggy
08-21-2006, 04:17 PM
Thanks for the feeback MrZap

The frame is mat gold material not wood. If I made it wood, it would not jump out as much. But as to whether it is acurately representing what a gold frame would be with the lights i have in there... then I think it probably does - I'm feeling it's the lighting I need to look to help convince you it's all candle lit... see what i mean?

i.e. my frame is not the same as yours so it won't look like yours.

also there's no glass, it's chrome/silver.

Seggy
08-21-2006, 04:18 PM
posted twice by accident

MasterZap
08-21-2006, 05:30 PM
The frame is mat gold material not wood. If I made it wood, it would not jump out as much.

But as to whether it is acurately representing what a gold frame would be with the lights i have in there... then I think it probably does


I'm aware it's not intended to be wood..... ;)

Right now, my eye says "glazed yellow plastic" about it. Are your reflections gold colored? For a gold look, it should reflect a gold color (which I'd say is a hair more orange than the color you are using) and have basically no diffuse component.

But gold is difficult! There is a reason I made my metal parts more coppery, it's a much easier color. I have a suspicion gold actually does something spectrally w. light which isn't really well representable in RGB.

- I'm feeling it's the lighting I need to look to help convince you it's all candle lit... see what i mean?

This is indeed tricky... I have the similar problem that it either looks "overlit" or "too dark" and it's hard to nail the middle-ground "candle lit".

also there's no glass, it's chrome/silver.

I noticed that when I tried to copy your cool candle holders and actually made them glass, which wasn't at all the look you had..... I really liked your silver ones.


/Z

silvia
08-21-2006, 06:29 PM
MasterZap, as usual, great great stuff! From the number of renders you posted, I can tell you are really having fun with this image!!!

I hope to get to work in this one soon, I am horribly busy right now, but can't wait to get my hands on this challenge.

MasterZap
08-21-2006, 06:31 PM
Jeremys challanges are great testing material. Perfect for surface- and light-shader code. ;)

/Z

barrymcw
08-21-2006, 06:56 PM
Code? What is this "code" you speak of, Master Zap?

The last time I saw code I was trying to write a "Zork" game in Basic on my dad's TRS-80.

Man, if these programs didn't have GUI's, I'd have a different job :D.

Anyway, my next post'll have an image instead of my silly blather.

I may try to change the palette up a bit, after first solving the problems with my first pass. I'm seeing lots of wood and dark smoky-ness. Maybe a stainless steel table, or stone...But that's after fixing the lighting.

Seggy
08-21-2006, 08:49 PM
Here's a new version... with more subdued lighting, i think it's moving in the right direction.
Need to sort out those flames!

http://www.protograph.co.uk/candles3.jpg

meanlebh
08-21-2006, 11:40 PM
nice one seggy! I really like the glowing ember and the porcelain dish. Something about the gold candle holders still seems slightly off to me, but they are definitely headed in the right direction.

Also the candles seem a little too smooth and perfect to be wax, makes them look a little more like plastic.

Anyways, great updates everyone.

-Brian

kadazil
08-22-2006, 03:17 AM
Greetings to you all =) Well here's my little contribution. I made this with 3DSMax, started at 6PM with texturing and just finished my first try at 4h10AM lol. So I guess Im off to bed now =P Any comments are more then welcome. Good luck to you all ;)


http://www.gdelescazes.free.fr/candles/the_doomed_frame.jpg


*needs sleep, hands shaking*

kadazil
08-22-2006, 04:30 AM
http://www.gdelescazes.free.fr/candles/the_doomed_frame.jpg

Excuse me for double posting :/ hadnt figured out how to post an image. :rolleyes:

jeremybirn
08-22-2006, 05:22 AM
Seggy - Nice one! It’s funny how the ambiguous flat-mouthed expression on the kid’s face looked happy in your previous render, but in this one, with the reflection mimicking a tear, he looks sad. I’m not sure on the reflections, especially the deeply saturated blue windows reflected on the right of the vase, whether they fit with the scene. I like how you have the incense glowing on the plate. I guess we have to wait a few days for people to start adding smoke to the scenes.

Barrymcw - Doing technical things is 100% optional on this challenge. If you want to replace the flames with volumetric fluid dynamic simulations, create bokeh effects, use sub-surface scattering, you can. But if you just want to use simple tools to render the scene, that’s great too and it could come out just as well.

MasterZap - Your scene is looking great. A religious icon type image in the frame makes a lot of sense. It looks as if the right side of the vase is getting some blue fill light that isn’t hitting the right side of the candle next to it, maybe it’s just confusing because something that’s really a reflection looks like a kick of diffuse illumination, but still it looks like the candle should be getting some.

fulg0re - Great start! It looks like the shadows need work, it looks like a combination of some lights that don’t cast shadows at all, and some that cast razor-sharp raytraced shadows. If you could find some middle ground and make all the lights cast softer shadows, it would add greatly to the image.

Captain Obvious - Thanks for the LWO scene, it is on-line now. I ordered a new computer too, I bought a BOXX workstation after seeing them at SIGGRAPH. I’ll test out the candle scene on it after it arrives.

Kadazil - Welcome. Wow, that’s a fresh, interesting take on the scene. If I had thought that vase would be rendered transparent I would have modeled more of the inside.  I like the depth of the colors you are using. Some areas look as if more shadowing or occlusion could help, especially underneath the front candle-holder, right now it looks as if it could be floating above the ground because there aren’t the shadows there to establish a solid sense of contact.

-jeremy

jeremybirn
08-22-2006, 05:29 AM
Here are some photographs I just shot to explore how candles look at different exposure settings. There is almost no fill light, so we are just looking at a scene by candle-light alone, and I started at 1/4 sec exposures at f1.4, ISO 200, on a Nikon D70 with a Sigma 30mm f1.4 lens:

http://www.3drender.com/challenges/candles/photos/Exposure1.jpg
f1.4

http://www.3drender.com/challenges/candles/photos/Exposure2.jpg
f2.8

http://www.3drender.com/challenges/candles/photos/Exposure3.jpg
f4

http://www.3drender.com/challenges/candles/photos/Exposure4.jpg
f5.6

http://www.3drender.com/challenges/candles/photos/Exposure5.jpg
f8

http://www.3drender.com/challenges/candles/photos/Exposure6.jpg
f16

http://www.3drender.com/challenges/candles/photos/Exposure7.jpg
f16, 1/8 second

http://www.3drender.com/challenges/candles/photos/Exposure8.jpg
f16, 1/30 second

-jeremy

barrymcw
08-22-2006, 05:51 AM
Barrymcw - Doing technical things is 100% optional on this challenge. If you want to replace the flames with volumetric fluid dynamic simulations, create bokeh effects, use sub-surface scattering, you can. But if you just want to use simple tools to render the scene, that’s great too and it could come out just as well.
-jeremy


I was just having a joke with my code comments - clearly not a funny one. No offense meant at all. Believe me, if I could write code, I surely would.

Doing some GI tests now, image to come soon.

Oh, and thanks for the photos. They've very nice reference to have.

kadazil
08-22-2006, 06:57 AM
WOW! THANK YOU Jeremy for those priceless photographies! Really helps to understand how the candle delivers such a soft light. Your annotations have been heard. Indeed shadows are a problem but I figured after 14 hours of Max I should stop =P Ill work on it tomorrow. I also believe the back is maybe overlit a tad and the metal looks pretty weird. For the glass vase, no worries Im on it ;)

Seggy, if I may, a few comments: Getting niccceee =) I think you're getting the candle light quite right, the candle holders also very nice maybe a tad too reflective though, they only stay that way the first week you buy them ;) Other then that, maybe think about the glossiness of your candle sticks cause apparently theres only specular on the top. For the flames, I would suggest having fun with a gradient ramp and some falloff as a mix mask. You could also add some texture details on your insense which, no offense, looks for the while like the tip of a paintbrush. One last thing, I think the frame has a specular problem. Or maybe I do =P

MasterZap, exactly what I had in mind when I saw the insense ^^ You could push this further by adding maybe some smoke on those insenses all going straight to the top. That adds a lot of mood =P About the light I also think its overlit a bit. Try playing with the inverse square decay maybe, I think it helps for candlelight.

Barry, I really love the mood in there, almoost magicalllll... ERmmm dont have much to say except maybe u could light the front part of the table just a teency weency bit. "maybe" ;) Other then that I really like what u did to the frame. Nice job.


PS: Im new here so if u guys think I should just post my work and be quiet, be sure to mention it =) If not, well glad I can be of some help.

Buca
08-22-2006, 05:06 PM
Hi all...
Rendered with Inspirer...
http://img245.imageshack.us/img245/8665/candle1uk9.jpg

fighter4d
08-22-2006, 06:02 PM
hi jeremybirn ,
pic mixture between candle light and morning light ,I will try to do ,only candle light in next time
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a169/Fighter4d/F8.jpg
hi res
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a169/Fighter4d/ee6572d1.jpg

barrymcw
08-22-2006, 07:41 PM
A somewhat better, I think, version of my earlier one. It took me forever to find GI settings that didn't take a year and a day to render. A little shadow softening in PS as well.

http://img122.imageshack.us/img122/292/candlechallenge03uj6.png

I'm not sure what's up with the janky lighting on the foremost candle. It's a bit odd to say the least.

@ Seggy, agreed that the glowing incense is a nice touch. Also, I really like the craquelure texture on the vase.

@ Fighter4d, the glass table is a good idea. I may have to borrow it for my next render of the scene :D. Also, nice reflection on the glass vase.

@ Buca and Kadazil, the blue palettes add a great mixture of images for us to look at. I went straight to smoky red and I'm thinking that I may try going cooler on my next round. Buca, maybe add some aging to the table top. It looks very clean and new.

@ Kadazil, I'm new here too so I hope I'm not out of place saying that comments are more than welcome. For me at least, I wouldn't post pics here if I wasn't expecting critique.

jeremybirn
08-23-2006, 03:40 AM
I'm glad lots of people are giving feedback!

Buca - Welcome! Good start. The subtle shading on the background screen is really nice looking, and you've got some good shaping on the vase. The glow around the flames has a strange pattern in it; maybe you could render without the glow, and add the glow around the brightest parts of the image in Photoshop or a compositing program? The table looks a little flatly lit, as if the front were as bright as the top, it would be nice to see it fade off a little.

fighter4d - Looking good, I like the glass-topped table! That table really works well with the scene. I think you could find a different shader and look for the vase, though. The lighting is nice and low-key, which fits with a candle-lit scene, but I don't really get the impression of light coming from the candles yet. Maybe the saturation of the flames is a bit high, too?

barrymcw - Overall that's shaping up to be a really solid scene. Something fishy about the render settings, though, look at how the reflection of the incense on the plate is much brighter than the incense itself. That might be because shadows aren't visible in reflections, or it might be a GI-related issue, I can't tell. I'll make the next suggestion to everybody.

To everybody: if you haven't got the candles looking waxy and translucent yet, and you need to work on getting that gradient of illumination right near the top, it's a really good idea to hide everything but 1 candle and just do a series of quick test renders with 1 candle until the top looks good. There are lots of approaches (in Maya you could use a ramp shader on the incandescence, or a volume light set to emit ambient only, if you have the time you could even use a sub-surface scattering shader) but that translucency effect is a key to the look of a lit candle.

-jeremy

glebe-digital
08-23-2006, 09:41 AM
Nice reference photos jeremy, I can see I need to re-work the sss on this shot:

Rendered with Maxwell Render v1.1
http://www.glebedigital.co.uk/candles.jpg

sphere
08-23-2006, 09:46 AM
Thanks Jeremy! I can't wait to get stuck into this one when I get some free time.

Here's a .max version if anyone wants it - candles_MAX.rar (http://www.shanerichards.com/cgtalk/lighting/candles_MAX.rar)

ChrRambow
08-23-2006, 01:37 PM
Great Work Guys :)

Need to jump in with this shot i did over lunchbreak.
I will work on this (flames, procelain) and an Night scene if i get some more time.

Critique welcome.

http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/candles_art-3d.jpg

EDIT: some retouched one.

http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/candles_art-3d2.jpg

Edit: another retouch ... just brighter ... goal was to archieve "artifacts / noise" from the CCD of a digital cam.

http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/candles_art-3d3.jpg

kadazil
08-23-2006, 02:59 PM
Sweet, newcomers =) Welcome and hail to all.

Fighter -- I think your render looks really nice, low key and all that is really good in terms of "global lighting". I find two aspects that could be worked on though. First of all I'd say your candles lack candle feature: dont forget the glossiness ;) Indeed, specular is one thing that determines that it looks like a candle but dont forget that wax melts, and therefore the top should appear pretty glossy. This especially with the light of the candle illuminating it. Secondly, I find, this being my own opinion only, that the color scheme isnt quite defined yet. I think you could accentuate your palette cause right now it looks as if their were too many colors. Maybe the flower in the frame adds to this feeling I have. The flower being a good idea, but maybe not that color. Or maybe less saturated.

Barry -- I think I much preferred your first approach of this scene. Indeed, here I think it looks as though all is a bit overlit. Whereas when you look at your first approach, the mood was nicely set. Furthermore, I really like the feeling that was added with your old background, and all the "color spots". Yet if I had to comment on this render I would also say this: I like the water you added in the plate and think it was a good idea. The candle holder however, looks knda oily, I think maybe your glossiness is set too high. Last thing, try setting your omnis for the candles in inverse square decay, youll see it is much more comfortable to work with when dealing with candles, or so I hope ;)

glebe digital -- I really like the "diamonds are a girl's best friend"-feel in your image. Especially the fact that it glitters and all, yet it doesnt look kitsch ;) Thanks to your lighting. The insense's reflection looks great and adds a lot of strength. You palette is realy nice. Only advice I could give you is to work on that flame. When u look at a candle light, you'll see you dont see only 2 colors, indeed you also see some bluish purple at the base and the colors arent linear. I would suggest using a gradient ramp, and a falloff mask in self illumination in order to have the feeling that it burns more naturally. Other then that, nice job =)

Rambow -- The general light of your scene looks more like artificial light I find. This might be due to the fact that white is the color of your key light. The depth of field is nice though really adds "concentration of the eye" and your textures for candle holders work well. For the candles and their falme however, I would suggest working more on the glossiness for the candlestick, and adding some color to your flame. Right now it looks more like the fake candles u see in shops where the flame is actually a light bulb. Keep going =)

Good luck to you all, Ill try to find time to rework my scene during the night.

Triker
08-23-2006, 04:22 PM
Done with C4D area lights, no GI.

Seggy
08-23-2006, 06:10 PM
i'm lovin your vase material Triker... and the fabric screen in the background. nice touch!

nice render. how long was the render time?

why area lights and not point lights with a large radius may i ask?
more control?

many thanks

seggy

ChrRambow
08-23-2006, 06:14 PM
Thanks for the critique kadazil.

My goal was to archive a daylight scene.
Where the candles just got a littlebit influence to the lighting.

Used a rig out of ~30 Lights and seperate lights just to lit the candle
to avoid them being too bright when using translucency.
Reflection is a simple spherical mapped photo of a room.

I did some more experiments.
Need to fix some problems with the flames and DoF.

http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/shot_1.jpghttp://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/shot_2.jpg

http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/shot_3.jpg

Seggy
08-23-2006, 06:21 PM
What renderer are you using ChrRambow.... Looks sooooo real!
Regards
Seggy

ChrRambow
08-23-2006, 06:28 PM
@Seggy ... overall wonderful image and color balance. The Blue one is my favourite! :)

@lazzhar ... Great light ... nothing to crit! :)

@kadazil ... i really like your idea.

@Buka ... light is good so far ... you should work on the flames ...they look a littlebit "blobby"

@glebe digital ... your image got a wonderful mood ... the translucency on the candle need to be a littlebit more subtile and more falloff.

@barrymcw ... you could try to lit the scenes completely without GI ... a solid light rig will
save a lot of rendertime and will provide much more control because you can exclude or include objects to lights.

@fighter4d ... a solid start ... the candles need some "waxy" material. If your 3d program is not supporting translucency you can easy fake it with a gradient in the luminance channel. This would add a lot to the scene.
The glass is looking a littlebit weird ... maybe the refraction index is too high.

@ALL .... have fun :)

glebe-digital
08-23-2006, 07:07 PM
Thanks Kadazil / Christian, yes I'd need to work on the candle SSS and the flame itself.........if time allows I'll give it another roll of the dice. :-)

otacon
08-23-2006, 07:11 PM
Oh, nice challenge! I'm cleaning it up for Lightwave/modo use. Shall I upload the LWO somewhere when I'm done?

I'm going to wait for my computer to get here, then get stuck in. The 733 MHz G4 I'm using now is just too dang slow. Oh well, it should get here this week. :)

If you get that lwo version cleaned up be sure to post it!

kevb3d
08-23-2006, 07:13 PM
Nice reference photos jeremy, I can see I need to re-work the sss on this shot:

Rendered with Maxwell Render v1.1
http://www.glebedigital.co.uk/candles.jpg

I really like this. I agree, the sss needs a bit of tuning, but I love the mood.

Kev

Triker
08-23-2006, 07:53 PM
i'm lovin your vase material Triker... and the fabric screen in the background. nice touch!

nice render. how long was the render time?

why area lights and not point lights with a large radius may i ask?
more control?

many thanks

seggy

Thanks for the comments.

Render time was 1 hr:40 minutes at 1280 x 1024 on a Quad G5 Mac
And I did use point lights with area shadows for the candles, sorry for the bad info. I used an area light above to simulate the bounce light.

barrymcw
08-23-2006, 08:19 PM
...look at how the reflection of the incense on the plate is much brighter than the incense itself. That might be because shadows aren't visible in reflections, or it might be a GI-related issue,

It might also be because I neglected to put any texture on the incense. Yeah, I'm cool like that ;). I'll put something on it and then check it out.


@barrymcw ... you could try to lit the scenes completely without GI ... a solid light rig will
save a lot of rendertime and will provide much more control because you can exclude or include objects to lights.

I really like the feeling that was added with your old background, and all the "color spots".

@ ChrRambow - I got that render in about 40 min., mostly by dropping the prepass to 1/2. Well, I think that was the variable that made the most difference. I don't mind that long of a render but I agree that it'd do me good to work on building good bounce rigs. And I do think that some of my candles may improve if I did exclude them from some other lights.

@ Kadazil - I too liked those spots but they were more "happy accidents" than intentional. They were due to having too few samples in my GI settings and, while I agree that they were kind of neat, I want to focus on getting a clean GI render first.

@ ChrRambow again - super clean renders, very nice. The crispness of the metal mats on the candleholders is beautiful. There is something about the DOF and maybe the quality of the lights that makes the back panels look almost as if they were composited in and not a part of the scene. Just a little bit, but it's the main thing that jumped out at me.

Hopefully I'll get another up this evening but more likely it'll be a day or two. Cheers.

ChrRambow
08-23-2006, 08:53 PM
Thanks a lot.

@Seggy ... i am using Cinema4D ... the renderer is Advance Render 2.

In post i've added some "bloom" effects and a lot of color correction.
One of the most important effect for me was the blueish rims.

I put together a "small sheet" (http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/candle_bloom.jpg) to discribe what i've done.

Then again a lot of post .. adding grain ... and blur it just very subtile
then grain again.


@barrymcw ... oh 40 min is a lot ... my rendertimes are about 5-9 min depending
on what AA i am using. What program u are using? in C4D "quality" is a huge factor
for rendertime ... also the bounce depth.

Thanks ... Yes i forget to light the BG with a littlebit more patience. Thanks a lot for the
hint ... i will fix it. :)

@Triker ... wow 1h 40min is heavy ... are you using area shadows too? Maybe you could
use a littlebit more less samples or soft shadows where you will not notice them that much
to boost up the rendertime.

@glebe digital ... can not wait to see the next image ... btw. the smoke and glow is turning out great.

glebe-digital
08-23-2006, 09:05 PM
Thanks Kev, Christian!
Yes I'm cooking another one.........subtle differences but hopefully an improvement. Thanks for the encouragement.

BarberofCivil
08-23-2006, 09:22 PM
Thanks for the relatively easier challenge following the underwater one Jeremy.
Looks like there is going to be some good images coming out in this one, I like what I'm seeing so far.

My first entry this round (sory fo the jaggies, wanted to get a quick one out so no AA)

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/barberofcivil/Candles-1.jpg

sri
08-23-2006, 09:24 PM
Happy to join in this Challenge, Thanks to Jeremy for the effort

http://img243.imageshack.us/img243/2600/sridharcandlechallengecj3.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Please give your Comments and suggestions,

@ ChrRambow - very realistic look, you got the right candle flame shade, i love it, how long it takes to render ?

@ glebe digital - cool dark shot, i like the smoke very much, it will be more believable if the fire is on the other end

@ barrymcw - good lighting, i like the table and candle holder shade, i like your first camera angle very much

@ fighter4d - i love this render,cool shades, i think the candle and flame shade need improvement

@ Buca - I love the Silver shade, the candle glow is too much for that exposure

@ jeremy birn - thanks for the candle reference photos

@ kadazil - i like the blue mood very much, expecting some improvements on shading though

@ Seggy - great work, i like it very much

@ fulg0re - i agree with meanlebh, nice start, an occlusion pass can solve the problem,

@ MasterZap - Wow, i like the realistic look, nice candle light feel

@ lazzhar - nice cool colors, I like it

sri
08-23-2006, 09:28 PM
BarberOfCivil - nice candle light feel, cool textures, the theme suits the image very well

barrymcw
08-23-2006, 09:30 PM
@ Christian,

C4d as well, AA set to "Best" and "Still Image." 3 bounces in my GI. Also, I have visibilty turned on for each of the lights in the scene and volumetrics apparently make GI renders rather slow.

Now, I'm a GI newbie, but from how I understand it, I don't know why I'd go under 3 bounces. I'd imagine that would take away from the color bleeding effect and the gentle lighting in the places that aren't getting direct light.

I've seen posts from people who use only one bounce, but I've not been sure what that does really (the posts were all old, so I didn't ask in them directly).

I'm going to duplicate the scene and try one with some bounce lights added.

Thanks a ton for the color correction sheet you posted. Very interesting to see what others are doing.

Cheers.

ChrRambow
08-23-2006, 10:45 PM
@BarberofCivil ... Wonderful lighting

@ sri: I like the lighting a lot. Just the wood texture and the confusing image at the background wall could need some work.

My rendertime was about 6 minutes in 900x591 with best AA because only used omni
lights with soft shadows (500x500 samplesize: 14).

@barrymcw: With the diffuse depth you set how many steps the light will be remit from
the surfaces. This can slowdown the rendertime with GI a lot when you have to render
complex geometry. Choosing the steps of the diffuse depth is depending on how you
are using GI in your scene. for example ... are you creating serveral lights and using GI to enhance them then you could stick with one.

I did a fast sketch and some examples.

http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/bounce_schema.jpg
http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/bounce.jpg

hope i could help a littlebit :)

Triker
08-23-2006, 11:04 PM
Thanks a lot.

Triker ... wow 1h 40min is heavy ... are you using area shadows too? Maybe you could
use a littlebit more less samples or soft shadows where you will not notice them that much
to boost up the rendertime.
.

Using area shadows, lots of samples in SSS, and lots of other render intensive stuff. If it was commercial I would just do most of it in post, but what the hey, it is for fun.....

CaptainObvious
08-24-2006, 01:33 AM
Early lighting test. (http://tegelstenclothes.mememachines.net/randomcrap/candles01.jpg)

This has all the "big buttons" checked. Global illumination, area lights, subsurface scattering, anisotropic blurred reflections... Took almost four hours to render on my (*ahem*) iBook G4.

neuromancer1978
08-24-2006, 02:01 AM
I am liking all of them. Now if I can only get mine to work haha.

Currently working on 3 different version using 3 different renderers, Maya Internal, Pixie and Iguana. I chose to do the Iguana renderer instead of Mental Ray mostly because it seems that almost everyone is using some sort of commercial renderer here (but that is not a bad thing mind you :D) and I wanted to try my hand at the challenges using less known or less used renderers. My last one in the Underwater Challenge was done with Pixie, and I think the only one done with a Renderman compliant program. I guess my goal here is not just lighting and shading, but also to really test these other softwares in a real challenge (heh).

Anywho, totally off topic.

So far I really like this one, low lighting situations are tricky and this is very tricky. At least I got my fake SSS down, now just have to work on the lighting.

barrymcw
08-24-2006, 03:19 AM
Captain - very pretty lighting. I think you've done a really nice job balancing out the background screen so that it's lit and interesting but not distracting from the front of the scene. Also liking the screen reflection on the side of the vase.

I do wonder, though, whether the shadows are too hard-edged and also too strong. Comparing this with Jeremy's posted photos, they seem a bit off.

Oh, and the vase is nice, how it's blue on one side and gently illuminated orange on the other. It might be too nice, as I really want to look at it! And the SSS on the candletops is very convincing, with the excpetion that the grain between the translucent top and more solid bottom seems too strong.

@ Christian - thank you very much for the response. It's very helpful for me and I appreciate your laying it out so clearly. Be careful or I'm going to start PM'ing you everytime I run into trouble (I joke, I joke).

@ Barber - very nice lights and very cool details - the pattern on the screen and the plate, etc. I look forward to an AA'ed one. One thought, compositionally, is that the heavy reflections on the candleholders draw my eye more than I'd like them to. I feel like they draw my eye more than does the plate, for example, and I'd much rather be looking at the plate. is there any way for you to pull down the reflection on them?

@ Sri - the lighting is nice but I agree that the texture on the screen may be a bit strong.

Cheers all.

CaptainObvious
08-24-2006, 03:51 AM
Captain - very pretty lighting. I think you've done a really nice job balancing out the background screen so that it's lit and interesting but not distracting from the front of the scene. Also liking the screen reflection on the side of the vase.

I do wonder, though, whether the shadows are too hard-edged and also too strong. Comparing this with Jeremy's posted photos, they seem a bit off.
Thanks. :)

And I agree. I'm going to turn up the radius for the area lights. Unfortunately, that also means I'll have to turn up the number of samples, and that will increase the render time. Ah well.

jeremybirn
08-24-2006, 04:13 AM
Nice reference photos jeremy, I can see I need to re-work the sss on this shot:

Rendered with Maxwell Render v1.1
http://www.glebedigital.co.uk/candles.jpg

Great “film noir” look you have going there!

The smoke is beautiful.

Yes, the wax shouldn’t glow so uniformly, but if you fix that you want to keep the definition that they have now, maybe the wax could be a bit glossier with some highlights on the side, or maybe a bit of rim lighting?

If you want nit-picks the base of the right-most candle doesn’t look as fully in contact with the table as it could, with that blue glow happening right under it, but really I love what you’re doing.

-jeremy

jeremybirn
08-24-2006, 04:24 AM
http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/shot_3.jpg

Great, clean, modern take on the scene.

Your materials look really good overall, maybe the black candle-holders could use softer more subtle reflections, right now the reflections look very sharp and contrasty, and that doesn’t fit well with a scene that has shallow DOF.

The candle flames and wick areas don’t 100% work for me yet, the flame of the left seems to have a black outline around it instead of being glowing, and the wicks look much too black as if they were sucking light out of the scene.

-jeremy

jeremybirn
08-24-2006, 05:36 AM
Sphere - Thanks for the Max file.

* Now MAX files (and Lightwave LWO thanks to Captain Obvious) are both available on the downloads page. *

Captain Obvious - Good start, but it clearly needs softer shadows. If render times are too high then try turning off some of those other things like GI.

sri - Nice scene! The colors in the vase and candles work well with the colors in the framed picture. I wish there were less glare (less of a specular highlight) on the framed picture, though. (And I hope you can find a nicer wood texture than that default one.)

BarberofCivil - That's going to be terrific! The texture maps are really well chosen and work well with all the surfaces, the plate & the screen really look spot-on! I'm a little worried about that bright line showing through the center of the screen, maybe that can be avoided, and the reflection on the left side of the vase is a little distracting and confusing, if it's supposed to be an off-screen candle then either dim and soften it a lot or get rid of it.

-jeremy

glebe-digital
08-24-2006, 10:00 AM
Jeremy, many thanks for the crits, really appreciate it. Yes a picture of Garbo always helps!......you read my mind re: the candles, still haven't got the 'sheen' and sss quite right but work has intervened for the moment and this is probably the last stab for a while........the glare's done via Maxwell and the smoke/flames are comped post-render. Still haven't fixed that candle holder...... :-/

http://www.glebedigital.co.uk/candlesglare.jpg

ChrRambow
08-24-2006, 10:26 AM
Thanks for the critique Jeremy ... i will work on it.

@Triker ... i am the same meaning as you ... i just thought you want some tips for reducing rendertime ... it was my fault.

@glebe digital ... this is coming out great.

i hope you don't mind ... i did a quick mockup on how the sss effect could be improved.
Also did a little color correction.

love your take on the scene.

http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/candlesglare_mockup.jpg

glebe-digital
08-24-2006, 10:30 AM
@glebe digital ... this is coming out great.

i hope you don't mind ... i did a quick mockup on how the sss effect could be improved.
Also did a little color correction.

love your take on the scene.

Wow, that's very close to what I wanted Christian! Thanks a bunch, I don't mind at all. :-)
I need to ramp up the sss 'absorbtion' way beyond what I've got it set at, have been too gentle with the controls so far..

MasterZap
08-24-2006, 01:02 PM
Hawk-eyed Jeremy noted that my candles wasn't receiving reflections properly (yes, the blue thing is a reflection)... and I also noted my SSS wasn't getting the indirect light.

Plus of course... I loved that incence glow some people have going.... so... here's my (minor) tweaks so far....

http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f366/MasterZap/candles-F.jpg

I was pondering comping on some smoke (I actually tested it) but for this WIP opted for... nah... no comp fakery today.

Yes... this is all straight from the render, no post, no layers, all GI, all physically accurate lights and shaders. No "bounce lights" or other trickery. Teh real thang, lads and lasses ;)

/Z

gent_k
08-24-2006, 02:58 PM
MasterZap, are you having any difficulties controlling the sss on the top with the use of physical lights? I did a quick test and no matter what the scale multiplier is set to, I have to trade between heavy sss on top and a good scattering on the rest or subtle enough on the top but the rest almost unnoticeable. Are you doing this with some kind of exposure adjustment (or tonemapper)? Any tips appreciated.

Your candles are looking very natural.

ChrRambow
08-24-2006, 03:14 PM
@ glebe digital ... yes controlling the sss is hard sometimes ... most time trial and error ...
... render and try again ... render ... ;)

I've worked on a lot materials and tweaked the lighting a littlebit.
Rendertime is now about 20 min for 1280 x 800 with best AA.
Blurred reflections and SSS took the most time.


Here is the 1280x800 resolution. (http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/candles_24_08_2006.jpg)

http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/candles_24_08_2006_small.jpg

ChrRambow
08-24-2006, 05:34 PM
The night version.

need to work on the flame dimensions ...
Not that the left candle is supposed to be a flamethrower ;)

http://www.art-3d.com/cgtalk_temp/candle_night.jpg

MasterZap
08-24-2006, 06:02 PM
MasterZap, are you having any difficulties controlling the sss on the top with the use of physical lights? I did a quick test and no matter what the scale multiplier is set to, I have to trade between heavy sss on top and a good scattering on the rest or subtle enough on the top but the rest almost unnoticeable. Are you doing this with some kind of exposure adjustment (or tonemapper)? Any tips appreciated.

Yes. I am using a tone mapper. Doing this is imperative when you start to do physically correct rendering.

Too many people and too much software just tries to blast physical values scaled * 255 to the frame buffer, in the wrong gamma, with no overbright compression... doing this with true physical values invariable creates useless junk (and is half the reason people say "physical accuracy looks wrong"... it does .. when displayed wrong).

It's top important to have a proper response curve and proper compression of the upper dynamic range.....

Look at the candle photos Jeremy posted. Look how the overbright regions are sort of "gently compressed" in to a curve that gently pushes towards white as the exposures go brighter.

Try taking one of his low exposures and use "Brightness/Contrast" in photoshop to try to mimic the high exposure. You won't be able to, because Phothoshop will be doing this in the wrong gamma, on the straight 8 bit data.

When talking about these issues (and I do this a lot... even internally at mental images, people start throwing things at me when I get passionate and ramble about gamma and compression of overbrights for an hour or two) I tend to point people to this site (http://mysite.verizon.net/spitzak/conversion/index.html) which introduces the problem nicely. Yes, the site is actually about Bill Spitzaks sRGB conversion code, but no matter, the very introduction about "what is sRGB" (which is what your average computer montior is) and the various "interactive demos" help the understanding a lot.

Even Jeremy himself can attest to how passionate I become when rambling about overbright compression and gamma. Heck, I ruined half his book signing session at SigGRAPH by rambling so much people didn't dare to come up to him for a signed copy of "Digital Lighting and Rendering". (I tried to redeem this later by forcing people to buy his book ;) )

Your candles are looking very natural.

Thank you.

A VERY IMPORTANT tip when using a tone mapper is you MUST turn off the "screen_composit" option in misss_fast_* shader... you can sort of think of that option as a "poor mans tonemapper", which does simple overbright compression by "soft-adding" the various layers.

If you do tonemapping at the output stage you must turn OFF that feature, or misss_fast_* will clamp it's output to 0-1 range and not look good when properly tonemapped!

Alas, look at what you made me do... I rambled! ;)

/Z

BarberofCivil
08-24-2006, 07:46 PM
ChrRambow: looks pretty good. Good focal depth. Nice incense ash. I think the smoke needs to be a little more swirly. Candle flames less pointy.

MasterZap: Great as usual. For some reason, the textures on the rose make it look kind of flat and fake compared to the rest of the image.

glebe: nice flames in particular, could use a little turbulence.



One thing I notice from most of the images is flame shape and colour. If you look at the photos from Jeremy, the flames are kind of skinny ~5:1 but the tip is still somewhat rounded, not pointed. Also note the colour progression: very bright in the centre with a glow, progressingto yellow/orange towards the fringes. At the bottom around the wick,the colours also progress to purple, cyan and blue.

Jeremy, thanks for the comments. The bright line in the screen and also the reflection on the vase come from a surrounding environment map, basically a darkened room with bright windows. I may end up removing it altogether or find a different one to use, but I do like the effect of the translucent glow through the screen.

A new render without jaggies:(note, the environment map is still on here and I forgot to turn my candle wax texture back on, so they are basically flat white,not waxy. I'm also looking at toning down the reflectivity of the brass candleholders, maybe tarnish em a bit)

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/barberofcivil/Candles-2.jpg

kary
08-24-2006, 08:29 PM
I'm getting a:


Not Found

The requested URL http:// was not found on this server.




For the max version from the main page Jeremy, the fbx and obj are fine though ;)

---

Great thread guys. A tremendous amount of useful info already here, even for someone who's just been observing.

jeremybirn
08-24-2006, 09:21 PM
Oh, sorry, use the one Sphere linked to until I can check on that problem.

-jeremy

I'm getting a:





For the max version from the main page Jeremy, the fbx and obj are fine though ;)

---

Great thread guys. A tremendous amount of useful info already here, even for someone who's just been observing.

jmBoekestein
08-24-2006, 10:00 PM
Great entries so far people, I've been looking forward to another one. Going for both non hdr and hdr based render this time again. Looking forward.

kitsune_e
08-24-2006, 11:54 PM
Okay, I've been playing around with this for a few days now and can't really think of any where else to go with it. This would be a pure Blender render, but I needed to crop it in Photoshop because I'm too lazy to move my camera. It's also almost entirely procedural materials/textures, the only exceptions being the pattern I made for the screen and the stuff in the BR corner. It was fairly challenging trying to fake the SSS on the candles, the results aren't great either:shrug:

http://kitsu.petesdomain.com/images/challenges/6-candle-light/semi-final.jpg
It looks kinda rough next to some of the renders in here, but I'm still fairly happy with it. The only things still bugging me are the stoneware material and the mirror. The smoke is also kind of lame, but it's the best I could do with Blender's halo system. If you look you can see that the smoke doesn't even reflect in the mirror... Oh, one last thing - to head of any comments on the sharp shadows: The last time my power went out and I used a candle in a dark room I noticed that all the shadows were unnaturally sharp and crisp. You can even see it in the great reference images posted earlier in the thread. Soft shadows are great for larger light sources that produce light from a surface, but a candle flame is about as close as you can get to a point light in the real world.

BTW, I'm releasing the image and my blend file (http://kitsu.petesdomain.com/images/challenges/6-candle-light/candles-03.blend) under the terms of the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license so someone else might be able to improve it, or at least learn something from it. I assumed that Jeremy created the models, and so credited him in the Blend file? Let me know if there is anything specific you want me to do:)

BarberofCivil: I like everything in the scene so far, but it seems a little contrasty and jarring. Also there seems to be a lot of mystery light in the scene, for instance the bright white specular on the left side of the vase or the bright back-light on the screen. That plate is pretty great though, man I'm glad mine is so far from the camera ;)

ChrRambow: Great work on the night version, especially on the incense! Only a couple of things are bugging me:
The floating marble things on the table - no shadows, no caustics, nothing anchoring them in the scene.
And the material on the frame - the white highlight on its upper-left is the brightest thing in your scene, brighter even than the candles.

MasterZap: Really nice, but a few things don't fit well with the quality of the rest of the scene:
The pattern on the frame - the surface looks like wood, but the pattern like plastic?
The pattern on the screen in the back ground - looks really cg...
The candle holders look odd too, but mostly like plastic made to look like metal, so that could be intentional.

BarberofCivil
08-25-2006, 02:15 AM
BarberofCivil: I like everything in the scene so far, but it seems a little contrasty and jarring. Also there seems to be a lot of mystery light in the scene, for instance the bright white specular on the left side of the vase or the bright back-light on the screen. That plate is pretty great though, man I'm glad mine is so far from the camera ;)


Thanks. I already noted above that the specular and extra light on the screen come from environment lighting/mapping not visible directly. I've removed it for a render I'm currently running.
The plate is a simple image map with my standard 'ceramic' type material finish.

Yours is looking good so far. Perhaps the lighting should be more yellow or orange. Right now it seems too white for the candles.

jeremybirn
08-25-2006, 03:44 AM
kitsune_e - Nice render. I think it could be cropped in closer without losing anything, and it would be good to try to get softer shadows.

BarberofCivil - Still looking good. The translucency on screen is fine, the bright line between them is still distracting, and that shadow of the candle on the screen is strange, it almost looks like a giant candle is approaching from the outside of the screen, casting a shadow of its wick but no flame.

ChrRambow (Day Scene) - Still looking good! The shadows on the table seem strange, the large candle holds seem to cast just a ring of a shadow, and some of the smaller candle holders don't look fully in contact with the ground, it's as if they could be floating above the table for all the occlusion I can see. I like how you're making distinctive shapes for the candle flames and giving some direction to the wind with the flames and smoke.

MasterZap - Still terrific! You might do a camera polish and tilt up a bit. Usually when a table is polished that much, the reflections bounce off the smooth outer layer and wouldn't get broken up that much by a wood grain bump map - or at the bump map could be softened more and combined with a bit more plain old glossiness? I agree the rose petals don't look as satiny as they could, but I'm sure you can compare to a real rose on your own.

ChrRambow (Night Scene) - Hmmmm.... hmmm. Still a nice scene, but I think the previous version I quoted above had some good things about it. I really loved how the vase and the smoke were working in the previous version, if you could get that back it would be great. All these new colors, the bright blue frosty glow on the shiny surfaces, the green around the wicks of the candles, the yellow red purples in the table, add up to being distracting and not as targetted to a single look as before.

-jeremy

snippsat
08-25-2006, 06:00 AM
Hi my second try at light challenge.

Was a little late whit bottels if someone want to see look at my portfolio.

This is almost finished,like to heard some comments.

Done in max-vray-ps:)
http://img246.imageshack.us/img246/9698/candles3fin2ep0.jpg

otacon
08-25-2006, 06:19 AM
Nice entries so far.
Here's my try.
Rendered with fprime, no radiosity. I had to try and fake the sss, since i'm not using lw9 yet.

btw, it's not me in the picture, i just grabbed something from google.:D
http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/8688/candles0000bpn8.jpg

glebe-digital
08-25-2006, 09:43 AM
Here's my latest attempt, generally happy apart from the flames which would need a lot more work for me to be happy with.
Like Otacon's candles very much.........sss not always needed it seems!
http://www.glebedigital.co.uk/candlesNew.jpg

BarberofCivil
08-25-2006, 01:18 PM
A new render without the environment map now and the waxiness has been put back in the candles. I maystill need to play with my candle textures some more.
Jeremy, I know what you mean about the candle shadow. I need to make the area lights for the flames a little bit biggerand see if I can't add some sort of shadow to the flame
I found this photo howeverof a candle shadow and the flame doesn't actually have a shadow, perhaps a little light fading and distortion, especially through the heated air above and around the flame.
http://set.lanl.gov/programs/DX2/explorations/Photos/CandleFlameShadow1.JPG


http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/barberofcivil/Candles-3.jpg

kitsune_e
08-25-2006, 05:37 PM
Thanks for the comments, I think I have some ideas how to tweak it a bit further now.

Snippsat: Looking good so far, one comment on the candles though - In my experiance candles only create visable smoke when they aren't burning cleanly, and then they make oily black smoke (partially burned carbon?). The picture frame looks a bit flat now too, maybe it needs some kind of imperfections added to make it look less rendered?

Otacon: The candles look really good for fake SSS! Just wanted to point out the smallest candle is floating a little.

BarberofCivil: I had a similar problem with a candle shadow on the screen, and mine was even more noticable than yours. I don't know what software you're using or what it can/can't do, but my solution was to just turn of shadow casting on the offending candle. Actually I later went back and made faux shadow objects for the candles so I could control how they looked. For these I just made a copy of each candle without moving it, altered the geometery slightly, then gave it a shadow-only material. So now light passes through the candles, hits the shadow object, and casts whatever shadow I want - fat, skinny, tall, short, monster shaped, etc ;)

jeremybirn
08-25-2006, 06:51 PM
BarberofCivil - Terrific! I love it. If there's something to work on, it might be making a nicer material for those large candle-holders. Right now they look like a ceramic or plastic with a super-shiney sheen, if you could maybe go for something more metalic or plastic or at least get softer more subtle reflections it could add alot. Also think about how you want the front surface of the table.

glebe digital - I have to admit that I personally don't see what you're going for. There are many colors that don't seem to come from anywhere. I can't even tell which direction some of the lights are shining, or what kind of look or feeling you are going for with the image. If I were working on the scene personally I'd be trying to simplify the lighting a great deal, but that's just me. {I've just edited these comments since posting them, I'm not really sure what to say and what would be helpful..}

otacon - Looking good! In such a brightly lit scene, it seems as if the translucency effect (bright tops to the candles) would be much dimmer, maybe try cutting it in half or to 25%.

snippsat - Terrific image! Using the screen as if it were a window makes it look very similar to that bottle collection challenge. I don't think that putting the squashed version of the bottle scene as the framed picture helps this project, it is funny though. You've got a nice crisp winter look to your lighting and colors that works well with the background.

-jeremy

glebe-digital
08-25-2006, 07:36 PM
Thanks for your perspective jeremy, yes looking at this again [with fresh eyes] I can see what you mean, the palate has become confused somewhat. :-/

fulg0re
08-25-2006, 08:29 PM
Thanks for the comments. This is my new render, I added and removed some shadows, made some material changes...,
[/url][url="http://imageshack.us"]http://img55.imageshack.us/img55/447/fou1.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

mswertfager
08-26-2006, 02:36 AM
I did this one for a little levity. It is such a strong scene, I thought the style contrast would be fun. This is my first posting in a challenge. I saw this one and had to part-take.

I kept this pic a little dark as I love the feel of candle light. There are a few touch ups I plan to take care of besides replacing Mickey: an odd light effect on the burning incense, adding some caustics, and replacing the default textures of the frame and the plate.

I am an amateur trying to break in to the CG industry, so any advice you can give would really be appreciated.

Also, I hope its not breaking the rules, but I couldnt feel the candle flames when they were physical objects, so I created them in fluid effects...and also added smoke is in post (Photoshop).

Long live Mickey!
-Michael

http://www.alphadogcreations.com/images/Challenge6_mswertfager.jpg

snippsat
08-26-2006, 03:03 AM
Hi tnx for reply jeremy and kitsune_e.

Have make some changes based on your reply.

Nice work ChrRambow (http://forums.cgsociety.org/member.php?u=203),Seggy (http://forums.cgsociety.org/member.php?u=241253),MasterZap (http://forums.cgsociety.org/member.php?u=5803),glebe digital (http://forums.cgsociety.org/member.php?u=215837),BarberofCivil (http://forums.cgsociety.org/member.php?u=225177),otacon (http://forums.cgsociety.org/member.php?u=5614):thumbsup:

Think i am close to finish,if there something you dont like tell me.
http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/733/candelforcgtalkot8.jpg

BarberofCivil
08-26-2006, 04:08 AM
Think i am close to finish,if there something you dont like tell me.


All in all looks pretty good. IfI was to change one thing, I'd remove the flame from the incense. Either just leave it smokingor add a glowing ember instead.

otacon
08-26-2006, 04:23 AM
Thanks for the crits, Jeremy. Heres an updated version with less candle brightness.

mswertfager, thats really nice. I love the candle flames.

http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/8248/candles20000bkn4.jpg

mswertfager
08-26-2006, 08:29 AM
Thanks Otacon. I look forward to letting the fluid effects roll and animate the lighting for a vid clip of the scene.

By the way, the color balance of your shot is very well laid out. The soft blue background really provides a lofty soothing feeling, while the foreground is tangible. Nice art!

-mswertfager

jeremybirn
08-26-2006, 11:24 AM
fulg0re - Looking good. The large candle holders don't seem to be shadowing the table. If you can get everything casting very soft shadows it'll look better.

mswertfager - Great! The fluid effect candle flames look terrific, with very subtle colors at the base and edge. The way you've got the background screen lit looks very natural. You could stop now, but I figure everyone who posts wants feedback so I'll give some very minor opinions. The vase looks good, although as a tiny tweak perhaps the window reflection could be a little bit softer and less intense, and perhaps the candle reflections a little more intense. The composition is effective, although if you were rendering this particular scene again, you might consider widening the shot just a little, to allow a tiny bit more room at the top and not crop in the middle of the left candle.

snippsat - That's great! I agree the flame on the incense could go away, or at least fix it so it doesn't have an opaque black edge. The candle on the far right looks really spot-on. Maybe the candles in the background go too white near the tips?

otacon - You've got a nice render there. If there's an overall thing to work on it's a sense of flatness to the image in places where there might be more variation in tone. The glow near the tops of the candles looks very consistent in the top two inches, instead of really looking focused near the top and fading out with a nice gamma. The vase seems to be lit differently in the diffuse shading (fading to black on the right) than the reflections (reflecting a window to the right) and the window reflections seem like very uniform rectangles. The reflection of one of the candles in the left side of the picture frame looks very consistent in tone, with the flame in the reflection not looking any brighter than the wax (maybe that's a very focused shadow not a reflection?)

-jeremy

snippsat
08-26-2006, 02:00 PM
Tnx for the tips jeremy.

Think this is the last version.

Hope for many more great entrys:)
http://img183.imageshack.us/img183/2240/candeltomgl8.jpg

snippsat
08-26-2006, 02:21 PM
Nice flames mswertfager,the shape is little wrong.
Like the smoke,what plug or metod did you use to create smoke look great.


Oacon really nice mod overall.
The flame has the same color break it upp a little in bottom.
Otherwise great.

jmBoekestein
08-26-2006, 04:05 PM
ok so here's my first go, all non hdr aided.

http://img180.imageshack.us/img180/3797/candlelight3da8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Triker
08-26-2006, 08:10 PM
Added some better smoke, reflections on the candles and a little better DOF with a slightly new POV.

http://www.kohrman.com/Images/candles5.jpg

jmBoekestein
08-26-2006, 09:24 PM
Really nice smoke effect, it looks very real Triker! How did you make it? Is it a simulation?

Edit: new version, trying more with the colours and added a blur and better wax shader, oh yeah tweaked the flame luminance map as well.

http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/6397/candlelight4kq2.jpg

kitsune_e
08-26-2006, 10:56 PM
Okay, I poked at it a bit more. Again I thought it was looking pretty good until I came back here and saw the new posts! I'll get to that in a minute though, first my latest attempt
http://kitsu.petesdomain.com/images/challenges/6-candle-light/final.jpg
I tried to take everyone's advice, and I stole a few ideas from other peoples scenes. I still think the scene is pretty effective, just not compared with some of the compitition here :)
The one thing I tried but failed to do was to soften the edges on my shadows a little. There are only two lamp types in Blender that can create soft shadows and they are both directional - The area lamp should give the best results but for me it just created noisy garbage, and the spot lamp is using some ancient scanline based fake shadow casting which also wouldn't work right for this scene. Again, here is the Blend file for anyone who wants to mess with it: Blend (http://kitsu.petesdomain.com/images/challenges/6-candle-light/Candles-04.blend)

jmBoekestein: Best flames! Of what I've seen here so far yours look the most like candle flames. On the other hand I think the candle material looks to regular and plasticy. It also seems like the candles arn't a signifigant source of light in your scene. The scene (especially the screen) have some nice night-time lighting going on, it's just that it is overpowering the candles.

Triker: Great scene, feels very close and candle lit! My only complaint is the candle material - yours is also to regular, and your candles look hard enough to be made of glass!

snippsat: Yours is getting closer, but everything still has a strange artificial feeling to it. The lighting especially feels like bright in door lighting in an office... I don't have any real advice how to improve it though, sorry.

otacon: Looking really good, the flames look like cutouts of white paper though. Maybe try adding some glow around the flame if they are that bright? Also what is with the nearest girl in that photo? She isn't lit like the rest of the family and she looks kind of stuck on...

mswertfager: Yours has the most things working together, nothing really jumps out as wrong. Your flames are a little blunt on the end - usually when that happens the candle is also letting off smoke. Also the smoke from your incense is a little wierd - it doesn't make sense for the smoke to come from a single point when so much of the incense is glowing.

Thanks for the great scene, I'm looking forward to the next challenge :thumbsup:

Seggy
08-27-2006, 12:23 AM
snippsat - i think your image is beautiful and it just makes me happy to look at it... a magical and very different approach - I love it! something needs to happen to the stick on the plate, i think it needs to be glowing with no smoke possibly, it looks sad compared to the rest.

tricker - i think that vase material is so sublte - i love it! i feel like i can touch it.

i am new to participating in something like this, but it feels great to be sharing my love of 3d with others. although the feedback can be tough to start with, I am really enjoying seeing mine and other peoples work grow - plus seeing all the different takes on the same scene, it's an inspiration! (and couldn't fully be appreciated unless you have a go yourself!)

cheers all

seggy

barrymcw
08-27-2006, 12:53 AM
The work in here just keeps getting better. I'm still trying to find time to knock out my next version but I'm really enjoying seeing the work.

Triker - awesome. The reflections on the candles works, the SSS works, the smoke works...it all works. Is there a grain or film effect over the whole scene? It's got a slight texture/chewy-ness to it that gives it a nice overall tangibility.

MIchael - welcome to the challenge. Way to go the extra mile with the flames. They're very nice, well worth extra effort. The subtle blue to yellow grad on them is very clean.

Cheers.

Triker
08-27-2006, 04:26 AM
Thanks all for the kind words.

kitsune_e—Good observation on the hardness of the candles, I'll try softening the reflections to give the candles a more waxy look

Seggy—The material of the vase is a simple gradient with reflections and very small bump

barrymcw—Yes I added some grain id post

The smoke is a photo of smoke that I retouched, recolored, knocked out of the background and applied to a poly facing the camera using alpha channel. Adjusted the luminous and transparency channels a bit as well.

Melvil
08-27-2006, 06:06 AM
Lots of great entries, good work everyone!

I first came upon these challenges while the last one was going and wanted to start participating, so here's my try at this scene:

http://melvil.revelationsys.com/filedump/candlelightingchallenge.jpg

Lightwave 9 + FPrime.

Would love any critique you could give.

fulg0re
08-27-2006, 01:22 PM
New render in blender :)
kitsun_e nice render, you could use the spot lights, I use them, all you have to do is to make the softness bigger and play with the other buttons,
http://img223.imageshack.us/img223/8646/3ax8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

BarberofCivil
08-27-2006, 01:49 PM
A quick post with my latest render. Softened the candle shadows (perhaps a bit too much) and added some sort of shadowing for the flames. Changed the wax material a bit. Attempted to change the table top to a yellow silk, not sure how convincing it came out.

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/barberofcivil/Candles-4.jpg

fighter4d
08-27-2006, 04:27 PM
Hi,all
sorry 4 my delay 2 replay

@jeremybirn:(but I don't really get the impression of light coming from the candles yet. Maybe the saturation of the flames is a bit high, too?)
that true , and thx 4 ur openion
@barrymcw :thx 4 ur comments and its ok for borrow it

@ChrRambow :(the candles need some "waxy" material.)
i think i had some problem with flame shade ,and thx 4 openion

@sri : (i think the candle and flame shade need improvement)
agree u ,thx 4 openion

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

@ lazzhar ...-your idea is very good ,and nice light
@ ChrRambow ...- no comments ,woderful
@ MasterZap ...- candle light is very realistic ,great work
@ glebe digital...-smoke is good idea .I like ur render
@ barrymcw ...-good lighting ,good shader
@ Buca ...- shader is good
@ kadazil ....-blue mood very woderful
@ Seggy.... - good job
@ fulg0re ....- keep it up
@sri ....-I like the lighting and render
@ Barber ....- good render and very cool details
@BarberofCivil ....-i like ur shade
@kitsune_e....- ,candle flame woderful ,and nice lighting
@snippsat ....- woow ,no comment ,woderful
@otacon ....- great render and lighting ,good job
@fulg0re......- keep it up ,good job
@mswertfager ....-no comment ,woderful
@jmBoekestein ....-candle light is very realistic and good render
@Melvil (member.php?u=35861) ......- light woderful .and good render

AjiEnrico
08-27-2006, 07:46 PM
Melvil, simply beautiful.

crit, just having some hart time reading the frame, thats all.

lotusexige
08-27-2006, 08:10 PM
I thought i would join in this one.

Only candles have shaders, everything else is default matte/test. Lighting still needs work but happy with the way its going.

Been working with the shadows to get a nice soft shadow, nothing too evident. Maybe i went too far.

Anyway here it is so far

jeremybirn
08-27-2006, 08:14 PM
BarberofCivil - Looking good! The one thing that bothers me is the lighting on the table, it seems get very bright and concentrated in one area in the center, then not very bright around some of the other candles?

fulg0re - That's great. One thing that keeps catching my eye is the contact between the candle holders and the table, or the plate and the table. Maybe you could balance things out with darker shadows or occlusion under them on the table, and a bit of bounce light from the table coming up onto the bottom of the candle holders and plate?

Melvil - Wow! Spot-on! Even the etched picture from looks really believable. If you do another pass at this, the candle flames look a bit too much like solid objects, and maybe could be softer at the edges or something. Also the background, the asian screen, is the one part of your scene where the lighting isn't as elegantly varied as it could be, some directionality and shadows might help back there.

jmBoekestein - Terrific! I love the flames. One area that could be better is where all the reflections line up on the right edge of the picture, with the vase and candle both hitting right on that side, if you could tweak that, maybe turning the picture a few degrees towards us, so maybe it was just a bit of the candle along the edge, it might be less distracting.

Triker - Terrific! You've got a lot of those details nailed, especially that incense and the smoke. The candle wax looks a bit too sharply reflective in places, so it almost looks like the center candle is metal or plastic or something. What's reflected in the bottom of the picture frame, is it a candle that isn't lit?

-jeremy

QuantumBoy
08-27-2006, 08:29 PM
Wow! These are all great entries! I stumbled upon the lighting challenges at the end of the last underwaterchallenge and beginning of this one. Hope to get something on this thread soon. :)

MLoDY447
08-27-2006, 08:41 PM
i got some different idea :)

xsi ( mental ray )

http://static.flickr.com/72/226317813_ded557a1d6_o.jpg

MLoDY447
08-27-2006, 08:43 PM
Hi im new here

I want to post something from me ( early stage )

http://static.flickr.com/72/226317813_ded557a1d6_o.jpg

MLoDY447
08-27-2006, 08:48 PM
http://static.flickr.com/72/226317813_ded557a1d6_o.jpg
this is my first try (early stage )

QuantumBoy
08-27-2006, 08:52 PM
Oh yeah, since I use alot of Softimage XSI Here's a .scn file if anyone wants to use it.

http://tinyurl.com/fpj79

BarberofCivil
08-28-2006, 12:34 AM
BarberofCivil - Looking good! The one thing that bothers me is the lighting on the table, it seems get very bright and concentrated in one area in the center, then not very bright around some of the other candles?
-jeremy

Thanks. That's from the additive effect of all five candles, if I tone it down a bit, then I start to lose illumination on the screen. I'll have to play with my light attentuation numbers a bit still. (It's proabably also partially due to the settings I'm using for my silk material.)

MLoDY447
08-28-2006, 02:41 AM
Sorry for my repeating posts :eek:

heres another try

http://static.flickr.com/47/226666258_38fcaf486b_o.jpg

barrymcw
08-28-2006, 06:37 AM
MLoDY,
great take on the scene. Very cool to see something rather different. A few comments:

I wonder if it's too clean. The book is so aged, I wonder why the table is pristine, why the metal's untarnished, etc. Given the detail in some parts, the absence in others is off-putting. I'd love see some ash on the clean plate from the insense and maybe some dirt or oil on on the table from the chains being laid on it. And the wood on the framing stuff on the right, the broken window makes me want to see some stains and scratches in the wood.

I do love the reflection in the broken glass.

The smoke coming off the one candle is a great, somewhat un-naturalistic shape. It suggest a magical/occult thing going on as the pattern looks too deliberate to be truly random (not saying smoke couldn't do that shape, just that it looks intentional).

Nice DOF & moonlit feel on the background.

I wonder if the grain on the table is too big. For some reason the scale on the wood texture looks just a wee bit off. But maybe that's just me.

The candle glow and flame are very good, you might want to look at the translucency of the candles themselves though. Maybe try, or fake, some SSS on the candle tops to suggest some light rays passing through them.

Cheers.

(new image from me soon, I hope)

fighter4d
08-28-2006, 10:21 AM
@MLoDY447----- woderful ,nice smoke and good flame , i think candle shade need some improvement ,i like book shade , good work

jmBoekestein
08-28-2006, 11:39 AM
Thanks Jeremy! I was allready rendering when I read your comment, will fix it on the next run.

http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/2152/candlebasedbouncenf3.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

and here's a cylinder preview thumb of the flame material, it's two gradientramps set to height through cylindrcal projection and blended using a perpendicular/parallel map.

http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/2051/flameoncylindersd0.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

MLoDY447
08-28-2006, 12:13 PM
Thx guys Ill try to improve the scene today or tomorrow :) Im gonna apply SSS shader for candles and I want to show heavy air in this room ( I dont know how I do this but Im gonna make it :)

lotusexige
08-28-2006, 05:41 PM
Here is an update.

Obviously haven't done a shader for the flames yet :) nor the background screen.

But here is my current effort.

http://www.digitalrendering.com/simon/images/Output0001.jpg

mswertfager
08-29-2006, 02:42 AM
Hello All,

Here is a second pass for "Ode to Mickey" with the suggestions provided. Thanks for the feedback everyone. (Render time 14mins.)

http://www.alphadogcreations.com/images/Challenge6_mswertfagerV2.jpg



JeremyBirn: You were right about the camera, it needed to be pulled back a bit. Also switched to 50mm focal length. By the way, the 1st edition of your book rocked. Probably the only tech book I have read front to back twice.

Sinppsat: I added the smoke in post. I used a smoke on black background, adjusted the coloring, and added it via the "lightening" blend mode. By the way, I like your decorative widows. And you did a good job on the internal glow translucence on the candle tops.

JmBoekerstin: Like the mood and feel of your candle light. Feels like real candle light.

Kitsune_e: great backdrop. You were right about the smoke on the incense being too sharp at its conception. I changed that.

Triker: excellent smoke!

Melvil: powerful composition...and very crisp. The etched picture frame is excellent. I think the fact that it can't be read is not only realistic, but allows us to image what it could be...making it feel all that more sentimental. You also got the SSS feel on those candle tops. Great job.

BarberofCivil: The saturation of yellow/Orange has a great feel to it and really makes your scene feel like a Japanese shrine.

MLoDY447: Decided to spice it up eh? Very interesting idea. I liked the snow shots. If you ever decide to work on that shot some more, you might try to add some snow to the table and the objects on the table.

Zildjian: I like the SSS feel in your candle tops...very nice. You might try dropping down the reflections of the candles, they feel a little glassy.

jeremybirn
08-29-2006, 08:47 AM
zildjian - Good start. Those flames look as if the whole top of the candle is on fire, kindof strange, but I look forwards to see that taken farther.

MLoDY447 - Terrific scene! I love the smoke on the one that just went out. I wish the lighting were pulled in to the center more, with less light and more contrast in the side cabinets, and maybe just a little more candle-light and a little less of the other light even on the table.

jmBoekestein - Still a great scene. It seems a little dark to me, I think this is good as a base but right around the candles some bright areas could be built up, and the flames themselves could be brighter.

zildjian - Good start. For no raytracing, those are nice reflections on the vase, candles, etc. But ouch, that composition is poking her eye out. ;)

mswertfager - Great work! If you really want more suggestions, you might try re-rendering just the lower left corner of the picture frame with more tesselation to see if you can get a smoother reflection of the candle there and comp that in. Otherwise I'd say to call that work "final" and go enjoy a beverage of your choice.

-jeremy

silvia
08-29-2006, 08:52 AM
As usual, some great images already!
Well since everybody is going for a very photorealistic look, I decided to go for a more "painterly" style instead. This is very low res, I wanted to get something rendered quickly.
Thank you for your comments.

BarberofCivil
08-29-2006, 01:10 PM
mswertfager: your candle flames are one of the best colour-wise. The incense smoke is also noteworthy.

Another run with some minor changes. Altered the light fading a bit to tone down the oversaturation between the candles. A bit different viewpoint. Also fixed the sceen image map, wasn't aligned properly before. (I forgot to put my silk material back, so just a regular wood table top).

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/barberofcivil/Candles-5.jpg

Triker
08-29-2006, 02:19 PM
An update. The candles are more waxy looking now. And i removed the candle reflection in the bottom of the picture frame.

http://www.kohrman.com/Images/candle7.jpg

Triker
08-29-2006, 02:27 PM
BarberofCivil—I really like the tight, intimate look of this pic, it goes along with the candle light well.

mswertfager— love the flames and the overall feel

jmBoekestein—nice flames as well.

What I'm learning from this exercise is how important the little details are to making an image that looks finished. Terrific of everyone to join in.

jmBoekestein
08-29-2006, 06:50 PM
Thx for thegreat compliments and advice, I'll try to post something useful in a minute after dinner.

I felt trying to dof through raytracing, because I couldn't get it to work in combustion. And added lensdistortion.

http://img50.imageshack.us/img50/7650/candlelight5ah0.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

LiquidStorm3D
08-29-2006, 08:42 PM
I'm seeing some very nice works on here. I really like mswertfager's submission, it gives off a that dimness of the candles. Everyone else's work looks real nice as well, just hope mine doesn't fall back too far behind, hehe. I'll be submitting mine tonight probably, just wanna ask for advice on the SSS for the candles. I've never used the SSS shader, so I can't get it to work right. It looks too dark on the shadow side of the candles. Only one that looks decent is the taller one which is getting light from all around.

I'm gonna mess with the shaders and then try and see if I can get the SSS to work right b4 I send in the image.

Oh and I was wondering, what's the render time on these images... I know the one with fluids woulda taken a lil longer, or maybe not, but they all look like 10min+ of render time.

Saeed
08-29-2006, 09:04 PM
This is my first try with this scene. Rendered by Brazil r/s.
it is not compelet.

http://img15.imgspot.com/u/06/240/15/011156881547.jpg

LiquidStorm3D
08-29-2006, 10:32 PM
Heh, seems the server delay is making everyone doublepost :D

Here is my first version of the scene, needs some fixes in a couple of areas, but it's close to what I'm aiming for. I haven't messed with fluids for anything other than ocean/water, so I just put a ramp on the default nurbs flame and adjusted the colors and incandescence. I'll rework the shaders once I find my main textures CD.

http://liquidstorm.onestop.net/LiquidStorm-CGTalk.LC6.jpg

Comments/advice always welcome :)

mbeazley
08-29-2006, 11:55 PM
Here is my first attempt. I have some weirdness with the flames that I may try and solve. This was rendered with LW9.

-mark

MLoDY447
08-30-2006, 02:02 AM
nice nice :)

now me :)

tomorrow im gonna make spider webs and improve it more :)

keep it up

http://static.flickr.com/84/228729627_febdc39446_o.jpg

sphere
08-30-2006, 02:08 AM
Wow MLoDY447, that's awesome. Really nice work. :)

Would you mind sharing the techniques you used?

Saeed
08-30-2006, 02:55 AM
it's nice MLoDY447 but the rule is light and render this scene as if it were lit by candle light! :rolleyes:

Cypher666
08-30-2006, 03:15 AM
it's nice MLoDY447 but the rule is light and render this scene as if it were lit by candle light! :rolleyes:
Funny I thought the only rule was that there aren't any rules, just guidelines.

i.dyoel
08-30-2006, 03:19 AM
nice work to everybody.:thumbsup:

this is my first lighting challenge, rendered in 3ds max - final render.

jeremybirn
08-30-2006, 04:14 AM
i.dyoel - Nice! It would be great if you could work on the contact between the candle holders and the table, though, with slightly darker shadows from the metal holders and much darker shadows from the glass plate, and enough bounce light on the bottom of the metal holders that they blend into the shadow area.

MLoDY447 - As I said, that's looking great. The "broken glass" in the shelf could be more transparent instead of being a perfect mirror, that's kindof confusing right now, and that whole shelf area could be much darker and more subtle. The smoke is terrific, I don't know what the little dots are of particles or ash but maybe just those could be smoothed out.

mbeazley - Good start! I'd work on getting pools of light instead of consistent, uniform lighting on the table top. The framed picture doesn't read very well, maybe there's too much black in it.

LiquidStorm3D - That's looking good. For the tops of the candles, maybe see if you can map the wicks darker, and then for the translucency of the wax do a much more subtle gradient instead of the whole tip going white? Maybe the bright reflections in the plate are a little distracting, too, and I hope you can find a better wood texture than that default one...

Saeed - Good start! Keep going!

jmBoekestein - Lense distortion would be nice if it were a very wide-angle shot, maybe zoom out a good bit, and be careful not to cut off the top of that candle. It looks like the DOF could be much deeper, and the whole scene is still underexposed.

Triker - That's terrific! Great scene! This is a small thing, but the raytraced reflections of the candles onto the wooden frames of the screens could go away, if you want to add interest to that wood maybe just some specular kicks would work better.

BarberofCivil - Terrific, it's starting to look really refined. Maybe some of the glows around the candle flames are too obvious (esp. the one on the right) and the smoke is too bright, but you are really narrowing in on a sharp scene.

silvia - I don't see the "painterlyness" in there yet, but keep going! Maybe the background screen doesn't need to be so uniformly flat all the way across, and you could be more selective about that. The candle on the right seems as if it's having shadowing problems: the whole candle is ambiently lit, but then there's a dark circle around the rest of the scene where no candle-light seems to reach.

-jeremy

barrymcw
08-30-2006, 07:45 AM
Three, four days later...my next version.

While it's not "4 days better," there are some things I'm happy with vs. my last one. Still, my candletops aren't as nice as they could be and my flames just don't look as real as I'd like (not the pure white blob center screen at the bottom). Ideally I'll have time for another go at it.

Rendered w GI (one bounce only) and SSS. A bit of color correction in Photoshop, plus the smoke and grain added in Photoshop. The grain that I added is pretty big, sort of an old film grain that ends up looking like artifacts from SSS. Not sure that I like that side effect of it, but eh, that's the way it goes.

Cheers.

http://img242.imageshack.us/img242/331/candlechallenge10qs4.png

MLoDY447
08-30-2006, 08:43 AM
OK so here we go :) :

the candles are volumic scatter :) flames are on other pass so i could do anything with em without crashing or burning the whole scene. ( theyre volumic too ) in scene are five area lights
1st point is the gentle blue at the window behind the take and all others are above candles. for scene i used light falloffs and final gathering. textures were made in photoshop, yes the glass has 2 much reflections. smoke was made in POST
and now im workin on spider webs ( they gonna be fractals made in APOPHYSIS and textured as transparency maps )

any questions? suggestions??


gonna take a look at some ur projects and comment them :)

oh and im gonna make candles look more lighten as someone said before

ofcourse all scene was textured ( + some models ) and rendered in XSI [ mental ray ]

BarberofCivil
08-30-2006, 01:08 PM
BarberofCivil - Terrific, it's starting to look really refined. Maybe some of the glows around the candle flames are too obvious (esp. the one on the right) and the smoke is too bright, but you are really narrowing in on a sharp scene.


Thanks Jeremy. You are probably right about most of these. I'll see what I can do to refine it. (These renders are running ~12hrs with focal blur, media, radiosity so any changes I make will be ready tomorrow.)

In the meantime a slight update. Altered the smoke function for the incense, I think it looks better now (if not too bright still). Fixe the material on the 2 large candle holders. Supposed to be a radial-brushed, but was oriented wrong. Put the silk tabletop back in that was left out last time.

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/barberofcivil/Candles-6.jpg

Triker
08-30-2006, 01:58 PM
Triker - That's terrific! Great scene! This is a small thing, but the raytraced reflections of the candles onto the wooden frames of the screens could go away, if you want to add interest to that wood maybe just some specular kicks would work better.

-jeremy

Jeremy, thanks, I agree on the reflections. Doing my final without 'em, and, after seeing some of the great flames, I'm reworking mine a bit more.

jeremybirn
08-30-2006, 02:41 PM
barrymcw - That scene's got some things working, nice smoke. Maybe you could darken the wicks a lot, bring the SSS down 50+%, maybe get some color into the flames, and fix the composition so the tops of those flames aren't cropped off?

BarberofCivil - So, those glows or flares or whatever that appears by the flames, those are an effect being added in the renderer? I don't know what effect that is, one of them looks almost like a spec highlight on the surface behind the flame. Especially if renders are slow to re-do, you might try turning that effect off and adding glows in post instead. You could even do a separate flames pass as a basis for the glows, although glows based on the brightest parts of the scene can work too.

-jeremy

MLoDY447
08-30-2006, 02:48 PM
Barberofcivil - 12 hours?? o man something is wrong :( mine was 3

ok this is final ( i like it like that )

some webs added but not to much

and tomorrow im gonna change camera take ( so fasten your seatbelts ;)

http://static.flickr.com/61/229154962_0ad5a14cfa_o.jpg

BarberofCivil
08-30-2006, 02:55 PM
BarberofCivil - So, those glows or flares or whatever that appears by the flames, those are an effect being added in the renderer? I don't know what effect that is, one of them looks almost like a spec highlight on the surface behind the flame. Especially if renders are slow to re-do, you might try turning that effect off and adding glows in post instead. You could even do a separate flames pass as a basis for the glows, although glows based on the brightest parts of the scene can work too.
-jeremy

I'm using POVRay which is a raytracer, so I don't really run 'passes'. Everything is built in-scene and rendered in a single run. The glows are basically just an emitting media (as are the flames themselves). What slows the renders down are the candle material which is purely a dense scattering media, and the focal blur which also acts as AA, and also the number of lights (there are only 5 candle lights plus a very dim light on the incense, but they are implemented as area lights which adds to their complexity). However, theese can be turned off and simplified while I run test renders, so that's not a problem, it's just the final, good render that takes the time (you just hope you didn't forget to turn anything back on...).
I appreciate all the comments I get, however, techniques used in most of the renders that seem to be used here aren't valid for me and I'm not familiar with them (not even photoshop post-processing). I just need to take different approaches to solve my problems. For example, fixeing the glows is as simple as altering the function that defines the media density it uses until it has the look I want. (Actually, looking at the glows now, I should have fixed it long ago, they do look kind of off compared to the rest of the scene, especially the colour).

BarberofCivil
08-30-2006, 03:01 PM
Barberofcivil - 12 hours?? o man something is wrong :( mine was 3

ok this is final ( i like it like that )

some webs added but not to much


12 hours because of the reasons stated above, mainly because of the candle material.

I like the cobwebs, nice touch.
One question: Is the candle smoke supposed to look like something in particular? Kind of reminds me of the artist formerly known as Prince.
One comment: The book pages are nice and worn and tattered, but they seem too perfectly flat for the amount of tattering. Anyway to rumple them up a bit?

LiquidStorm3D
08-30-2006, 03:24 PM
Cool stuff, altho I try to run away from area lights... makes scenes way too complex with the multiple light calculations and the soft shadow casting. I do something with raytracing that I call raycast which, in maya, you'd increase the degree that it shines from so you get a softer shadow from it. It's basicly a fake area light, but doesn't have multiple lights within it and you can do it on any light type. It increases render time, but results are nice.

I'll post a second version later today, found my textures and have been adjusting the candles themselves. I haven't messed with SSS, so I just did it the old fashioned way, with decent results, I think. It's a good time to learn it, so I'll try it out for version 3 :)

Oh yea, and I can't see any of MLoDY447's images. What server are they coming from? It might be on hostman and getting blocked off.

MLoDY447
08-30-2006, 03:33 PM
BarberofCivil - No. This smoke is supposed to be a magical accent to this scene ( i wanted to get illustration style in 3d ) hell no ( prince? lol )

wilhelm
08-30-2006, 05:14 PM
Here is my attempt on this scene. Looking forward to all your coments.
cheers Wilhelm

MLoDY447
08-30-2006, 06:24 PM
zildjian - if u could change the take of the camera ( if better composition - better effect) :) smoke is good and nice :) this glow is ok but if it was only in the area of candles it would be much better. flames are too noisy as for me. and the white plate seems to give too much illumination.

Saed - my candles are lit :) specialy for u I will turn off the light in window and show something different :) and i hope u will like it

Great contest and great job everybody

cheers.

silvia
08-30-2006, 06:41 PM
Can I ask a question to the Maya people using SSS? How do you get the light to seep into the top of the candle? I was doing some experiments with SSS last night and got some really nice wax-looking material, then I put a point light on top of it, where the flame would be, with linear decay, and the light doesn't really get into the material. What settings do you use, in terms of SSS material and lights?
Thank you

Saeed
08-30-2006, 07:09 PM
Saed - my candles are lit :) specialy for u I will turn off the light in window and show something different :) and i hope u will like it

Hello friend. i must say your work is nice and great. I like it so much and i was say may free
opinion about it ;) i don't like make you uncomfortable . Keep up the good work :thumbsup:

jeremybirn
08-30-2006, 07:30 PM
Can I ask a question to the Maya people using SSS? How do you get the light to seep into the top of the candle? I was doing some experiments with SSS last night and got some really nice wax-looking material, then I put a point light on top of it, where the flame would be, with linear decay, and the light doesn't really get into the material. What settings do you use, in terms of SSS material and lights?

The miSSS shaders don't do any scattering by themselves, to actually get scattering to work you need to connect them to a mental ray texture that's reading a light map first, as shown in this tutorial:

http://www.highend3d.com/maya/tutorials/rendering_lighting/shaders/135-2.html

-jeremy

ACamacho
08-30-2006, 07:48 PM
My WIP entry:

http://www.angelcamacho-torres.com/files/candle_ColorTest.jpg

Done in Maya Software...plain ol traditional lighting and simple procedurals. No actual reflections yet and still missing some textures (flames I am talking to you). Renders in around 3-4 minutes give or take. Glad to post something though. :)

edit: I am gonna put some smoke too for the incense stick on the plate. Also forgot to say some postwork done in Shake (sharpening and minor color tweaks/glows).

lotusexige
08-30-2006, 08:08 PM
Thanks for the help guys, I have changed the composition the flames and the dish

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b210/QBod/Output0064-1.jpg

jucaduarte
08-30-2006, 08:22 PM
excelents, congrats for all :thumbsup:

jD

MLoDY447
08-30-2006, 08:45 PM
zildjian - much much better :thumbsup:

silvia
08-30-2006, 09:28 PM
The miSSS shaders don't do any scattering by themselves, to actually get scattering to work you need to connect them to a mental ray texture that's reading a light map first, as shown in this tutorial:

http://www.highend3d.com/maya/tutorials/rendering_lighting/shaders/135-2.html

-jeremy

Actually I am doing everything according to that tutorial and, in fact, I do get SSS. What I mean is: compare the amount of light that seeps through the candle in Barberofcivil's or MLoDY447, which is more like what I am getting, with the amount in wilhelm's. In wilhelm's image, the light is visible throough the wax all the way from where the flame is, down to a good bit of the candle itself. See how in the other 2 the light doesn't go far below the top of the candle? I tried to raise the intensity of the light, I even tried to put the light inside the candle, but couldn't get the same effect.

ACamacho
08-30-2006, 09:37 PM
Actually I am doing everything according to that tutorial and, in fact, I do get SSS. What I mean is: compare the amount of light that seeps through the candle in Barberofcivil's or MLoDY447, which is more like what I am getting, with the amount in wilhelm's. In wilhelm's image, the light is visible throough the wax all the way from where the flame is, down to a good bit of the candle itself. See how in the other 2 the light doesn't go far below the top of the candle? I tried to raise the intensity of the light, I even tried to put the light inside the candle, but couldn't get the same effect.


Have you tried adjusting the SSS weights? I had a mental ray version of the scene and would have the same problem until I adjust the weights (or the scale attr in the "algorithm" section).

lotusexige
08-30-2006, 09:37 PM
heh, forgot to add the shadow pass :)

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b210/QBod/Output_a0064.jpg

lotusexige
08-30-2006, 10:44 PM
final edit (i hope)

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b210/QBod/Output_a0064-2.jpg

A quick note about the flames, they look a little 'lively' that's because i plan to have this animated and those flames are flickering - i'll try and post up the anim somewhere else when it's finished. But crap 'still' flames aside, i am happy with it :)

LiquidStorm3D
08-31-2006, 12:55 AM
Here is my version 2, still needs some adjusting of course. I toned down the reflection on the plate, changed the shader for the vase, the candle holders and the table, adjusted the candles to look more waxy and added another light to add some ambience to the scene. I'll try to get a version 3 by this weekend. I'm gonna give the other challenges a shot also.

http://liquidstorm.onestop.net/LiquidStorm-CGTalk.LC6-2.jpg

I'll probably change the picture frame from metal to wood so it tones down that highlight from that candle, seems to be distracting. I'll also try the SSS on the candles for the next pass, i'll keep it if i like it :P

jeremybirn
08-31-2006, 02:17 AM
Actually I am doing everything according to that tutorial and, in fact, I do get SSS. What I mean is: compare the amount of light that seeps through the candle in Barberofcivil's or MLoDY447, which is more like what I am getting, with the amount in wilhelm's. In wilhelm's image, the light is visible throough the wax all the way from where the flame is, down to a good bit of the candle itself. See how in the other 2 the light doesn't go far below the top of the candle? I tried to raise the intensity of the light, I even tried to put the light inside the candle, but couldn't get the same effect.

Ah, OK. Maybe Master Zap's tutorial where he shows how a different radius can look and other params will help:

http://www.lamrug.org/resources/skintips.html

-jeremy

jeremybirn
08-31-2006, 03:09 AM
Wilhelm - Nice scene! The smoke looks really good, except for the one with the hard edge on top. Heat ripples on the background could be a good idea, but they should be much smaller and more subtle.

ACamacho - Great! Colors look good, looks like you're headed for a really solid scene. Right now the picture frame somehow looks exactly like a CRT monitor.

zildjian - Great job. Kindof funny the way you keep lining things up like making the woman smell the smoke from the incense.

LiquidStorm3D - That's coming out great! Highlights on the picture frame could be kindof bright with the candle right next to it, but more tesselation for the frame would be good so the candle reflection doesn't look so jagged. Maybe the plate reflection is too bright, and parts of the wicks shouldn't go pure white.

-jeremy

LiquidStorm3D
08-31-2006, 04:35 AM
Hehe, the wicks being white wasn't actually my doing. They're supposed to be black, but the lights seem to override it since they're translucent. I'll put a ramp onto the transl and cut that off at the top, also change the color to a nice orange-ish.

I'll override the tesselation on the frame, thanks for pointing that out... kinda overlooked it. I might also drop the degree on the shadows so the candles have more of a presence in the scene. Shadows wash out a lil too much. Thanks for the feedback :D

malach
08-31-2006, 06:11 AM
Alright! First post!!

Anyway, I've been tinkering with this for a couple of days now. The only thing I'm having trouble with is the SSS for the tips of the candles. I'm working in 3ds Max 7, and not finding a lot of info on it.

jbingman
08-31-2006, 06:44 AM
Well - I just wanted to pop in and start my WIP stuff. Finally got to sit down and get some work done on it. Quite a bit I still need to do tho (candle flames, textures not quite right, etc.) - but it's a start. Will post again maybe tomorrow or so after my GF helps me critique it more :)

J

http://cgstuff.avision4you.net/padawan/jbingaman_cgmini_06_test_02.jpg

lotusexige
08-31-2006, 05:42 PM
zildjian - Great job. Kindof funny the way you keep lining things up like making the woman smell the smoke from the incense.
-jeremy

Thanks jeremy, She'll probably want to stick one of those candles up my nose, when she finds out I used her passport photo for this shot :D

lotusexige
08-31-2006, 05:45 PM
Well - I just wanted to pop in and start my WIP stuff. Finally got to sit down and get some work done on it. Quite a bit I still need to do tho (candle flames, textures not quite right, etc.) - but it's a start. Will post again maybe tomorrow or so after my GF helps me critique it more :)

J



Good start. Obviously you'll want to tone down the candles. maybe look at the intensity/fall off of the lightsources.

Also you might want to change the pattern on either the rear partition or the picture frame, as the wood seems to have the same directional grain, looks a bit strange.

Kepp going though :)

malach
08-31-2006, 07:11 PM
OKay, for some reason, I'm still not having the ability to upload pictures. Ok, I uploaded it elsewhere. :D

http://www.wolfdenproductions.net/images/candles.jpg

Let me know what I'm doing wrong, okay guys?

BarberofCivil
08-31-2006, 08:44 PM
Thought I'd try something a bit different. Zoomed the perspective way out and added environment map and lighting. the first pic is with just the environment lighting, the second has the candles lit. (Sorry for the jaggies, didn't want to waste time waiting for the renders. These ran at about 15min each)

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/barberofcivil/Candles-7a.jpg
http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/barberofcivil/Candles-7b.jpg

yohann
08-31-2006, 09:45 PM
Hey everybody!

That's my attempt. I'm very sad because i lost the file while configuring the particle flow, max corrupted my file (i hate Autodesk :scream: ). I'll start it over.

http://www.yohann.com.br/3D/lc/candle_yohann_01_wv.jpg

jbingman
09-01-2006, 12:08 AM
Good start. Obviously you'll want to tone down the candles. maybe look at the intensity/fall off of the lightsources.

Also you might want to change the pattern on either the rear partition or the picture frame, as the wood seems to have the same directional grain, looks a bit strange.

Kepp going though :)

Thanks! still working in the candles, haven't had much time to play with it today and I'm on my laptop. But was able to tweak it a bit more and got to this. Still need to tone down the candles some, and the flares are wrong based on Jeremy's reference pics (like - WAY wrong - but just set it and had to step into a meeting). Not liking the picture frame at all - so I'll PS something on that when I can (pic is w/ me and my daughter some years back :) )

Using LW 09 and gradients to control sss. no post work. but getting closer. haven't even touched the incense yet. Maybe after dinner tonight..

here's the latest.. crits anytime plz

Jay

http://cgstuff.avision4you.net/padawan/jbingaman_cgmini_06_test_05.jpg

LiquidStorm3D
09-01-2006, 06:00 AM
@ padawan - aside from the obvious lens flare problem and the candles that you've mentioned, you should lower the reflectivity on the picture frame and the table. Seeing the candle's reflection is distracting from what's more important.

@ yohann - very nice job with the texturing and the colors, looks cool :) My suggestion for this one is to desaturate the blue light a little if you want it to look more like daylight. Very nice vase BTW.

@ BarberofCivil - cool looking tests :) HDRI makes life so much easier, hehe. Only things that stick out to me are in the lit version. The yellowish light that hits the screen is a bit strong, it saturates a lot up top. Also, the candlelight would be nothing compared to the outside light, so intensity should be a lot lower.

@ malach - You should work more on the texturing/shading of the scene, some shaders look too bland and don't really add to the object's presence. The candle that's super yellow in the middle could use some adjusting, or play around with the shader to tone it down. You're also missing what's most important when it comes to lighting... shadows. Make the lights cast shadows and you'll see a huge diff in the image, then of course play with the settings to get them to look right.

jbingman
09-01-2006, 06:14 AM
@ padawan - aside from the obvious lens flare problem and the candles that you've mentioned, you should lower the reflectivity on the picture frame and the table. Seeing the candle's reflection is distracting from what's more important.

agreed - i've got some tweaks going on the edit suite at home now and it's looking much warmer. i sometimes get too bright working from the laptop and have to get out of that habbit. Thanks.

malach
09-01-2006, 09:01 AM
@ malach - You should work more on the texturing/shading of the scene, some shaders look too bland and don't really add to the object's presence. The candle that's super yellow in the middle could use some adjusting, or play around with the shader to tone it down. You're also missing what's most important when it comes to lighting... shadows. Make the lights cast shadows and you'll see a huge diff in the image, then of course play with the settings to get them to look right.


Yeah, I know I've got to work on the shaders/textures a bit more. There ARE shadows though....very soft shadows. The first attempts at shadows were VERY defined. I'll see what I can do to add some more definition to those shadows. And I think I'll just remove that super bright candle from the scene...what's causing that are the three candles too close together.

MLoDY447
09-01-2006, 12:40 PM
yohann - I like it :) nice work keep it up:thumbsup:

BarberofCivil
09-01-2006, 01:14 PM
@ BarberofCivil - cool looking tests :) HDRI makes life so much easier, hehe. Only things that stick out to me are in the lit version. The yellowish light that hits the screen is a bit strong, it saturates a lot up top. Also, the candlelight would be nothing compared to the outside light, so intensity should be a lot lower.

Thanks. I agree with the candle light looking a bit too strong. The environment is somewhat overcast and evening, but the candles look a bit strong. The candle intenstiy was actually bumped down from my main renders by almost 50%, perhaps they're still too strong or it could be my screen material.

I have another main render. This one has the light intensity at the level used in the previous tests along with some other fixes. Improved the candle glows in size, intesity and colour. Toned the incense smoke down considerably. Also fixed the flame locations, waqsn't calculating the offset from turbulence correctly so the flames and glows weren't positioned correctly relative to the candles.

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i52/barberofcivil/Candles-8.jpg

jeremybirn
09-01-2006, 02:50 PM
malach - I think you need more than 4 posts here to do an attachment. Most people upload elsewhere to make their images more a part of the posts anyway. That's a great start, overall tones and look are already solid. I'd say: Try to add shadows under the plate and candleholders. Try to get the tablecloth texture out of the plate. See if you can make the flames themselves brighter. Try to get a nice glow near the top of the candles, but not the whole candle glowing like that back one.

BarberofCivil - Love your "oceanfront" scene. I almost expect John Cleese to be sitting at that desk, saying "And now for something completely different."

yohann - Looks great. Maybe framing up a little bit more room above the candles would balance things better? I agree on perhaps the saturated colors adding a bit too much busy-ness to the composition, things could be unified more with consistent colored lights.

In terms of corrupt files, no matter what program I'm using, I keep saving my scene as a different version number almost every time I save it. That way I always have a version from a few hours ago or a previous step if a file got corrupted or something was deleted from it that I want again.

padawan - Looks good overall. I agree on toning down the SSS and fixing the flare with all the radial lines. The composition with one bright candle hiding behind the vase looks a little awkward. The flames themselves are nice, if you can get them to appear in reflections.

BarberofCivil - Great! THis is just an observation, but it's funny how easy it is to "mis-read" the glow of the incense as a reflection of that candle flame above it. I love the look of the brass candle-holder right in the top part near the candle, if you could work more of those kinds of reflections farther down it would bring them out more.

-jeremy

BarberofCivil
09-01-2006, 03:46 PM
BarberofCivil - Love your "oceanfront" scene. I almost expect John Cleese to be sitting at that desk, saying "And now for something completely different."

Hmmm... wonder if I can find a mesh...
I may try and see what a few other environments look like.


BarberofCivil - Great! THis is just an observation, but it's funny how easy it is to "mis-read" the glow of the incense as a reflection of that candle flame above it. I love the look of the brass candle-holder right in the top part near the candle, if you could work more of those kinds of reflections farther down it would bring them out more.

-jeremy

Hadn't noticed the close alignment before...

For the candle holders, it's the same material on the entire holder, a radial brushed brass. Unfortunately it looks only as good as what it has to reflect and the lower parts reflect the base which reflects the dark environment while the top reflects the bright tabletop. Not sure what I can do to improve this other than adding environment, which would then increase my ambient environment lighting, losing the close intimate feel of the candle lights (unfortunately, my purist mind won't let me add environment for reflections without the appropriate associated lighting, my artistic mind is going to have to do battle some time, kinda like in Superman III, but that's another story).

Triker
09-01-2006, 03:58 PM
An update with some better flame and the distracting reflections gone.

http://www.kohrman.com/Images/candles8.jpg

ACamacho
09-01-2006, 05:21 PM
@ Triker: I like the overall mood you have there. Very nice.

@ yohann: I wish I had that vase to put in my living room. :) Like it alot.

Here is another update. Added reflections, smoke and a little DoF. Also rendered it larger to viw it better. Hopefully I'll get some time to put in more on my lunch break. But it's getting there. Undecided on the picture. Fire away....


*EDIT: Removed the DoF. It ended up looking awkward....
http://www.angelcamacho-torres.com/files/candle_ColorTest2.jpg

LiquidStorm3D
09-01-2006, 07:10 PM
Yeah, I know I've got to work on the shaders/textures a bit more. There ARE shadows though....very soft shadows. The first attempts at shadows were VERY defined. I'll see what I can do to add some more definition to those shadows. And I think I'll just remove that super bright candle from the scene...what's causing that are the three candles too close together.

You don't really need to remove the candle, just adjust the shader so it doesn't brighten up so much. I can give ya my settings for them without SSS if you want.

leovinci
09-01-2006, 07:26 PM
http://www.angelcamacho-torres.com/files/F_candles.jpg

This is a WIP that I've been lighting a few minutes here and there, so far I've put in about 3 hours over the course of a week. I used Mental ray for the lighting and Photoshop for the gobos and some of the texturing. This is an SD render and takes around 2 minutes. I still I have to render out some different passes and comp it in Shake to get my final look that I want.

leovinci
09-01-2006, 07:30 PM
Oh yeah! Yohann has a very nice vase. Great job.....

lotusexige
09-01-2006, 08:58 PM
Deleted...

LiquidStorm3D
09-01-2006, 09:58 PM
Here is another update. Added reflections, smoke and a little DoF. Also rendered it larger to viw it better. Hopefully I'll get some time to put in more on my lunch break. But it's getting there. Undecided on the picture. Fire away....


*EDIT: Removed the DoF. It ended up looking awkward....
http://www.angelcamacho-torres.com/files/candle_ColorTest2.jpg

Very nice image! I love the colors on it and the overall composition. I noticed that the smoke seems kill the intensity of the candle on the right and the glow as well. The other candles look more lively than that one, so the contrast makes it look awkward.

LiquidStorm3D
09-02-2006, 02:48 AM
Quick question...

I was able to set up the SSS after reading the link that Jeremy posted earlier [thx btw], but I kept the candles with the original shader I had set up, for speed purposes. Now, I've been reading about ctrl_buffers and can't seem to figure it out. If anyone has some info on how to set this up, please send me a msg, or reply to the post, it would be greatly appreciated. :)

ACamacho
09-02-2006, 02:54 AM
Very nice image! I love the colors on it and the overall composition. I noticed that the smoke seems kill the intensity of the candle on the right and the glow as well. The other candles look more lively than that one, so the contrast makes it look awkward.

Yeah I added a slight vignette to the image n Shake. I just have to change the shape so it doesn't affect the flame. Thanks!

About ctrl_buffers...have you read the thread about it?

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=209991&highlight=ctrl+buffers

For the most part any questions are answered there. But if you need more info I can try to help out.....although I have only been using them for about a week or so.

Blooz
09-02-2006, 03:11 AM
@ Triker: I like the overall mood you have there. Very nice.

@ yohann: I wish I had that vase to put in my living room. :) Like it alot.

Here is another update. Added reflections, smoke and a little DoF. Also rendered it larger to viw it better. Hopefully I'll get some time to put in more on my lunch break. But it's getting there. Undecided on the picture. Fire away....


*EDIT: Removed the DoF. It ended up looking awkward....
http://www.angelcamacho-torres.com/files/candle_ColorTest2.jpg


Very nice image, i would love to see a breakdown.

jbingman
09-02-2006, 05:37 AM
Final update. Have to move on to another project for a show in Oct. and the girls at home like it (tho I'm not real good with volumetrics yet) But LOTS of fun! Thanks Jeremy for the challenge. May still make some minor tweaks if you guys notice something tho.

And thanks Mark for splitting up some surfaces for me till NT got the red dongle thing figured out. Got my new dongle today, but support is out for the weekend (sigh).

LW 9 - No postwork, about 25 mins final render at low AA. 6 area lights (1 for each candle, and 1 to control some translucency). No SSS nodes or formulas, SSS is faked with gradients and nulls, everything else is with textures in PS).

Hope you like it.

Jay

http://cgstuff.avision4you.net/padawan/jbingaman_cgmini_06_final_texted.jpg

LiquidStorm3D
09-02-2006, 06:11 AM
Yeah I added a slight vignette to the image n Shake. I just have to change the shape so it doesn't affect the flame. Thanks!

About ctrl_buffers...have you read the thread about it?

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=209991&highlight=ctrl+buffers

For the most part any questions are answered there. But if you need more info I can try to help out.....although I have only been using them for about a week or so.

I looked over that thread and there are lots of examples of what it does and some other enhancements with it, but I've only figured out how to connect the node on the camera.... it's a lot of confusing stuff on there. I have a copy of version 1.1 which has a readme with some type of instruction, but i've updated to v2 RC5, but nothing there on how to set it up.

Some help with it would be great if you have the time :)

LiquidStorm3D
09-02-2006, 06:48 AM
http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/tutorials/candle.html

Thought this would be useful for anyone that hasn't seen it yet. It's actually a first time for me, so I'll try the technique on here for the candle transparency. The animation was pretty weak =x

LiquidStorm3D
09-02-2006, 08:13 PM
I found an alternative [actually 2] to ctrl_buffers. One is framebuffer write and output mel scripts, which I really don't have a clue how to use. The other one is MegaTK which seems to give better results overall. Only requirement is that you use the TK lights instead of the maya ones.

I'm gonna try and set up a simple scene and see how this all works, and then try it out with my candles scene to hope for the best. Here is a link to the MegaTK shader for mental ray.

http://www.puppet.cgtalk.ru/download/megatk_e.shtml

mswertfager
09-03-2006, 01:20 AM
Your candles are looking good blooz...nice translucence.

silvia
09-03-2006, 07:24 AM
New version, I tried a few new tricks, got the sss to work as I wanted it to work.
Thanks for your comments

i.dyoel
09-03-2006, 07:47 AM
i.dyoel - Nice! It would be great if you could work on the contact between the candle holders and the table, though, with slightly darker shadows from the metal holders and much darker shadows from the glass plate, and enough bounce light on the bottom of the metal holders that they blend into the shadow area.

-jeremy

Sir Jeremy, Thanks for the comment.

Here's my 2nd attempt. straight from max, unsharp mask only in photoshop.

Lighting setup:
1. flames: 5 omni light position at each flames - inverse square decay - fR shadow map w/ gradient ramp map
2. background: 2 spot light position at the back of the table - inverse square decay - fR raytraced shadows
3. glass plate w/ incense: 1 spot light - inverse square decay - fR shadow map - fR photons "on"

No GI. I'll try turning on GI on my next render.

Hope this would help others.

M31
09-03-2006, 05:41 PM
Great images everyone! :)

@Triker, I like the texturing of the candles!

@ACamacho, I like the illustrative quality!

@MLoDY477, I really like the atmosphere your work, the worn book, the smoke, the spiderwebs, great! :)

I have started on mine, using the tutorial by Pete Draper for guidance. I'm going to do more with the materials in the rest of the scene and provide a little more illumination. I like the candle material, but something must be amis with the falloff map I'm using for the candle flames.

http://img503.imageshack.us/img503/239/candlesmu2.jpg

LiquidStorm3D
09-04-2006, 04:35 AM
Good job on the fixes, the candles on those images look very nice :D

Here is my version 3, did some noticeable changes to it, mainly the picture frame and some subtle changes with the lighting. I did some minor post work just cuz, but I tried to focus the image more towards the candles on this pass. I had trouble with getting the candles to show up on the ZDepth map, so I couldn't do what I initially wanted, which was to bring the focus towards the front of the table, o well... here's the image.

http://liquidstorm.onestop.net/LiquidStorm-CGTalk.LC6-3.jpg

meanlebh
09-04-2006, 04:39 AM
great job everyone, some of these are really coming along quite nicely.

I finally got a few hours to play around with the scene a little bit, this is what I have come up with so far. This just consists of straight lighting, point lights with falloff for the candles, and shadowmapped spots for the fill lights. No FG or GI of any type. Don't know how much more time I will get to mess with it, but any comments/critiques are more than welcome. Thanks, and again, great job!

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k102/meanleybh/lighting%20challenges/Candle_scene.jpg


-Brian

JCBug
09-04-2006, 10:35 AM
Hi, I'm just discovering your works, it's great !
Jeremy have always got excellent ideas.
Candle is a classic, but very complex.
So I'm going to find time to do my contribution
in this challenge. (It's the third for me)

Thykka
09-04-2006, 11:24 AM
Whoa.. It's been a while since I've done any 3d..
Anyway here's my entry spiced with lots of SSS & Blurry Reflections ;)
Rendered with finalRender. Added DoF, grain and (tiny) touchups in Photoshop.

There's some weird artifacts in the candles' SSS I can't get rid of :/

http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/6999/candlesyw2.jpg

Diabolos
09-04-2006, 01:27 PM
Hi All,

First time here, looked liked an interesting challenge. The renders are all very well done - good job.........

D,

How do you post the full image here?

jucaduarte
09-04-2006, 01:33 PM
Hi everyone, it's my first participation in this contest and here it's my render, I called "it's, time to go".

http://www.jucaduarte.com/galeria/render2.jpg

jD

LiquidStorm3D
09-04-2006, 08:44 PM
I'm right with ya Thykka. I'm trying SSS on the candles, to see how much better it would look, but Mental Ray is giving me some nasty artifacts on the candles. I tried increasing the lightmap size [up to 4000x4000] and that didn't seem to change anything. I also played with the radius and weight a bit and it was still the same thing. I also tried changing my raytrace shadow's radius back to 0 and that didn't help either.

Here is a comparison of what it looks like, left side is with SSS, right side is my translucent blinn.

http://liquidstorm.onestop.net/artifacts.jpg

I'm gonna try to change the falloff on the lights from cubic to quadratic and see if that changes anything. =/

ACamacho
09-04-2006, 10:16 PM
can you post a pic of your shading network. I got that too....used a different lightmap to reduce it. But I think upping the samples COULD help....dunno

silvia
09-05-2006, 01:37 AM
LiquidStorm3D, I got a similar effect when my back scattering was too high. You may want to try lowering it. Also, increase the samples rather than the size of the lightmap. By default I seem to remember it is set to 64, try up to 256.

LiquidStorm3D
09-05-2006, 01:45 AM
Here's my shader network for the SSS. I was able to reduce some of the white dots by reducing the radius on the front scattering, but it's still noticeable and I don't like it :banghead:

http://liquidstorm.onestop.net/network.jpg

I think I might just stick with my non-advanced system, lol. I was looking forward to using FG+GI and the SSS on this scene. :cry:

LiquidStorm3D
09-05-2006, 01:46 AM
LiquidStorm3D, I got a similar effect when my back scattering was too high. You may want to try lowering it. Also, increase the samples rather than the size of the lightmap. By default I seem to remember it is set to 64, try up to 256.


Thanks, I'll give that a shot :D

LiquidStorm3D
09-05-2006, 06:47 AM
Unfortunately, I was unable to troubleshoot that artifact problem with the SSS shader, so I went back to the blinn and adjusted some things to try and match what I was expecting to see with the other shader.

Here is my version 4, which now includes FG and GI. I also added an HDR image to add to the reflections and overall ambience of the scene. There is a weird color issue on the picture in the frame, not sure how that got there since Caustics was turned off, but I think it adds to the image. :) I'm not satisfied with the candles, but it'll do until I can get subsurface working right.

http://liquidstorm.onestop.net/LiquidStorm-CGTalk.LC6-4.jpg

Notice my 6 min post processing on the fire and the smoke. I think this'll be the last one from me, I wanna give the other challenges a shot too, the underwater one looks fun :D Good luck to all and I'll be checking to see people's progress :thumbsup:

jeremybirn
09-05-2006, 12:11 PM
LiquidStorm3D - Nice job! You have a nice sense of "solidness" in your image; if you look at some of the candles and the base sitting on the table, they really read as solid objects with a physical presence. It sounds like this is your final entry, and that's great. If I were giving nitpicky feedback as I usually do, I'd mention the brightness of indirect light effects like the translucency through the wax shouldn't usually be brighter than the direct lightsource that motivates them like the flames themselves. If the lens flare that makes the dot on Marilyn's nose is a post effect, then maybe you could take that off her. (PS - Thanks for sharing info about your shaders, too!)

jucaduarte - Welcome! That's a nice image! I wonder if that shadow of the person could be more subtle? Right now it seems very dark in places, especially on one of the candles it makes it go black. The flames look like they need work. Having a gradient on them is a good idea, but the whole flame should be a bright, glowing area, not like a solid surface with stripes on it.

Thykka - Nice job! Overall that scene makes a nice impression, things you've done in post are subtle enough that they work for me. The SSS is OK, if you could turn it down so it was more subtle that would be better. The plate could use a shadow or reflection or something to better connect it with the scene.

meanlebh - Nice scene! Hey, I know that guy! The reflection of the candle on his chest looks kindof like an Incredibles 2 logo... That's a well balanced scene, and even the fact that the shot is framed kindof wide doesn't bother me, it gives everything some room to breathe. The circles under each candle wouldn't be so pronounced if the shadows from the flames were as soft as they would be in real life.

M31 - That's a good start! It would be great if you could soften your shadows.

i.dyoel - Nice image! Overall the tones in your scene are working well. The whole scene complements the framed picture nicely. There's a very hard-edged shadow being cast onto the picture frame and a few other places that should be toned down or made softer. And the smoke needs work, it looks like it brightens everything seen through it.

Diabolos - Welcome! That's a nice scene, I like the goth look! To post full images instead of attachements you need to have some webspace where you can upload the images, then include the URL of the image in the [img] tag. Attaching an image like you did works fine though. The shadows and occlusion in your scene could be improved, if you look at the base of a candle holder touching the table, try to get it looking as if they are definately in contact.

padawan - Nice scene!

leovinci - Nice scene! I like the subtle shadow from the character behind the screen!

ACamacho - That's great! I don't know about the shadow of the candle without the flame, though, somehow that looks strange to me. (Maybe I need to shoot some test photographs of the shadows of lit candles?)

-jeremy

ACamacho
09-05-2006, 12:53 PM
ACamacho - That's great! I don't know about the shadow of the candle without the flame, though, somehow that looks strange to me. (Maybe I need to shoot some test photographs of the shadows of lit candles?)


The flames have their cast shadow off. It does look odd (people here at work keep reminding me of it :)). Should post an update soon...

About the SSS issue, to be honest I am not sure how to fix that specific problem. I did get that artifact however and I just ended up using a the "misss_lightmap_write" instead of the "misss_fast" one. Just connected the mentalrayTexture to the lightmap portion in that shader and the miss_simple_phen to the lightmap sample. That fixed my noise problem but I know some of the MR gurus here will scoff at this method. :)

StefanAlbertz
09-05-2006, 02:43 PM
Wonderful challenge - i just watched&read through some pages .. wonderful ressource and work!! Thanks for everyone participating and sharing - i´ll try to give final render for maya a run on it, but time is so limited .. hope i get some spare time :)

MasterZap
09-05-2006, 04:35 PM
Here's my shader network for the SSS. I was able to reduce some of the white dots by reducing the radius on the front scattering, but it's still noticeable and I don't like it :banghead:

If the sampling is dotty, your radius is too large (or you need more samples).

Note that both the front- and back- radii share their sample pattern and hence should, ideally, be of the same magnitude. If you are using a huge back radius but a small front radius, you will get a poor quality sampling in the front radius because it is using a sample pattern dictated by the back radius.

/Z

LiquidStorm3D
09-05-2006, 05:12 PM
If the sampling is dotty, your radius is too large (or you need more samples).

Note that both the front- and back- radii share their sample pattern and hence should, ideally, be of the same magnitude. If you are using a huge back radius but a small front radius, you will get a poor quality sampling in the front radius because it is using a sample pattern dictated by the back radius.

/Z

I actually lowered both the front and the back radii to about .05 and it was still giving bad results. After that I tried increasing the samples to 256, then 512, and eventually 1024, before I gave up on the setup. It's a weird problem, but there are other solutions, like going back to the blinn, hehe.


LiquidStorm3D - Nice job! You have a nice sense of "solidness" in your image; if you look at some of the candles and the base sitting on the table, they really read as solid objects with a physical presence. It sounds like this is your final entry, and that's great. If I were giving nitpicky feedback as I usually do, I'd mention the brightness of indirect light effects like the translucency through the wax shouldn't usually be brighter than the direct lightsource that motivates them like the flames themselves. If the lens flare that makes the dot on Marilyn's nose is a post effect, then maybe you could take that off her. (PS - Thanks for sharing info about your shaders, too!)

Thanks for the feedback, it's useful for fixing up the image later on :) The spot on Marilyn's nose is actually not a post addon, I believe it's the HDR file that caused it, I can simply remove it in Photoshop later on. The flames can be brighter to better match the illumination on the candles, and I can lower the mental ray scatter option for the candles. I'll fix it up in the future, but I wanna try the other challenges too.

MLoDY447
09-05-2006, 05:22 PM
ACamacho - very nice i like it :) good improvements guys :) very good:thumbsup:

JCBug
09-05-2006, 07:14 PM
@meanlebh - Hey, very good work, the choice of the "hero" in the frame is very funny,
it make me smile ! The candles lights maybe more present.

@Thykka - I love it, the ambiance is very good ! The rotation of camera is subtil
and the SSS is top. One of the best.

@BarberofCivil - Very good lightning, the colors are too yellow ?

@Triker - One of the best too, I'm very impressed. It's wonderful.

@LiquidStorm3D - Very clean, maybe add dust ?

There is my contribution - Cinema4D with little GI and AO. The SSS is not top.
The red is too much red and the drops are not real.
It's a tribute to Einstein, A-Bomb in the smoke, black humor.

JCBug

http://www.arctique.fr/production/Candles-JCB2.jpg

Diabolos
09-05-2006, 07:40 PM
-jeremy: first of all thanks! i'll try rendering with renders layers and get a better occlusion and shadow map - i didn't notice that, but you are right after looking at it - so thanks for the tip.

D,

meanlebh
09-05-2006, 11:40 PM
Thanks for the comments. Jeremy, you are right about the round shadows looking a bit odd, I will soften them up and perhaps reposition the lights slightly to lessen the effect. JCBug, glad you liked it, I too thought that perhaps the candle light was not evident enough, when/if I get a chance to go back to this, this will most likely be another one of the changes that I make.

@jcbug, I really like your scene. The wax on the table is a great idea, although it seems to me to read a little bit odd, mostly because the drops are so far away from the candles...perhaps if there were more drops running down the sides, and also some on the candle holders, it may help to tie it together a little bit better. I really like your picture frame, and also the creative shape of the smoke (doesn;t read exactly realistic, but I like it). great job overall, keep it up.

That goes for everyone, I wish i had time to go through each and every person's images, but alas I do not....but everyone has really submitted some awesome work here, I am so glad that these challenges have caught on as quickly as they have. great work!

-Brian

LukaStellwag
09-05-2006, 11:54 PM
How did you guys do the lighting ... Have you used point lights and set them into the flame?

Blooz
09-06-2006, 03:07 AM
Your candles are looking good blooz...nice translucence.

I would love to take the credit but i think you are referring to Acamacho's work.

jbingman
09-06-2006, 04:32 AM
How did you guys do the lighting ... Have you used point lights and set them into the flame?

I used area lights because the shadows are softer. I checked some test renders in LW to make sure I was getting similar coverage vs. point lights and I've found myself using area lights more and more often unless I'm doing a burst or something like that.

Not sure if Maya's lighting is like that tho (checked your portfolio, sweet pic btw) - so you may want to try some renders with just the desk, the folding wall, and a single candle with a light. That's how I set my scene up when I reloaded it on my edit suite at home, then duplicated settings for the rest of the candles and lights when I got to something I liked.

For your question on the placement (and to address a few PM q's) - here's a screenshot of placement and one of the gradients (notice the scale). The nulls are at the very top of the 'wax' and controls the candle's luminosity and translucency, as well as the transparency and diffuse of the flame. The lighting placement is higher up and it got there by doing some test renders with a similar candle on my desk and comparing the two.

(beware - I've got dual screens, so the image is big)

http://cgstuff.avision4you.net/padawan/jbingaman_cgmini_06_final_screenshot.jpg

I also remember reading somewhere (can't recall where, maybe it was something Leigh was doing) about 3d app textures defaulting to a wax type. So all I did was adjust diffuse, color, and set my SSS effect for the candles. And that was it. No extra shaders or whatnot. I tried using the SKA shader and didn't like the results, so went with gradients instead as I like a bit more control and I think it helped my render times.

Jay

neuromancer1978
09-06-2006, 07:29 AM
WOW! I have not been here for a little while, while working on my image, and I am impressed!

As for mine I spent a good amount of time testing out different rendering software other than Pixie or Iguana, I just was not getting the effect I wanted from Pixie and Iguana actually did not render anything even close to what I wanted, as impressive as this Maya intergrated renderer is it just was not what I was looking for. So using the Blender file someone posted earlier (forgot who it was - but thanks for the scene!!) I went and started to use renderers that could be exported from Blender. I tried Sunflow but that is much too hard to setup, so I ended up using the Kerkythea Global Illumination rendering software. After spending a few days figuring out K, I exported the scene and started to mess with the shaders. K, being a free renderer, does at times crash but very rarely.

This render is a WIP that I made tonight after the hours of testing. This has no AA, but it is a high photon and ray trace settings. There is slight hint of caustics too. And obviously I will have the candle flames visible too. There is not however any texture mapping (K does not have much for a procedural library), and the lighting I think is too bright. But as I type this I am rendering a more final version (ohh - and after 15 minutes it has gone to %1!!). The next one will have AA, and even higher settings. I am also testing the time to see exactly how long this will take. So anywho, here is my image and please feel free to comment.

http://animate1978.googlepages.com/candles_kerkythea_render001.jpg

LiquidStorm3D
09-06-2006, 07:56 AM
I haven't used blender myself, but I like to be on top of what's available... give this one a shot if you want some good results, it's also free and has some really good features.

http://www.yafray.org/

Maya's default renderer can be tamed with the proper settings, it's actually not too bad, but I personally prefer Mental Ray because of the speed and the obvious difference in options and quality.

You could also try this one... http://www.3dvirtualight.com/mlt/. It's a free plugin for Maya that works similar to Maxwell, from the looks of it. It's very slow at the moment, but it's still under development, by 1 guy, so we can't expect too much yet. I haven't tried it yet, but it's on my list of things to do.

Another option is Pov-Ray, which is another free program, kinda tricky to use because it requires some programming knowledge, but you can use Moray to get an interface for it. This is actually how I started 3D, no interface, just text editing and a render button, lol. It's a long ways since High School, but Maya is definitely my choice for everything now.

I did a quick test render of my scene with Maxwell and noticed some differences in the scene, mainly with the dropoff on my lights, so I think I'll switch them from Cubic to Quadratic and adjust them from there. I'll make a version 5 as my final one, especially now that I've noticed a few things with real candles [had some on today] and my fake ones, hehe. I'll include a breakdown on my next version as well.

EDIT* Anyone interested in the new for lighting/rendering, head over to http://fryrender.com/index.html It's a new renderer that claims to be physically accurate, like Maxwell, gallery looks real nice :)

neuromancer1978
09-06-2006, 08:13 AM
I haven't used blender myself, but I like to be on top of what's available... give this one a shot if you want some good results, it's also free and has some really good features.

http://www.yafray.org/

Maya's default renderer can be tamed with the proper settings, it's actually not too bad, but I personally prefer Mental Ray because of the speed and the obvious difference in options and quality.

You could also try this one... http://www.3dvirtualight.com/mlt/. It's a free plugin for Maya that works similar to Maxwell, from the looks of it. It's very slow at the moment, but it's still under development, by 1 guy, so we can't expect too much yet. I haven't tried it yet, but it's on my list of things to do.

Another option is Pov-Ray, which is another free program, kinda tricky to use because it requires some programming knowledge, but you can use Moray to get an interface for it. This is actually how I started 3D, no interface, just text editing and a render button, lol. It's a long ways since High School, but Maya is definitely my choice for everything now.

I did a quick test render of my scene with Maxwell and noticed some differences in the scene, mainly with the dropoff on my lights, so I think I'll switch them from Cubic to Quadratic and adjust them from there. I'll make a version 5 as my final one, especially now that I've noticed a few things with real candles [had some on today] and my fake ones, hehe. I'll include a breakdown on my next version as well.

I don't use Yafray, for some reason it just not like this computer and it always crashes. As for Metropolight I just hadn't gotten to that at the time, and I had already got all involved with K. But yeah that was downloaded (I think I ended up with a dozen or so renderers). I think I like Kerkythea mostly because it has it's own 3D engine so you can move the objects, lights and cameras around without having to re-export the data to XML. As for MentalRay, I would but everyone uses it. I think that was my biggest reason for using a different renderer for these challenges, offer something else amongst the usuals. They kick ass, but it's just something I like to do. Strange but it makes sense to me :P.

POV-Ray was going to be my next test actually, but I wanted to get the image done before the challenge ended :D. I spent several weeks testing like 8 different softwares, each had it's own learning curve. So sticking with one right now that has had the most effort on seems to make better sense.

My god though this render is taking it's sweet time - been rendering for like well over an hour now and it's only at %18. Long night ahead of me...

LiquidStorm3D
09-06-2006, 08:23 AM
Haha, I feel ya. Maxwell renders take forever to look right, I usually just set it for 2 hours and just let it go, check on it here n there to see what it's doing.

I'm the same way with testing new things and trying to be different, but for time purposes, I want to spread out and be able to work on the other challenges too, so Mental Ray gives me predictable results. I could try Maxwell, but render time would make me fall asleep for every lighting challenge. I wish I had Renderman, then I could learn and test as I do some of these scenes.

What's the specs on your system? Sounds like either the render software isn't really up to par, or maybe your system is chuggin along at a snail's pace :argh: I fix computers, so maybe I could do some :wip: to it and fix it up :D

HowieFarkes
09-06-2006, 08:53 AM
Hi there everyone,

my first post on CGTalk. I saw this challenge and just had to have a go.

http://homepage.mac.com/jormstrom/cgtalk/lc6_01.jpg

This is a fairly quick render done in Carrara 5.1 - the antialiasing and object accuracy are set quite low and a few textures are still either not done or not quite right. But I'm fairly happy with the candles and the flames especially. The SSS on the plate needs work (too bright). The texture on the screen is definately not final...

What else do people think needs some obvious work done to it ?

PS. The puppy is my dog when she was aged just 10 weeks.

Danry
09-06-2006, 12:07 PM
First of all i want to thanks for that wonderfull competition.
Here is my attempt. I tried to make a mystical atmosphere of candle illumination.I render these in mental ray. For that green smoky atmosphere i use parti volume shader, one omni light with hdri project map.
http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/786/greenpx6.jpg

LukaStellwag
09-06-2006, 01:17 PM
First of all i want to thanks for that wonderfull competition.
Here is my attempt. I tried to make a mystical atmosphere of candle illumination.I render these in mental ray. For that green smoky atmosphere i use parti volume shader, one omni light with hdri project map.
http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/786/greenpx6.jpg

I like this image, nice rendering - You've created a great atmoshphere. Can you tell us something about the light setup? Just the SSS seems to be a bit too strong at the edges. I guess that's Maya?

ACamacho
09-06-2006, 02:02 PM
@ Couch: Very nice mood! Something different which is very good. I do agree that the candle edges are a bit strong but I think it could go either way.

JCBug
09-06-2006, 03:43 PM
@mswertfager - Nices flames, and SSS - It's strange, like gas.

@ChrRambow - Very good job, nice ambiance, it's wonderful. The flames needs
maybe to be more luminous.

@ACamacho - Nice picture, it's a pleasant ambiance.

@Melvil - Nice reflections, I like your materials and the sliver ambiance. Very nice,
I love it ! Maybe you can finalize the incense sticks.

@meanlebh - Thanks for your comments.

As you proposed, I try to put wax at the base of the candles
and drops running down. Is it better ?

JCBug

http://www.arctique.fr/production/Candles-JCB3.jpg

Danry
09-06-2006, 05:26 PM
I like this image, nice rendering - You've created a great atmoshphere. Can you tell us something about the light setup? Just the SSS seems to be a bit too strong at the edges. I guess that's Maya?

I render it in 3ds max. The lighting setup is simple: final gather, one omni (raytraced shadows) in the top of the scene, the hdri (grace.hdr) on the color slot of the light. I place big cube on the scene with parti volume shader (noise on scatter color) to make haze effect. And final touch was glare shader.

jucaduarte
09-06-2006, 06:05 PM
@jcbug your image are great! congrats

Jeremy, I undestand and the shadow can be more subtle, I'll do this.

thx

jD

neuromancer1978
09-06-2006, 06:20 PM
Well it only took 3 hours and 25 minutes for this one. Course then I had settings maxed out for it, just to see. So this render has textures mapped to some of the objects. The picture is actually of a friend of mine, playing live at some club.

I will most likely go and redo this, maybe use different materials or mess with the lighting.

http://animate1978.googlepages.com/candles_kerkythea_render003.jpg

BarberofCivil
09-06-2006, 10:42 PM
I
Another option is Pov-Ray, which is another free program, kinda tricky to use because it requires some programming knowledge, but you can use Moray to get an interface for it. This is actually how I started 3D, no interface, just text editing and a render button, lol. It's a long ways since High School, but Maya is definitely my choice for everything now.


I use POVRay for all my renders (megaPOV actually, a patch of POV,for HDR support). While Moray can help withe the modelling, I generally wouldn't find it of much use for lighting and texturing, which these challenges focus on: lighting primarily, with texture due to it's interaction with the scene lighting, while the modelling already (mostly) completed.
But once you get to understand how to use POV, it can be very good at getting the lighting and texturing you want, but it can take time (I've been using it for ~12 years now and still learning what I can do and how).

LiquidStorm3D
09-07-2006, 03:50 AM
I use POVRay for all my renders (megaPOV actually, a patch of POV,for HDR support). While Moray can help withe the modelling, I generally wouldn't find it of much use for lighting and texturing, which these challenges focus on: lighting primarily, with texture due to it's interaction with the scene lighting, while the modelling already (mostly) completed.
But once you get to understand how to use POV, it can be very good at getting the lighting and texturing you want, but it can take time (I've been using it for ~12 years now and still learning what I can do and how).

Yea, the program has a ton of features that you can adjust, and the render quality is definitely nice to play with. Is the HDR support good on it, haven't tried it yet? I've used the radiosity within the program, which actually does pretty well without having to modify too many options. I haven't used it in so long, probably forgot how the code is set up. I worked in Pov-Ray for about 3 years before I went to school and learned Maya.

vtcgman
09-07-2006, 05:01 AM
Hi all, congratulations on some great images! I thought I would chime in with my first semi-completed lighting challenge. There's still some work to do, especially on the flames and candleholders. I also can't seem to get the grain out of my SSS shader despite cracking up the samples to 250 and setting the lightmap size to 800x800. Enough of my complaints, enjoy the image. I look forward to your comments!
http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l238/vtcgman/candleFull.jpg

wilhelm
09-07-2006, 07:41 AM
´@Jeremy : thx for your coments, which I tried to translate into this revised version of my scene.


Any other comments are welcome

HowieFarkes
09-07-2006, 08:11 AM
Worked some more on my textures. Also now using ambient occlusion instead of GI (1/4 the time and no noticeable reduction in quality). This took about 25 min to render.

http://homepage.mac.com/jormstrom/cgtalk/lc6_02.jpg

lazzhar
09-07-2006, 12:01 PM
Hey nice works here. I thought to add another render:
http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/2347/candles01vv9.jpg

LukaStellwag
09-07-2006, 12:11 PM
Actually this is pretty weird ... I'm very new to Maya but I've been working with 3dsmax for 2 years - But allmost everything I could do in Max in a few minutes takes in Maya the double amount of time.

This rendering rendered 16 (!!!) Minutes, what did I do wrong? The scene has 5 Point Lights over the candles with an intensy of 10, a linear decay and raytraced shadows with a light radius of 10, 30 shadow rays and a rey depth limit of 2. Is it because of those 30 samples?

Materials are coming up next ;).

edit: ok, it was the shadow rays ;).

http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/5697/wtfpn4.jpg

JCBug
09-07-2006, 12:25 PM
@jucaduarte - Thanks for your good comment !

@lazzhar - Great picture, cool ambiance and light color, well done !

Perhaps the flames : if the "exposure" is slow, the flames must be hightly
luminous, and there should be a lensflare. If the exposure
is quick, we can see the blue-orange gradient of the flame and its transparency.
You can see Jeremy's photographs on page 3.
(please, excuse my poor english)

TillAurousseau
09-07-2006, 02:05 PM
Hey everyone,

Being impressed by the quality of the works (:thumbsup:), i gave it a little try. Here's the result. Used c4d with final render, GI, some omnis and spots, and a bit of post work in photoshop, for the escher trick for example...
Great challenge anyway, used lots of stuff i usually don't work with, learned a lot... thank's a lot jeremy, and courage fo those still working on it...

http://till.aurousseau.com/LC6_1.jpg

jeremybirn
09-07-2006, 02:26 PM
justemoi -

That's beautiful! If there's an area that could be improved, it's the "readability" of the image (by how well things "read", I mean how well they stand out with enough contrast to be well defined) For example, the top of the vase is just the same tone as the screen behind it, so they almost meld together. A little kick of light there, or making the background a little darker, would help alot. It's a similar issue with how the middle candle overlaps with the candles behind it, sliding the camera to the side a bit would visually separate them.

I like the ornamental textures you have on things. The use of occlusion is a bit heavy, but somehow it works well for this scene -- even if it's not realistic, the softness adds to the feel of the image.

The only surface that's a bit distracting is the plate, it seems to be reflecting an unmotivated bright yellow light. If you want to do the "recursive" render like this without the photoshop work, you could set it up so that the texture mapped into the picture frame is the previous animation frame to the one being rendered, then render it as an animated sequence. You'll need to give it an old image as frame zero to start off, but then each frame will go one level deeper into the recursion, and by the time it runs overnight it'll be far enough to resemble an infinite tunnel of images within images, and it'll even appear correctly in reflections.

-jeremy

jeremybirn
09-07-2006, 02:52 PM
@Littleluk - Good start so far. Try test-rendering just 1 candle at a time to really get the glow around the flame and the pool of light around it perfect.

@lazzhar - My god! That demon-child is going to give me nightmares! Lighting looks good. I think the candle light could be warmer, or at least less grenn in places. And maybe the lighting on the vase could be swapped left-right so the brighter rim shows up on the other side?

@HowieFarkes - That's a great scene, really solid work. If there were tweaks, I might try a slightly lighter black in the black wood on the background screen, and slightly tone down the reflective metal candle holders.

@vtcgman - Great. I agree the candle holders could be toned down. Maybe the vase could be better defined as well?

@neuromancer1978 - That looks good, definately needs some balancing of the tones though. I don't know what that "beard" of darkness near the top of some of the candles is?

@JCBug - Great scene! The wax is OK, although it looks like a different color than the candles. I really like the creative smoke there. I'm confused about the vase, it looks cool but I can't tell if it's supposed to be transparent or just a reflective black material or what?

-jeremy

jeremybirn
09-07-2006, 03:00 PM
@Wilhelm - Nice! The subtle work on the flames and the smoke is great. The pictures are so dark, and the reflections so bright, that it almost looks like pictures of candles. Hope that can be fixed. Maybe the specular highlights on the candle holders could be toned down a lot also?

@Couch - That's a great image, with the ghostbusters green look! I agree the edges of the candles, especially the bottom edge, could be toned down, although if you do that you'll need to check that they still read well and have enough contrast against the background.

-jeremy

neuromancer1978
09-08-2006, 01:37 AM
@neuromancer1978 - That looks good, definately needs some balancing of the tones though. I don't know what that "beard" of darkness near the top of some of the candles is?

-jeremy

Yeah I have no clue why the candle's translucency is giving that effect, it has been bugging me for days now. I wouldn't have any idea how to get rid of it either, so I might just have to change camera angles so it's out of picture. As for the tones, yeah needs work. I saved another render in hdr format so I can mess with it, but I think I might need to rework my lighting again.