View Full Version : Night lighting

06 June 2012, 11:43 AM
I'm working on a portfolio piece at the moment, and in the middle of it got an idea for a second, version I'd like to do with some differences. I'm using Max 9 and Vray.

The background is simple. A graveyard type scene with the moon shining through the tree. But I want the main objects in the foreground to show clearly and without discoloration. I say discoloration because up til now, to emulate night, I would just tint my lights Alice blue, as in movie set lighting. But that would discolor the objects I want to be seen clearly, so the problem, for me is how to set up lights to accomplish what I want. Is it still 3 point lighting? Any tint coming from the background light ala the moon? If the blue creates rim lighting, that's okay. But I have to have the foreground clear.

Lighting is a weak point for me at the best of times. I struggle with it. Night lighting is even harder. And I haven't seen any lighting tutorials that deal with night lighting, so I'm hoping I can find a few ideas from the folks here.

Thanks ahead of time.

06 June 2012, 11:50 AM
I apologize for posting twice. I made a mistake. I'm ill and on medication at the moment. I couldn't find a way to delete the post.

07 July 2012, 06:18 AM
Hey there!

For night lighting, or any lighting actually, you don't need to feel like you need to use '3 point lighting'. It's going by the wayside a bit and was popular with character portraits, as well as for learning principles of lighting. DO NOT feel like you have to follow certain methods, that will lock you in a creative box. Do whatever you need to do to make the image beautiful.

My workflow for vray is simple and effective.

In this case, if the moon is in the back, look through your camera and line up your key light to match the moon's angle and position. One great way to find your key lights sweet spot, is to create a layer override with a vraymaterial, just leave it grey. Doing that, you can run RT and move around your keylight and use real time rendering to quickly find the angle that matches the moon and works best on your objects. You'll be able to see quickly and clearly the affect your key light will have. Find a good spot that shapes your objects not only with interesting light, but interesting shadows. Flat lighting is your enemy, and draws zero emotional response from a viewer. Oh also, for a key light in vray, use a vrayrectangle light, set it to invisible and no decay. Never use maya lights in vray, or maya materials, they are bad habits that will only hurt you.

Once you've found your key, remove the layer override and play with the intensity against your shaders. Once you have a strong key, if you want to go the GI route, even if you don't, turn it on with IR for primary set to very low, and LC for secondary. LC is nice because you'll get a quick preview of your lighting before rendering even starts, saving you more time.

A good key + GI will often get you really nice results, granted your shaders and textures are up to par.

One thing to remember, i see this a lot, don't use your diffuse maps for your bump/spec/reflection maps, it makes objects look flat and cheesy. Drop them in photoshop/nuke, kill the saturation, and get some good maps.

On your reflective/glossy materials, always use the fresnel checkbox. fresnel is on virtually EVERYTHING in the real world, not just shiny stuff, keep that in mind.

I would say play with that....shaders and good textures will add more to your lighting than the most beautiful and creative lighting setup, trust me....bad shaders kill art.

Let me know if you need more help!

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07 July 2012, 06:18 AM
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