View Full Version : help with indoor lighting...

01 January 2003, 10:34 AM
hi... ive got an interior scene that i want to add more realism too but i figure its my lighting that will help most, only picked up LW 7.5 again about 2 months ago after years of not touching 3d so please be kind :) but i wasnt to scrap my lighting and start again, any useful setups someone can help me use?

\tried like mad and cant seem to get the midday indoor lighting right...\



01 January 2003, 12:23 PM
In my opinion you really need a bright yellow key light (from a window). This would give dynamics in the color range and should give some nice shadows also...
Try this and post again :)

01 January 2003, 04:50 AM
Hey cuse,

To add loads more realism, you should probably go a little further with your shaders/textures. It doesn't look like you have any sort of bump map on anything. Almost everything has some sort of discontinuity in its surface. (but be sure not to over-do the bumping) I'm sure you've heard this quite a bit, but get some reference photos and compare. Or just take a look around at your own coffee table, chairs and especially walls. Grime exsits everywhere, even on perfectly new things. The fabric on the chairs would be stretched a little further on the corners as it would on the flatter areas, etc.

As far as lighting goes:
First of all, everything kind of looks like they're floating (especially the coffee table). This may mean getting rid of all ambient light, darkening the shadows, etc.

Secondly, it seems like there isn't really a good light source. If it's indoors, then the lighting would probably be coming from the overhead lights. Thus, you'd need to change your key light to match the position. But if you're going for a dark room look, with all of the illumination coming from a window, then you may want to use a rectangular light (not necessarily an area light) and position it such that it would simulate the window, or you could just create a wall behind the camera and actually cut a window out of it, and have the light cast a shadow.

Also, you have to keep in mind that if it is midday, then all of your light coming in from the window would be bounced light off from another building or whatever is outside the window (if the room is on the north side of the building then it would probably come from clouds, or the blue sky, etc.) and there wouldn't really be any sort of direct illumination. To acheive this, you may need to use a series of point lights for a more diffuse look.

I guess basically, in general, there needs to be more contrast in the image. Especially between light and shadow. Right now the light is seemingly coming from almost directly behind the camera (a little to the right and below). But most of the light is hitting on the left side of the room. It also kind of looks like the light is pretty much parallel with the table, which is kind of a strange spot for a window to be.

I hope this helps somewhat.

Good luck with the image:thumbsup:


01 January 2003, 05:16 AM
To add to what these fine gentlemen (and ladies ???) have already written i would say this and i might add that i am only an animator, not a lighting TD, so take it for what it's worth:

At noon the key light (the sun) is high, casting shadows that hit the ground, not the wall (as it is in your image) Shadows are short at midday and quite hard, so you'll need to lighten up that floor so you can see them. Shadows should never be black either. There is always some color in them, i don't know how you do this in LW, but i assign actual colors in Slim that are right side split complimentary. A shift black toward purple is used in traditional paintings and works well in CG too.

These are the light colors that represent midday (as we use them):

Yellow / Green
Red / Orange
Yellow / Orange
A soft Cyan (add a touch of white)
Greener Cyan (simply shift more in the direction of green)
a soft mossy green that is a little desaturated.

I don't have access to a paint program to give you the RGB specifics, but that is a start.

Use a strong defining Key light, then build the rest of your lights in layers, adding these subtle hues to balance out the picture.

Try this web site for some non-app specific lighting tuts:

Good luck, and keep us posted with updates! Nice work considering your absence.

01 January 2003, 01:11 PM
hey guys... thanks for the feedback, gonna try some updates now, here the lighting i was changing (ugh) experiments with different 3 point lighting with spotlights etc... *oh and ambient lighting has always been 5%*

let me know your thoughts cause its really getting me down, also if i upload my scene and models (not big at all really) does anyone want to show me how its done? ive done so many lighting tutorials but would like to open up an example on MY scene to understand/anyone???

thanks again


01 January 2003, 01:44 PM
thought i would attach one more just to show you how the lighting in the whole room spreads... (the wall is meant to be blue by the way)

thanks again


01 January 2003, 02:37 AM

you have look to scale of objects
and read more bake shadows!!...

01 January 2003, 04:48 AM
why so much reflection in the wall?? Just wondering, no comment on if it is right or wrong.

01 January 2003, 09:36 AM
well im trying (trying!) to achieve this for the wall... would love feedback on how to improve that as well :)
also, the scale of objects is correct??? maybe its the camera angle? i know it might not be exactly perfect :p but theyre the right scale.

oh and i read up on baking shadows, dont really follow, dont understand them!


01 January 2003, 11:38 AM
oh by the way i have another post up in the texturing & surfacing ( forum so any help there as well would be cool!

lighting update-started to tell the spots not to hit certain parts of desks and walls etc, anyone got any thoughts?


01 January 2003, 03:18 AM
well i think one of your main problems is that you have some spots in there wich are way too me they nearly look like they're glowing themselves:cool: ...they make the things on the table nearly a first approach i'd switch out those lights and add some easy fill light in the back of the room (behind those tables) to get the tables more contrast...when the testrender is also someway lightened bad...'i'd apply some good old trial and error method...wether you render every single light for itself and have a look on what it actually does or you give every light another color to see the effects the lights have against each other...i added your pic with those too bright spots circeled...give it a the many lights are in this scene anyway? and switch the ambient completely of or if not possible turn the color to black ;) .....happy trial and error :bounce:

01 January 2003, 10:32 AM
thanks for the feedback!actually i had started to fix the fact that the lights are so bright yesterday... i had done what you suggested and changed one of my views to the selected light so i could understand what its effecting when i place it there and then one by one changed the colour to red to see where it is actually effecting...

the spots individually are fine, but when one light touches where another is, it gets too intense and burns that area, i started to deselect certain objects from certain lights so that this is decreased but get the effects attached :
anyway, let me know your thoughts on hwo to improve this, thanks so much...


01 January 2003, 12:54 PM
A pretty good method that the likes of the mill use is to render 1 frame of the scene using bad antialiasing and global illumination - Set up some lights where the physical lights should be inside and put a bright light source outside the window - When you get the lights balanced so it looks realistic and doesn't burn out too much then use this GI image as a guide to where all of the light and dark areas are - Then try and recreate this with area lights.

Heres a good tutorial (admitedly for max but you'll get the idea of how it works) -

As for the burning out then you'll have to look at using proper falloff and attenuation for the lights. The problem with using lights in 3d is that they don't bounce so you end up getting really bright areas and really dark areas and when you turn up the lights to get rid of the dark areas, the bright bits start burning out :/ - You'll have to use the falloff setting of the lights in LW to restrict the illumination to certain areas of the scene. No real world light keeps its full energy - as it travels through the atmosphere it gets weakened by hitting off objects - Default settings for 3d lights don't do this so it makes things look a bit poo...

01 January 2003, 01:12 PM
haha, well thanks, cause i had followed most 3point lighting systems i didnt set a falloff to the spots so im sure thatll get rid of the burn but i just cant believe how many lights it would take to fill a room with. anyway, lets see what i can do? :)

thanks again


01 January 2003, 01:46 PM
yeah man around with the falloff some more...if it doesn't work ....then give every light another color(blue, red, green and so on) and render them all together...then you'll probably see which light actually does the bright many lights are you using until now? perhaps it'd be a good approach to delete them all and to begin with a new light setup...the first attempt on just this scene which i put the circels in (cannot assume more 'coz i don't know the complete scene) would on my side some basic 3-p-light-system with the fill-light under the tables in the back of the room...the others planted by intuition according to the biz as usual attempt and some bright light from outside the window, all with a certain degree of falloff...geez....summa summarum...4 lights ....wich gives you some faster control....because until now it looks like you have too many lights in there what makes the situation no thing better:wavey:

01 January 2003, 03:54 PM
well, this is my top view of the area... so you can understand a little better how ive got things placed... let me know of theres anything im doing wrong by the way (from immediate view:))

aerialplan (

and theres 18spots and 1point light outside, let me know your thoughts... i already started the lighting from scratch 3 times now so more input is very appreciated, thanks.


01 January 2003, 05:49 PM
just one thing ....haven't you thought about placing modeled lamps in there...that'll make it more realistic and you've got some fix points on wich ou can relate while if you're placing about 30 lamps in the ceiling (like on the pic you've shown us)...and group them to get some fast setups regarding falloff you'd probably get better results...well and regarding your bright spots, it seems like you've only got them where 3 lightsources cross their path...check it out

01 January 2003, 06:24 PM
well desk lamps arnt really used for a place like this as all the lights are on or none i guess but its a good idea... could use floor lamps and i did wanna add some walls lights that do burn the wall slighty.. tips for those at all???

thanks so much


01 January 2003, 08:34 PM
i think to start with just turn all your light intensities down, the entire room looks very overblown right now. crank everything down to maybe 50% of what it is right now and test render and see how it looks. then slowly increment up as needed. it'll get there, just keep experimenting :)


01 January 2003, 09:07 AM
try setting an ambient light as well at like 20% and turning down all your other lights..

01 January 2003, 09:23 AM
hey thanks fig... was getting annoying with constantly bad lighting but ill try that today, kabab, thought that ambient light should be 5% or lower? dont we hate ambient light?hehe



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