View Full Version : Lighting Challenge #16: The Lighthouse

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09 September 2008, 01:36 AM
Please enjoy reading through this thread as an archive, but it is closed to new posts. You can still download the old models and also post your entry in order to ask for feedback here (

The challenge here is to light this lighthouse, including the light from the lighthouse's own beam, and whatever surroundings nature might be throwing at it.

This challenge is over. The deadline was Monday October 27, 2008. However, the scene is still available for download here:


The models include the lighthouse and some simple surroundings. This scene was modeled by Juan Carlos Silva. Please credit him for his work if you use images of this scene on the web or in your portfolio or showreel.

The gallery is now on-line, so you can browse some of the amazing entries posted in this thread:

Keep up the good work everyone!


09 September 2008, 02:45 AM
Swweeeet I'm on this like a fat kid on a twinky!

09 September 2008, 04:59 AM
Another excellent scene!
Thanks Jeremy and Juan Carlos Silva of course!

09 September 2008, 05:44 AM
Definitely looking forward to this one!

09 September 2008, 07:53 AM
oh great idea. A lot of potential. I can almost see the result now.
Great Job!
Hope I got the time:)

09 September 2008, 10:49 AM
Hi ... we got a new scene here !! special thanks to juan for modeling.. i work last night on this ,the shader are default except fresnel , i did some work on the quartz light .. pretty basic setup post in PS

09 September 2008, 02:00 PM
wow nice one leotril. :thumbsup:

09 September 2008, 02:57 PM
hi jeremy sir,here is my 1 hour setup rendered in maya software.this image has occulusion pass time i will post my image with texture.hope you will like it.:bounce:

09 September 2008, 02:59 PM
Leotril - Yeah! First post! It's amazing how much a little grass and sky does to the scene!

jasvant - Great start! Nice colors in the sky!

We have more file formats on the download page now:

Thanks to Samo (Alvaro, who also has done so much modeling for other challenges) for the Blender version.
Thanks to dboydesign we now have a 3DS and a Max 2009 files on the download page!
Thanks to mesutcapkin we now have a Cinema 4D file on the download page!
If someone wants to help support any other popular package, please send me the file to host, or PM me to arrange for how to upload it.



09 September 2008, 03:17 PM
nice ! ! !

i will try this scene soon as possible, great idea with many possibility of moods !

thanks to Jeremy and Juan Carlos Silva for your work...

good luck everyone, and have fun !

09 September 2008, 04:01 PM
w00t! Another outdoor challenge! Thanks, Juan and Jeremy.

This'll keep me busy between now and a few weeks, when classes begin.
Must...restrain myself...until after work.

09 September 2008, 04:17 PM
Hey guys!

Heres my first pre-not-even-alpha-yet version :) (

09 September 2008, 05:18 PM
Kewl scene, i m on it right away !

09 September 2008, 06:24 PM
Awesome! I love lighthouses! Thanks Jeremy and Juan! Can't wait to see what people come up with for this!

For anyone familiar with the area, I am trying a Bar Harbor themed environment (Lots of Fog). trying to mix in a touch of those black&white cards with a touch or 2 of color.. Here's a first crack at it...

C&C's always appreciated!

09 September 2008, 07:13 PM
basic sky and default matrials. But I like the glare fall off.will work on clouds, light, and water next. (

09 September 2008, 07:14 PM
Subtle.. Quick...minimal stuff done to the original Geo...

3dsmax +FR and some Zdepth Fog.
Combustion comp.

09 September 2008, 09:11 PM
This one has simple textures on buildings...
the land and cliffs are painted projections from Camera perspective...

The background is hijacked and manipulated photo found on a google image search.

I like to move quickly so.. I just did a straight beauty pass... and only a Zdepth pass to integrate this... there is just Color Correction, Z fog, slight vignetting, and some lens glow on the lighthouse... and some liberal use of sharpening :)

09 September 2008, 09:28 PM
wow nice grass man!
Love the dof in the left.

09 September 2008, 03:41 AM
I like to do stills that look like they are frames snipped out of the middle of an action sequence.
There is no moving version of this.... but it would be a cool shot ... I feel.... :)

For Speed... no lighting passes.. just beautyBack, beautyLighthouse/terrain, beautyGuy, beautyCar, and beautyWindshield layers.. comped.. and Color corrected together
Dashboard is borrowed model.... The guy with the guns is a game character...blurred for his own protection. :) -- Who is that in the rear view mirror?

09 September 2008, 06:23 AM
This is my first test with Bryce 6 :

09 September 2008, 08:48 AM

1st shot - This reminds me of a game I used to play as a little kid, King Quest's 4. It was an adventure game made up of different "painted" backgrounds for every area you could walk to. Each area was it's own painting and gave off a different mood. There was one area I was afraid to go. It was a foggy forest where trees would snatch you up if you got too close and they stood at the foot of a winding mountain path where the witch lived. It sucked because it was so close to the safe happy elves :D. I was too young and naive to know that video games couldn't jump out of the screen at you, so I felt like I was really treading on dangerous grounds and this brought that feeling back.

The grass looks so soft like you want to run your hands through it. At the same time, it gives me that foggy old London feeling. It's conflicting, safe yet eerie. Lighthouses always seem welcoming to me and then you look at the rotting trees in the void on the left. It gives off a buyer beware feeling. It's really intriguing. My only crit is that the bit of red coming off the lighthouse top doesn't seem to play well with the grayish blue and yellow. It threw the mood off a bit when I glanced at it. Otherwise, damn sir!

2nd shot - Wow! This looks you took a photograph of a lush rocky cliff, developed it, taped it to a canvas, and seamlessly painted in the lighthouse and background. The colors are so relaxing. I wish I could live in that little house just to wake up to that. There are a couple things I wanted to mention, though.

The depth of field looks nice up front but seems to focus in on more than one range, hurting the seamless flow of the piece. It focuses up close, goes out of focus as you go towards the lighthouse, then starts to regain focus or simply not drop off anymore. The fence also stands out oddly as if it's not supposed to be there which seems to be related to the DoF issue. The first couple fence segments in the lower middle seems to be hovering as well as the in front of the lighthouse. I'm really looking forward to seeing updates of this.

3rd shot - I don't think Tequila is going to be able to dive out of the way of that one, even with slow-mo ;) The sun reflecting off of the lighthouse looks great. Oddly enough, it was the first thing my eye was attracted to. The warning sign looks a bit out of place as it doesn't seem to be affected by the sunlight at that angle.

Great work in such a short time. Can't wait to see more.

09 September 2008, 02:21 PM
hi jeremy sir,here is an update.CsC are welcome.:arteest:

09 September 2008, 02:33 PM
grabennouitch - Good start! Keep going!

mmoses00 - Terrific! Great takes on the scene, and wonderful comps! The plate-mapping in Morning Light is terrific! I love the misty morning render. Sorry the original tree model wasn't better, but it's nice to see it sitting on a little hill with some grass on it. The last one really captures the feeling of a shakey-cam Born Identity type film. For the guy with the gun, I know how tricky it is to get a recycled 3D person worked into a comp with realistic elements present too, and you managed to make something quite presentable in your first pass. I wonder if his hair could catch more of the sunlight, so the edge between the hair and the sky on the screen-left side went bright instead of dark? Also, if the gun could be at least as specular and rimmy as the hand holding it, then it could look more sun-lit. I'd love to put a cooler fill-side kick or specular on the guy too, just to keep the dark parts of him from going too flat.

austriangeek - Welcome! Good start, keep going!

psycosven - Great start! That's a nice composition. You've given yourself a little work bringing the level of detail on that fence up to foreground quality, but it'll be worth it I'm sure.

jmBoekestein - Great start!

jasvant - The grass adds a lot! It looks a little too painted, as if it could use finer blades or self-shadowing, but the overall color is good. Keep going with the texture and shadows...


09 September 2008, 03:02 PM
Thx for the crits!.... noted...noted...noted.... and agreed on all counts. I had been slashing thru these yesterday, and I fudged some DOF, also wanted to work the textures for the lighthouse better..... that red was a little out of place for the environment lighting around it.
On the action sequence, what would probably happen is I would check frames on the timeline thru a moving shot to see if the char was picking up those kind of details you mentioned Jeremy, then adjust accordingly... but only after I knew it needed it. Agreed on those spec/highlight cues though.. he does go flat.. And also... in my minds eye.. what is taking place is that the guy with the gun is running towards the camera... as the driver frantically backs up and spins out of control, again.. you would not tell from just a still.
For the record.. these were really fast, single omnidirectional light setups...and single color global illumination "filling in the rest".
I really appreciated the comments! My next try will be a much closer shot, hopefully getting the lighthouse glass and surfaces to come thru .... in the rain.

09 September 2008, 04:10 PM
Hi all!

Ok finally I had some time. Im not trying to achieve a realistic render on this one. Im more trying to achieve a more cartoony/semi realistic style.
Render engine is vray.
Need some glow around the moon and the lights. Only a render with no corrections.

09 September 2008, 05:15 PM
:pSecond test
and bravos has all of superb pictures :applause:

09 September 2008, 05:49 PM
What a brilliant idea for a challenge! I love seeing all the different interpretations of the challeneges. Good job guys and thanks for the new challenge :)

09 September 2008, 06:26 PM
okay here is my second version.

The lighthouse itself is almost finished. When its done, I'll work on the ground and the rest ;)

09 September 2008, 03:57 AM
hello jeremy sir,thanx for comments.i rendered grass as a seprate pass in maya software and other elements rendered in mental ray with same production settings.when i put my grass into composition i found grass was looking too much sharp so grass anti-alising was not matching with other elements.i gave little amount of guassian blur in grass for matching the anti-alising.i think thats why it,s looking painted.sir,could you tell me how to match anti-alising
of maya software renderer and mental ray

09 September 2008, 12:41 PM
Hi all,

I am a new user so be gentle. I am using Max 2009 with mental ray. I used lume landscape for the ground, and a blend of metallic-rusted metallic material for the tower. I added fog effect and glare effect in the camera. Also lit up the house. :lightbulb

09 September 2008, 02:31 PM
hi jeremy sir,here is a little bit improved grass still looking painted?:hmm:

09 September 2008, 03:32 PM
jasvant - Grass is better, but it still looks like very sharp triangles. Maybe more blades, a little thinner at the base and a little wider at the tip, and make sure the self-shadowing and specularity are working? Keep going with the texturing. The glass could use a little more reflection in the lighthouse, and needs a lot more reflection on the windows of the house.

I think MR does a better job of rendering fur than the maya software renderer, so I'd do the grass in MR. In terms of MR settings, changing the Fur Shader to "Volume" (in the Fur Render Settings window) uses a shader less similar to the Maya Software one, but more efficient. If you use dmap shadows be sure to edit the Shadow Map Overrides in the MR tab of the light to boost the number of samples, or switch to a "Detail Shadow Map" instead of Regular, which is even better for fur shadowing and might not need extra samples. Of course with MR you also have the option of using raytraced shadows, which aren't an option for fur shadowing in the maya software renderer, maybe for a still like this raytracing could work well, even though for big productions people usually avoid raytracing against fur.

PakosM - Welcome! Nice shader on the ground. I wish I could see the water more, that part of the image looks blank. In terms of composition, lining-up the lighthouse with those two islands right behind it is a bit awkward, maybe move the camera or the islands. For the ligthing on the environment, try to have less ambient light from all directions, bring down the overall light to a lower level, and then only add light from one direction, the way you have the light on the right side of the lighthouse is good, I'd like to see that kind of kick on the right side of the rocks too, and less fill on the rocks. You can add spotlights for the illumination spilling out of a house's windows or the lighthouse beam, to light the architecture or ground near them.

austriangeek - Looking good. If you put those rust patches on the big panels of the lighthouse, you might have some of the rust stains drip down onto the nearby parts of those darker rings around it too. I was going to say it looks like you have a problem with the lighthouse geometry, but I realize you moved some parts around to age it -- I guess just don't make the lower part of the balcony float below the bottom of the posts surrounding the balcony, and if they connect or at least are less regular it might look less like a mistake. It seems as if you have a light beam coming from the lighthouse that gets dimmer near the light source and brightens with distance, you might work more on making it connect to the light source.

grabennouitch - Looking good! The fake DOF on the fence is distracting, you might get rid of it if you can't make it more realistic than that. The lighthouse could use a little blue kick of light on the left side, and a little bounce light on the bottom of the balcony. The grass is nice, put more of it on the lower right of the image and the hill surface there will look more natural. See if you can get softer shadows so the grid pattern of the white window light on the lower left of the lighthouse turns into a softer pattern.

dboydesign - Nice image! I think the bright beam from the lighthouse doesn't need to be that saturated, especially near the lamp itself. There could be some overall glow around lamp that is less saturated as well. For the landscape in the lower foreground, see if you can make a gradient so it goes down from that shade of gray into a darker black by the base. Maybe the right side of it could get just a kick of light from the moon or the lighthouse beam to bring out a little of the texture there though.


09 September 2008, 08:32 PM
work and experimented on varuious aspects of vue on this.

Now to start the more complicated material of the rocks and grass and trees. ( (

09 September 2008, 05:58 AM
Hey all! Cool pics!

Thanks Jeremy! Yeah, I knew the fence would need something.... So, I did some more touch ups and this is what I rendered out.
Added some noise to it in post just for the heck of it..

C&Cs always welcomed!!

09 September 2008, 06:13 AM
I'm going to give this a try. This will be my first challenge so I hope it'll turn out somewhat close to decent. Oh and thanks for writing that book Jeremy, it's really helpful.

09 September 2008, 08:45 AM
I am amazed at all the great jobs people have done. Especially for just "thrown together preliminaries". I spent a few hours putting stuff together, but all I have done so far is make some generic water, figure out a camera angle I like, and make a few renders for my preliminaries. I had some great pictures of the sky I would like to use, if that is allowed. They are pictures I took when the clouds were doing crazy things. Anyway, I have to choose between the 15 images, hopefully I can get some advice. Please ignore the humongous palm tree, and the power lines in some. I will definitely edit those things out. Well, good luck to all of you.

09 September 2008, 09:34 AM
Hi, this is my first time posting in a lighting challege. I usually keep lurking the forums, but now I have some spare time. Here it is a very first approach to my idea.

It is only a sun light, hemi light and AO, with a glare filter pass in blender. Later I will add more details, shader and textures. Comments are welcomed, of course.


09 September 2008, 10:03 AM
hi this is my try ... hope you like it :)


09 September 2008, 10:18 AM
weng888:applause:very nice !

09 September 2008, 02:08 PM
Thank you Jeremy :)
This help me alot. I coudnt agree more. I have now work more with the lights and the ground. So the ground fade out to a darker shader.
I have also started to adjust in photoshop, just to see were I can go with post work.
I have rendered out a ambient occlusion map, and also zdepth (not sure how that worked out?)
Im kind of stucked right now so any kind of critique woud help :)

09 September 2008, 02:39 PM
dboydesign - Wow! That's shaping up to be a great scene! Very storybook/polar express looking. I think the little dots in the sky need work, it's hard to tell if they are snowflakes or blurry stars, but I think you could do more with different scales and depth for snowflakes in your scene. The trees on the left look terrific, I just wonder if they could have a little more shaping, just getting a little less light from the left so they clearly are lit from the right? The beam from the lighthouse looks like it could be brighter near the source and fade out more and travel further to the right even if it is very dim on the far parts. You could use a little more glow around your light sources, the moon already has enough but the brighter lights also need some glow.This is minor, but you might get rid of that bright line along the bottom of the frame, near the left side. The ocean surface is looking pretty good, I wonder if you could make a little more of it visible (higher up? Fewer rocks in front?) and make it reflect the moon more.

weng888 - Wow! Great job! The bricks on the lighthouse are spot-on. You could improve the fence if you split the railing into multiple planks and such, sorry the fence doesn't look better in close-up. The surfaces in the foreground look either a bit like snow and ice, or like white rocks. I guess they are all rocks, and the wooden fence was just pounded into rock?

casagan - Welcome! Good start! A nice sky and some texture and maybe vegetation could help that scene.

psycosven - Great! The fence is halfway there, just need to split the foreground part into separate planks, maybe a few cylinders for nails, get the woodgrain running vertically on all the posts... that tree needs some lighting and shading work on the leaves, at least. It really stands out as the only colorful part of the shot. If the foreground had a little more contrast, then the depth fading from the fog would be more apparent. It would be great if we were looking back at the sun or something for some variety through the fog.

jmBoeksestein - Looking good! That's nice water. Maybe you can get the sun reflecting in it or something else interesting? Keep going!


09 September 2008, 04:06 PM
Weng888- I like this one! Light design and realism look good. My suggestion is a little less contrast and specular look.. maybe perhaps a slight amount of Z haze... but mostly, the CG geo will always have tooo straight/mathematical edges... try refining geo where ever an edge meets sky or is too straight.. like along the roofline and certain bricks along the edge of lighthouse.. make them bumpy/irregular.

Very nicely done.

09 September 2008, 04:58 PM
hi jeremy .. hehehehe :) lol .. been doing this scene on spare time and often on a rush .. my logic kinda slipped pass me .. will change the fence to metal once .. lol... and those are white rocks .. post my updates in a while .. as always your c & c is always appreciated .. thanks a lot


thanks so much :) and keep up the good work as well ..

- mmoses00
thanks bro .. i get you .. i just hope i have the time to curve the geo on the lighthouse . doing this on my spare time so bump maps is all i can afford at the moment . ill try to displace them if i got the extra time .. i'll tweak the roof though .. and z haze ow just got forground and subject .. there is a little haze but dont want to blur out the lighthouse so dnt add to much ... thanks for the c&c . appreciate it .. :)


09 September 2008, 05:13 PM
weng888 - So awesome! I can almost hear the seagulls and the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks. I also really like the camera angle and the textures on the lighthouse. Super job!

09 September 2008, 01:11 AM
Just wanted to play with angles and light here. Its all CG.. all in 3dsmax. I separated some Zdepth and a light occlusion pass (basically the colored lights blasting on grey materials to get a pass that could be tweaked to increase the brightness on lights and to use for the shining light above.

This one is mostly done in comp. I used attenuated omnis in max to control lights. All the volumetric stuff is just comp tricks and Zfog... way faster.

This one kinda takes on a Spielbergesque light direction... which is intentional. One thing I noticed is that Spielberg's films look great in black and white. I almost just threw out the color on this one.. I'd recommend that - Put your work in black and white and see if the composition works, then bring the color back in. This one is OK, could be better... I have this problem of seeing my shots as moving sequences, from which I have to "pull" out one frame.... The problem is which "frame"... Sometimes my work looks like I might have pulled a few frames too early or too late. :)

09 September 2008, 04:16 PM
hi jeremy , heres some revisions , just some tweaks to the scene . thanks for your c&c , changed the fence :) hehehe .. added 1 bird , tweaked the edges of the roof and the tower a little , added z haze thanks to mmoses00 it did look and felt better .. here it is .. thanks guys .

lauras - thanks , added a seagull for you :) hehehe

- shertan

09 September 2008, 06:44 PM
It's done.... abandon it!

It's solid work!
Great Job.... Do another one! :)

09 September 2008, 08:26 PM
weng thats pretty, very nice mood, good job!

mmoses really nice as well, good job! still in the film noir mood it seems :p

09 September 2008, 12:23 AM
Hi, I've been a lurking for a while, enjoying all the artwork presented. I am especially fond of lighthouses so I thought this might be a good one to finally jump in on. I hope no one minds.

I rendered the scene in Vue, tweaking all the textures and the atmosphere as I went. The light beam, fog and clouds were all done in the Vue render, then I added the splashes and rain in PhotoShop. I hope that's legal for the challenge. I love the postwork part of any image.

Hope you like it,

K. Scott Gant
09 September 2008, 02:01 PM
Here's a quick set-up in Modo to get the lighting right. Haven't cleaned anything up nor have I really textured anything.

09 September 2008, 03:43 PM
Hi, I am another beginner but I will not ask you to be gentle since I have too much to learn.

This is just to set scene and light. Blender with ambient occlusion.

Same but added an angular sky map. No textures yet.

09 September 2008, 05:24 PM
rabidfox - Welcome! Sorry I didn't see that big image from post #36 on-line when I did my previous feedback. I think you need to choose a sky image that captures the sky all the way down to the horizon. Some of them look as if you're using another part of the sky mapped into the horizon position, and that isn't going to work. Also, try to match the lens used, at least roughly. If you have a shot like image 4, where the camera is zoomed-in enough that a streetlight appears that big, then the lighthouse should be appropriately bigger than the streetlight. If you can find some panoramic 360-degree sky images, whether they are HDRI or not, those might better match your horizon position and final lens choice.

mmoses00 - Wow! You are packing the gallery page for this one already. :) I love the dramatic angles, the rain looks great, I like the lighting on the lighthouse top with the little red light as well as the big beams and the side-lit person leaning over. In the foreground, the guy looks a little angular and low-polygon, and his clothing doesn't look like cloth. If the quality of the guy can't be raised, then could you maybe find some way to blur or obscure the figure or pull him out of the foreground? You could try putting some light on the dark parts of him, like the bottom of the sleeve (from the light on the bottom of frame in front of him), and a little kick or rim in blue on top of his hat and sleeve from the lighthouse. The car is off to a good start, you could put a yellow light next to the headlight wrapping around the corner, and a smoother trim around the edge of the wheel-well. The tangency in having the building line-up with the headlight beam is a little distracting, the roof makes an extra diagonal line that reads like a part of the headlight fog effect. The fence has a little curse of perfection, maybe some displacement on the top, nails sticking out, glints of light from the lighthouse?

weng888 - Congratuations! I'm looking forwards to adding your work to the gallery when the challenge ends. I love the new fence, looks rock solid. You should probably listen to Matt Moses when he says you're done, because he's once again the most productive, prolific contributor here. I think the lower right corner needs a little work with shadowing or occlusion, there are some hard edges right around the area that's highlighted with your signature, that look very CG. This small an area might be fixed in a Photoshop paint-over, but I'd think an occlusion pass could help if you're doing it in 3D. Darkening that area and adding a little grass or moss could also help make the foreground hit 100%. And another small area: look at the left side of the ligthhouse, right under the balcony. There's a bright edge, which I think comes from a gap between the balcony and the tower, and then there's a shadow in the sun kick, but that shadow doesn't seem to line-up with the struts supporting the tower to me.

Lorrieann - Great job! I love the color scheme, the whole scene looks like a matte painting! Nice rain! I think the lighthouse roof could use a little texture work. The light beam could use more noise or blurring or both to break it up and blend it into the clouds. I wonder if the lighting on the tower could be less uniform, if more of the light would be coming from the left or above, instead of from behind camera? Could the lightning be brighter than that in places, and maybe use some diffusing as if it were lighting the clouds around it?

K. Scott Gant - Good start! Keep going!

asierra - Good start! Keep going!


09 September 2008, 11:35 PM
this is my basic setup, no comp and layering.
need vegation and more texturing...
hope u like it

09 September 2008, 04:17 AM
hi jeremy , thanks for the c&c .. yup this is it .will follow you and mmoses00 and will stop and try to do another one if time permits :) here is the final output just tweaked the stone on the lower left and shadow on the tower top . thanks for considering my work for the gallery its always an honor to be there ... here it is ..

btw work done with maya 8.5 ,headus uvlayout, zbrush and photoshop .. took 6 passes to complete image , rendered in maya software and mental ray :) thanks


09 September 2008, 07:48 AM
bugzor - thanks so much :)


09 September 2008, 08:17 AM
Wow great work so far. It's very interesting as always to see how many interpretation of the same scene can exist. a question for mmoses.
How do you put the character in the scene ? are they comp in different layers or add as low res in 3dsmax and then rendered ?

09 September 2008, 09:43 AM
Hi Jeremy,

It's been a long time but here I am. The texturing and lighting were done in 3Ds Max and Vray.

Talk to you soon


09 September 2008, 12:40 PM
Here is my try on it.. Just start. C&C are more than welcome!
I'm planning to work on textures and find more interesting point of view:wip:
And I'm also not happy with the form of the stones.. they are a bit odd:)) really need textures!

09 September 2008, 12:51 PM
Fex, I like very much your water and clouds, does Houdini have any presets with water, clouds, etc, like maya?

09 September 2008, 03:07 PM
ScallyFox - Those are great! Focusing on the color one, most of the stones are OK, just one directly below the lighthouse looks too rounded or has a funny shape. A little bit of "real" vegetation would add a lot in places, instead of just textures. The little sign looks very thin up there, the rest of the items on the hill work pretty well in profile. You might consider a tiny hint of light or reflection in the color of the sky, even if just on some of the glass or metal.

MartinRomero - Welcome back! That's a great start on the lighthouse! On the foregroung objects, I'd love to see more of a sense that they are back-lit, like a darker core and more light coming from the edges. Consider a little fog or fading for the more distant parts of the scene.

weng888 - Congratulations! That's great!

Fex - Great start! Most of that scene looks really nice already. I'd like to see more reflection on the glass and metal near the top. The fence could use a little more rim light to bring it out.


09 September 2008, 04:09 PM
Thx Jeremy, those were some great critiques... what I would expect if I was working over there. :) I feel like I am back in a production studio, taking notes on the days tweaks! I have been in my little box for two years... getting stuff out so fast there was no time to do those kinds of tweaks.... I'll see what I can do to the pieces I have posted... I have one more in my minds eye..
* One thing about setting up that angle shot... it teaches you that it's really hard to make an angled shot look like what you pictured in your mind's eye... the focal length and the set have to be just so...Even when I can move the lighthouse and pieces... it still was hard to setup, so there may be problems just with the basic composition.
** That is a seriously low poly game char.. I think I should try using a real person in there.

THX again... cool lighting challenge!

09 September 2008, 04:46 PM
Hi, first post for me on cgtalk.. I'm blown away with some of the interpretations of this scene. So here is my simple attempt, just basic sunny lighting, hopefully its an interesting angle and composition. I've used blender, indigo and a few minor adjustments in photoshop.

09 September 2008, 06:57 PM
Hello all. Newbie to CGTalk. I'm taking an Intermediate Class in Vue 6 given by Peggy Walters who mentioned this thread on the class forum and thought we might be interested in participating. I found the model great fun to play with (thank you Juan Carlos Silva) and ended up with an image I've titled, "Lighthouse at Lemming Leap."

09 September 2008, 07:37 PM
It feels good to be back. I have been super busy at Cinematico however I really enjoy participating on these challenges. I will work on those changes later on.



09 September 2008, 06:20 AM
am a newbie to CGtalk .

the work posted for this lighting challenge is really good .!.

Great scene .. by juan carlos silva ..

09 September 2008, 12:48 PM
Ok, i changed everything and tried again. I am trying...

09 September 2008, 06:31 PM (

Hi there have really been working on my rendering skills and would love to submit a finished image here. So I think choosing a comp is the next step :)
I went camera crazy and got in a lot of POV shots as well as aerial and lots of angles.
Love the quality of the modeling.

So any suggestions welcome. I think UV's and texturing are coming up next.

09 September 2008, 02:54 AM
spin99 - i like shot 6 . can already see it . dawn setting a little fog and lighthouse beam . i think shot 6 is more balance ...


09 September 2008, 04:12 AM
Hi folks, I'm trying to, Here my start image, tomorrow I put more tests. (



09 September 2008, 06:30 AM
So here is what I was able to put into the lighthouse so far, I just added bricks and put in my colors. But I don't know if it works....Anyone have any idea's on what colors would go good with this lighthouse? (

09 September 2008, 06:39 AM
hi.. here's my 1st attemp at the challenge ..

C&C's are more than welcome .. i have alot to learn from u all ...

09 September 2008, 08:46 AM
this is my rather cheesy contribution to the lighthouse challenge.
I really want to thank juan carlos silva for the model and jeremy birns for these challenges.
I only used spotlights for this. half the image is just a BG of a photo I took...
anyhow, first time for me o create a evening mood lighting.

c&c are welcome.

09 September 2008, 12:42 PM
Hello jeremy sir,here is my textured version.CsC are welcome.:rolleyes:

09 September 2008, 01:04 PM
motoyuki, wow!! Overall look is great! Nice mood, I like sunsets alot:thumbsup:
I have doubts only about the light beam and the reflection of the sun on the water..

09 September 2008, 06:10 PM
So here's what I got for the Tower. I just added some moss onto it. Going to start working on the house next. Again, any advice on what colors to use on the trims would be awesome. I'm drawing a blank. (

09 September 2008, 06:49 PM
This scene looks like a great one to light. I will definitely give this one a try.
Lets now look when I have some time for it.. ;)

I have already seen some great starts here btw. :)

09 September 2008, 09:12 PM
Hello, hm ok ...

First: Sorry, for my English.
Read English: yes. Write English: no!

Therefore short version:

I am new here.
Have Jeremy Birns book read (since then I know: I know nothing).
Criticism in English: No problem.

That was my linguistic tragedy! My rendered tragedies will follow soon.

Thank and good night

09 September 2008, 10:24 PM
Thanks again for the help Jeremy! Lots of really nice work in the postings too!! Awesome work everyone!

I am still experimenting with where to position the sun right now. I might change it, I might not.. All depends on what sort of shadowing effects I might get from other angles. For the tree, I finally realized that I was forgetting my AO pass.. So I added a little of one to the render in post, and think that it helped quite a bit. I also was able to fix up some water so that is a little more apparent in the scene. Here is the original render lit and rendered in Vray including the GI.

Then add a bit of the AO pass made in Mental ray

Then add in a little of a pass without the GI for some darker shadows. And, play with the sun and sky a little.

Just added some Depth of Field too..

Wouldn't have gotten this far without help, thanks for everything so far!! Still hoping for and open to C&C's

09 September 2008, 05:06 AM
hello all.. i just started thhe challenge. heres a layout of where im at so far.. still needs alot of work on the texture and light. thanks.. hope i could update as soon as possible..

great works. and theres already a lot of gallery-worthy images..

09 September 2008, 11:15 AM
weng888 thanks for your choosing.
I don't know with 6. can't do any texture detailing on that which I wanted to.

I really wanted to go with a POV shot but then you don't get to see the ocean much.
Maybe I'll go 1 anyway and move the buildings around a little.
I don't think anyone did a composition like in 5 yet :D

Love your render btw really nice framing imho the leaning lighthouse of pisa even?

09 September 2008, 12:01 PM
I posted an early version of this view and kept working on it. So here's the final version, partly because I'm satisfied and partly because I'm out of time!

Cheers to all the participants. There are some great ideas and differing artistic expressions of the same basic theme here.

BTW a larger version for anybody interested is here:'sLeap1680.jpg'sLeap800.jpg

09 September 2008, 12:12 PM
My first try... all in XSI7 with minmal adjustment of AO map in PSP...

Hair shader for grass.

Used just Physicalsky/sun for lighting. Basically all textures can be improved :) ( (

09 September 2008, 09:12 PM
Hi Jeremy,

I haven't been doing Maya very long and have been mainly concentrating on getting the hang of modeling. But since I got your book I've discovered the wonderful world of lighting and rendering .

This my very first project that I tried to texture and light till the end so to speak. I spent all day on it today, especially UV's I still find a bit....frustrating sometimes.

Anyway, so here it is. I wanted something toon-ish with warm, feel good wintery light.

I've got a feeling that my fill lights on the tower are a bit obvious, but I've been going back and forth, changing settings etc. for so long now that I need to get away from this image. So I post this version anyway, straight out of Maya, no post whatsoever..

Looking forward to your comments. ( and everybody else who feels like it)



09 September 2008, 10:10 PM
Everyone's entry looks fantastic. Great job. Here is mine. (

09 September 2008, 01:59 AM
stef0506 - Welcome! That's a good start. The lower image has nice, expressive clouds, although the background appears to be squashed into too narrow an aspect ratio. Try to get some broad blue/gray kicks onto the left and right sides of the tower, and a brighter warm light from the sun. The roof color could probably be toned down. I'd love to see more reflection in the glass, and some real darkness and contrast inside of the upper tower.

runejw - Good start. I think the physical sun/sky can have more red/blue shift and a lower angle for the sun, to better simulate sunset. More color in the sun and sky shading will help. Try to get some reflections onto the glass as well, and keep going with those textures.

Welles - Nice job! I won't give feedback since you said this is final already, except to say that the trees have a nice look to them, and I like the look of some of the textures such as on the side of the little house.

herbertagudera - Good basic compositon there. I hope you really work with the back-lit nature of the shot and get that moonlight and sky glow onto the tower, the glass, and the rocks.

psycosven - I admit I have trouble telling the difference between some of those images, the four of them all look very similar to me. You mentioned using ambient occlusion: try to get nice occlusion between the planks of the fence, especially in the foreground, for a solid sense of contact. You might get rid of that tree, or replace it with something else. If you moved the hill and base of tree all a little lower then maybe it wouldn't look cut-off by the fence. It seems like the sun is in the background in that shot, but I don't get the sense that any of it is back-lit, I'd like to see darkness and shading in the foreground facing us, and nice rims and kicks from the sun on the leaves and grass and fence.

Sealaender - Welcome! Let's see some work!

doodlerboy - Good start with that texturing!

jasvant - That's looking great! I wonder if the glass in the house windows and door and maybe even the metal parts of the house could reflect a bit more of the sky? The edges of the house roof shingles don't seem to be trimmed to fit the house very well, on the right side. Maybe that far edge to the grass on the side of the hill could go brighter where it is back-lit by the sky, to make it look translucent.

motoyuki - That looks great! THe background image almost looks as if it could be scaled taller a bit, but it fits in well. I wish the screen-right area of the hill looked more rim-lit by the sun behind it. Some more light in the grass, rim on the plants and tree, brighter kicks on the fence, and darker shadows where the sunlight is blocked by a rock, would add to the integration.

sklioness - Good start! Keep going, maybe you need more light and shaping on the ground and tower?

jucaduarte - Welcome! Keep going with that! A more believable sky and some textures will help a lot, as well as shadows.

Spin99 - Choose whichever composition you want. Number 5 could be nice, as long as you hide the corner of the earth made visible where the ocean ends.

PakosM - Looking good! I think parts of the scene could be darker and could have more variety in the shading. For example, look in the lower right at the rocks above the inlet of water. Right now, the shadow-area where the sun isn't shining looks completely uniform, with a constant value instead of any gradients. I'd rather see gradients getting darker towards the water, or occlusion between the rocks, or some other variety. The tower of the lighthouse also could use some shaping, creating gradients so it is darker near the center and gets the brighter blue light near the edges.

lar111 - Welcome! That's a great image! It really captures the feeling of a sun-lit, sandy environment! I think the grass could taper off a little more naturally in places, and I'd love to see more shaping and texture in the sand, but overall it looks great.

mmoses00 - You know all my secrets. Of course I'm just giving out the same basic kind of notes hat I am given myself all day.


09 September 2008, 08:02 AM
Thanks Jeremy.

I noticed about the aspect ratio of the clouds but I don't really know how to solve that. But I'll look into it of course. I used a skydome with a 4K 360 degree panorama.
Ok...back to work :-)

09 September 2008, 11:51 AM
Here's another version with the things you mentioned.....well I tried anyway:-)

09 September 2008, 02:43 PM

Ok the ocean is skew the waves out of scale there's posts flying around hehe.
But I'm stuck on composition again. Is it looking ok?
I think A is more dramatic and B more classic.

Maybe I'll add some birds and trees and of course start the real work.
Can't pick anymore though :\

09 September 2008, 04:08 PM
Thanks Jeremy! I hate that tree, its always flat no matter what I do to render it. Try a new one for the next update! Other than that, I like the composition setup so I will keep everything else in place. Just found I was dumb to start with and had a ambient color setup. Guess that's why I can't get anything good out of shadows. Yeah, the AO pass was a test to see if I could get some more depth, I didn't even really do that 100% it was just a test. Getting sick of hours of waiting on renders, so I am setting up render passes and going to comp it. Hope to have a new render up soon'ish.

Hey Spin99! I think they both have their positive aspects. I like B because it includes all of the weather vane thing at the top of the lighthouse, and because the lighthouse is closer to the 1/3rds position in the comp. I like A because the with the inclusion of more of the base, the lighthouse looks stronger, more forceful/powerful. Not really helping you on the choice I know, but those are my thoughts.

09 September 2008, 06:00 PM
rabidfox - Welcome! Sorry I didn't see that big image from post #36 on-line when I did my previous feedback. I think you need to choose a sky image that captures the sky all the way down to the horizon. Some of them look as if you're using another part of the sky mapped into the horizon position, and that isn't going to work. Also, try to match the lens used, at least roughly. If you have a shot like image 4, where the camera is zoomed-in enough that a streetlight appears that big, then the lighthouse should be appropriately bigger than the streetlight. If you can find some panoramic 360-degree sky images, whether they are HDRI or not, those might better match your horizon position and final lens choice.Thanks Jeremy, I totally agree. Those are things I didn't think of before. I am quite amateur in lighting, but I would like to learn more. I have your book, but admittedly I have not been able to dig in deeply on it. I think it was at SIGGRAPH Boston when I bought it, and I met you right when I bought it. I should have had you sign it, I didn't even think about that. ANYWAY, back on subject. If you could guide me a little to what pages I might look up about matching the lens and such, I know little about camera settings. I was going to use photoshop to fake a horizon on the bg in image 5. That seems to be the image most people like. Or where do you think I can find some 360 degree panoramic sky images? I'll post a picture of my progress soon. Thanks again.

09 September 2008, 08:25 PM
Hi everyone, this is my first post. I hope you like it so far =)
Thanks for comments.

09 September 2008, 05:51 AM
Thank u soo much jeremy ....

i added more light ..refined textures.. added DOF ...

please suggest me how to improve it ...


09 September 2008, 04:50 PM
This is what im working on

09 September 2008, 08:44 PM
Quick update on the render process.. Almost to a point where I feel it would work, have to add some more passes to get better highlights on the grass and tree.. Trying to get some better shadowing too. But, here is where I am at.

09 September 2008, 01:02 AM
Oops, sorry about the caps lock . ( (

09 September 2008, 06:51 AM
Yay! The grass has something of highlights!! Too tired to try much more on this for now.. If you think it could be better, let me know and I 'll do my best to fix it up!

09 September 2008, 08:21 PM
Hi psycosven thanks for the comment.
Maybe I'm going dramatic dunno.

Your grass and highlights looking nice imho
My only crit would be maybe you could have more contrast and a core
the way everything is standing against the sun. But it's nice and hazy as it is too.

09 September 2008, 12:00 AM
Hello here is my entry, I wanted to add more stuff like the trees the house, etc but my laptop cant take it, the only way would be to brake this into 20 layers or so and I DONT WANNA DO THAT , I wanna animate this so having 20 layers would be a pain and it would take ages....

John Paul Giancarlo

09 September 2008, 12:14 PM
herbertagudera - Good basic compositon there. I hope you really work with the back-lit nature of the shot and get that moonlight and sky glow onto the tower, the glass, and the rocks.

thanks jeremy.. here is an update..

09 September 2008, 03:39 PM
I played a little with the volume lights here's mt first test what do you think?
i'll add more fog later.

09 September 2008, 04:48 PM
Here's mine. Not sure if I'm done with it.

It's rendered with RenderMan. The rock and the sea shaders are completely procedural and written in the RenderMan Shading Language. Actually there are no texture maps used except in the sky, which is comped in Photoshop based on some cloud photos. I should write a shader for those too but I'm feeling a bit lazy right now. :) The lighting setup is really simple, it's just a few regular spotlights. There's also no kind of GI. The whole thing renders in maybe ten to fifteen minutes. (

edit: Should have checked the image with a real screen instead of just my laptop's... the image came out much darker than I had expected. I replaced it with a somewhat brighter version. The original one I posted is here:

09 September 2008, 06:32 PM
radianssi ( cool rock shaders! and the surf almost looks like its real..

09 September 2008, 08:07 PM
:thumbsup: Ok I got crazy and added the trees and flowers and all, no house though I didn`t know where to put it, I hope this is looking better, I really like the way it looks now, my wife thinks it needs more color, hehehehe, I did not agree with the wife of course, that would not be normal... :wise::curious:

Here is the image the way I saturated the colors a bit more.. :arteest:
CHEERS :buttrock:

09 September 2008, 11:28 PM
Hello everyone this is my last mini update is very subtle but there are changes trust me, I added a bit of mist to suggest a little bit a water splash, also added more dirt, flowers and a specular pass to bring the leves and values a bit up....

Here is the Image

09 September 2008, 03:16 AM
Dear sir, this is what i have done so far (

09 September 2008, 03:21 PM
InspireArt - Good start! I don't see much in the way of shadows yet, try lighting it with one main light, and test-rendering to make sure everything casts shadows as it should, then add a little fill light. The textures and grass look good. The rocks in the foreground need some texture, or maybe some of them need to change shape or move away.

JohnPGiancarlo - Amazing! That's stunning work! Any comments I make are trivia, but here's a few minor thoughts. The leaves on the trees on the right seem to have a fairly consistent fill color, and never get as dark as the trunk, maybe the most deeply shadowed parts of the leaves could get a little darker, just to show shaping and depth. The diffuse color of the little white flowers could come down just a hair, just enough so all the white flowers aren't completely clipped. The little white dots near the top of the lighthouse are a bit hard to identify. Did you say you were going to animate this??? The birds, the water, etc. all look very difficult to animate, if this is all being rigged or simmed for animation then I'm doubly impressed!

radianssi - I'm just floored today by the sheer awsomeness of what I'm seeing. That's totally amazing! I think you're going for "front page" quality work there. A few areas might merit another look. If you look down straight below the lighthouse, there's a little inlet running to the left, and the water doesn't seem well connected to the rocks there. The water seems too bright, as if it's not getting darkened by the shadow of the rocks in that area. The water looks absolutely terrific. Sometimes people add some foam and spray layers on top of the water surface where the waves crash onto rocks. A little spray of particles could break-up the solidness of the water in the lower left foreground, otherwise that water lip heading up onto the closest rock to camera might need to get darker or more transparent. The rock shader is terrific, sometimes a water interface can benefit from a "water line" on the rocks, with dry rock higher up having more diffuse, and wet rock going darker but more specular. The rocks are looking great, though, so don't change too much if you play with this. There's one hard diagonal line in the rocks, the lower center area of them, that looks like a low-poly edge that could get smoothed or displaced. The top of the lighthouse looks good, if there were more of a sense of light inside the top room and interior roof, and more presence to the glass, that could add a bit of definition to that area.

RazorJack - Good start! Keep going!

herbertagudera - Nice work. The scale of the grass looks a bit big compared to the house. Some more light might move through the grass further along. The edge of the side rock looks strange, it seems a little low-polygon but has a glow around the edge of the rock. I think a better moon would add a lot to the scene.

psycosven - Nice! You could use more shaping and variation in your lighting. More parts of the fence could go darker. A square form like the fence posts shouldn't usually have two sides with the same tone, one side should be darker than the other. The tree is better, you might lower the whole tree and the hill it's on, just so you can see where the tree comes out of the hill and it isn't hidden behind the fence. Even the tower of the lighthouse could use a little darker core, so the gray on the left side was the brighter part of a gradient that went down a bit before it got brighter again.

jmBoekestein - Good work, keep going. I think the rocks have too many regular geometry forms now, the squares and hexagons keep it from looking organic.

Voigg - Good start, keep going!

sklioness - Looks good, you could add light to most parts of it, choose some color or texture for the roof and foundation of the tower, maybe do something with the ground or vegetation once there's enough light to see it, maybe work on the ocean surface if there's going to be enough light glinting off it to see the water.

viko79 - Welcome! Nice, spooky scene! Maybe you could get a bit more light on the lighthouse, especially in the top around the area the beam is coming from you could use light on the glass, the area around the lamp, part of the balcony, etc.

rabidfox - Use whichever sky you want, I shouldn't have worried you too much about lenses and such, just make sure if you're showing a lot of scene, that there's a lot of sky behind it. A picture you take yourself, find on flickr, etc. should be fine.

Spin99 - Both compositions are fine. Watch the edges of your frame and don't put a roof right on the lower edge.

stef0506 - Looking good! What kind of ground are you going for, right now I can't tell if it will be rock or moss or grass? You might get a little more light into some of the trees, if the sun is right there.


09 September 2008, 05:23 PM
I'm looking foward to this one, I'll try my best!:)

09 September 2008, 05:28 PM
Thanx alot. Ill resubmit soon with the changes made. :)

09 September 2008, 06:22 PM
Thanks Jeremy! I've been trying to get that darker core shadow on everything.. I'm learning a lot on the functionality of Vray and it's render passes with this project. Let's just say the render passes are very interesting, and very picky as to what they will work with (aka doesn't work well with anything not specifically Vray)... I would go with scanline to get some better simple shadows, but the grass is the Vray Fur and I think I would lose that completely by swapping the renderer. :( I'm sure I'll figure something out though! ;)

09 September 2008, 06:25 PM
JohnPGiancarlo - Amazing! That's stunning work! Any comments I make are trivia, but here's a few minor thoughts. The leaves on the trees on the right seem to have a fairly consistent fill color, and never get as dark as the trunk, maybe the most deeply shadowed parts of the leaves could get a little darker, just to show shaping and depth. The diffuse color of the little white flowers could come down just a hair, just enough so all the white flowers aren't completely clipped. The little white dots near the top of the lighthouse are a bit hard to identify. Did you say you were going to animate this??? The birds, the water, etc. all look very difficult to animate, if this is all being rigged or simmed for animation then I'm doubly impressed!

Thanks Jeremy here is the Update it looks better now!

09 September 2008, 08:25 PM
Thanks for the comments Jeremy. Glad to hear I'm on the right track! I definitely agree with everything you said. It gets hard to see all the little details and flaws objectively after having stared at the picture for so many hours. :) I think I'll have a little break and post an improved version at some point in the near future.

09 September 2008, 09:38 AM
JohnPGiancarlo, that is perfect, really nice, how did you do the foliage? :)
frontpage worthy even though its not your own model btw:P

09 September 2008, 10:21 AM
JohnPGiancarlo, that is perfect, really nice, how did you do the foliage? :)
frontpage worthy even though its not your own model btw:P

Thanks bugzor, the grass the flowers and the trees are all paint FXs done with maya 2008.

09 September 2008, 02:16 PM
Some very beautiful renders so far! Looking forward to seeing the finals :)

I'm trying my hand at it too. I have a lot to try to learn. Hopefully I'll get it done in time.

A note, not a criticism to radianssi ( vbmenu_register("postmenu_5384233", true); render....
You've created a beautiful scene and a very powerful work, however, the moonlight isn't quite agreeing with the highlights on the rocks. Perhaps reverse the sky?

Great work everyone!

09 September 2008, 05:28 AM
Here is my entry so far....

I'm hoping to learn enough about texturing to get it done in time for the challenge deadline.

I hate the rock jutting out to the right of the hill. I'm having a hard time getting the lighting right in that area.
My water is coming along but still needs alot of depth in texturing.
I'm still working on getting a good texture for the grass.
I'm fairly satisfied with the lighthouse light and sky and the over all composition.

Any suggestions or directions on how to add texturing are very welcome and greatly appreciated!

09 September 2008, 05:09 PM
I've been working on it this morning and have made a lot of changes.

Still needs a whole lot of work.

Input, criticism, suggestions are more than welcome!

I'm a new user and trying to learn Lightwave.

Thank you!

09 September 2008, 07:57 PM
Hi Jeremy and all. Great work everyone! :)
I've had a cold the last week and this is all I've managed so far, Vue Studio render, the lighthouse is the one being lit. I'm still learning Vue and I've tried different rendering options trying to get the best one. I'll play around it with some more or I might try it out in a different program. :)

09 September 2008, 10:52 PM
I can not any pic's uploading:buttrock: !

09 September 2008, 02:22 AM
Hi all again,

This is my final render. Lightwave crashed and I lost all of my settings :(
I saved my scene and every setting there was to save before it crashed but it didn't save.

I'm not going to try to reproduce it.

Oh well. Hope you like what I was able to complete.

Good luck everyone!

09 September 2008, 09:34 AM
Hi all,
at the moment, just my idea!

Helmsman last words: I hate this GPS!

09 September 2008, 09:25 PM
Hey Sealeander, I can't see your image. Maybe try uploading it to imageshack. :)

here's my go at better rocks, stilll gotta fix the protruding top but it has a nice look like this so I kept it. ( (

09 September 2008, 10:33 PM
Hy jmBoekestein

because I'm unfit to publishing a pic (since Days), and I dont understand what you mean, its better I forget the whole thing here. :argh:

Bye all

09 September 2008, 11:36 PM
Hey Sealeander. You need to haev made a certain amount of posts before you can attach files on the forum I think. But just go >>here<< ( and select your file and upload it, then just click in the textbox next to 'hotlink for forums' and (ctrl-c) copy it and paste it here in the reply box and voila, you posted your image ;).

Hope you still got your patience. :thumbsup: And hope to see your image.

09 September 2008, 11:47 PM
Hi all. I've been thinking of trying a stormy scene, but first I going to try and get a daylight render looking nice. I've attached what I have so far. Rendered in Lightwave Using the real lens camera and the new hair and fur in version 9.5 for the grass.



09 September 2008, 09:49 AM
Hi everybody,
This is my first time here ,I'm on a Vue course with Peggy Walters at LVS ;
there's no postwork on this image , just a bit of resizing;
I'd like to have your comments and ideas please (

09 September 2008, 01:44 PM
rodj42 - Welcome! That's great! You made a "Film Noir" style lighthouse! I like the fact that the illumination on the set is very dark and limited. I think the illumination on the set could look motivated by the light sources (the lightening and lighthouse beam)in the scene though. Instead of the little patch of green ground that you see through the fence, maybe the ground could be lit from behind by the lightening. Maybe the rocks and water could just be lit by the lighthouse beam, all just with specular hits, kicks, and rims. The same goes with the fence, instead of ligthing the front from behind camera, you might leave the face dark and back-light it more.

Chrisdc - Great! That's a nice clean render, with a good daylight feel. The sun and sky illumination are well balanced. I think you could do more with the reflections in the glass at the top of the tower and in the house windows. At the top of the tower, maybe the interior ceiling could transition to get darker, especially near the top.

jmBoekestein - That's great! Nice color scheme, nice rocks and vegetation. Some smaller plants and a little texture on the roof could help too. I don't know if you need two of those flat-topped rocks sticking out of the water. I like having one where you can see its reflection in the water for a bit. Maybe alittle more shaping from a sun direction could help give variety to the tower and tree lighting?

rhocando - Good start! Sorry about your crash! If you aren't going to do another lighthouse, I hope you'll join us for other challenges...

L33tace - Great start! Maybe just broaden the sun, add some fill light, keep going with texture, and push the camera in a bit?

JohnPGiancarlo - Congratulations on the stunning work. I hope you don't mind that I link to a copy of it at the top of this thread now.


09 September 2008, 04:47 PM
JohnPGiancarlo - Congratulations on the stunning work. I hope you don't mind that I link to a copy of it at the top of this thread now.


Thank you mate, That would be great :D.

09 September 2008, 02:40 AM
[/url] Heres my update

[url=""] (%3Ctable%20style=%22width:auto;%22%3E%3Ctr%3E%3Ctd%3E%3Ca%20href=%22,sans-serif;%20font-size:11px;%20text-align:right%22%3EFrom%20%3Ca%20href=%22's%20Profile%3C/a%3E%3C/td%3E%3C/tr%3E%3C/table%3E)

09 September 2008, 09:44 AM
Hi Jeremy,
Thanks for the comments ; I'm trying to do some of the ideas that you suggested;
however I'm not sure of some of the terms that you use ....."specular hits,kicks and rims" ,
I'm not only a newbie here , but also in what I'm sure is common lighting terminology ,in otherwords

Help :)

09 September 2008, 12:30 PM
here's an update of my work.. refined the ground and water textures ...

^_^ ( (

09 September 2008, 12:32 PM
changed the cam angle just a lil bit ... ( (

09 September 2008, 07:03 PM
Hi Jeremy,
This is my w.i.p.
I've played here with shading networks, lighthouse, house & fence are still without any textures.
I am planning to add some bushes in scene.
I still have doubt in my mind about DOF i've given.
C&C Welcome.

09 September 2008, 07:31 PM
OMG! U definitely need a front page anouncement for the challenges. doesnt saw it till now. Good work everyone till now. Time to jump on the challenge also.. :)

09 September 2008, 09:05 PM
hi all,
did some more shading and some post work
need plants and some kicker lights...all in houdini
only procedual shaders except sky
hope u like it

09 September 2008, 11:14 PM
Here is my entry, I used maya software + occlusion for the final render. Got rendertimes down to around 40sec on the beautypass and 30sec on the occlusion pass (hd 720) with my intel quadcore 2.5ghz with 4gb ram

09 September 2008, 11:45 PM
I added the some rim and kick lights to the tower and the house.

I think after this one, I will go for daytime images. Thank you for your comments Jeremy.


09 September 2008, 01:56 AM
I appreciate the encouragement and invitation! I'll definitely try another challenge or two or twenty :)

Good luck all!

09 September 2008, 10:19 AM
Great work people,
i wish i culd do this one but dont have the time right now so will try it later. Martin Romero i think you can use a diff background. and also play with the premutilply option in your composite when you bring in the renders. it shud get rid of the odd lining around the contour of the render

09 September 2008, 03:35 PM
InspireArt - Looks great! The rocks in the foreground and the lighthouse and the left side of the water all look like illumination at night, they even have that deep saturation of a slow-exposure night shot. I'd say you should go with that look: just change the sky to something more like a night sky, darken the overexposed right side of the water, and add more of a light coming out from the top of the lighthouse.

rodj42 - I can't see the image you're asking about anymore. Specular highlights are little reflections of the light source. Rims are just bright lines, a line created by a light hitting the edge of something from behind it. A kick is a little thicker than a rim, like illuminating an outer slice of an object instead of just a line. The main thing is to make your illumination look as if it's coming from the direction that it really would be, if the lighthouse and moon were really behind the other objects.

sklioness - Keep going. Maybe instead of a bright core (light hitting the center of the tower) you could have a darker core (less light in the center) and more light hitting the edges. Then the right edge could be more dark blue, and the left edge could be lit more by the moon and lighthouse beam.

SahaneNik - Good start. You're right, the DOF isn't working and you should get rid of it. Work on the angle of that key light (the main light) maybe you should slide it around to to a better job of dividing the scene into light and shadow. Somehow the blue water looks bright even in the shadow area (maybe it's reflecting a really bright sky?) that isn't very realistic.

KayPoprawe - I'm Looking forwards to your work. I hope you'll Subscribe to the News thread, so you'll get news about new challenges!

Fex - Looking good! Maybe the sky could hit some brighter tones compared to the lighthouse. The basic terrain all looks like rocks, so maybe it should stay gray or brown, and later you can add some vegetation on top if you want the green there. (And thanks for uploading the Houdini Apprentice scene, I'm sorry I'm so far behind on web updates at the moment.)

Ackee - That's absolutely great! Some of the occlusion comping is a little off. If you are using MR for the occ pass without the paint effects, then you should split out the flowers in front of the lighthouse into a separate layer and put those on top of the lighthouse and occlusion. Your other choice would be converting some of the paint effects into polygons, at least the flowers that are getting occlusion stripes over them. For the back-lit plants, a little more hint of translucency would be nice in some of the leaves. Right now those bright white flower tops are the only part of the vegetation going bright, and the sign is bright, but none of the leaves look really translucent or even catch glints of the sunlight. Maybe a little light hitting the taller plants on the left could bring them into the sun?

MartinRomero - Great! The city skyline is nice, it should darken the top edge of the water, like a reflection. The reflected sun looks brigther than the sun itself, you could balance that out. The lighthoue light could illuminate more. The light around the lower base of the lighthouse looks strange, maybe something isn't casting shadows? Same with the right edge of the roof on the house. Keep going!


09 September 2008, 04:49 PM
MartinRomero - Great! The city skyline is nice, it should darken the top edge of the water, like a reflection. The reflected sun looks brigther than the sun itself, you could balance that out. The lighthoue light could illuminate more. The light around the lower base of the lighthouse looks strange, maybe something isn't casting shadows? Same with the right edge of the roof on the house. Keep going!


Cool Jeremy,

I'll work on those things.



09 September 2008, 06:52 PM
Hi Jeremy thanks for the info; I thought it might be something of that order ....just need to get down to doing it now !

09 September 2008, 07:54 PM
"Some of the occlusion comping is a little off...// For the back-lit plants, a little more hint of translucency would be nice in some of the leaves...//Maybe a little light hitting the taller plants on the left could bring them into the sun?"

Thansk for the c&c jeremy, i tried to work all of it out but im struggling a bit with the translucency. Im thinking about animating it with some wind blowing in the grass and maybe a bird/s etc if i have time. Here is my newest render, rendertime around ~50sec.

09 September 2008, 10:51 PM
Thank you again Jeremy :)
I have to say that its really nice of you too use your free time to help us out.
So I hope everyone takes his critique and response with a joy. ( If i can say so? )

Okay I have now put on some more glows around the lights, adjusted the lights and so to make the trees not so bright and have more brightnes from the side were the moon shines.
Also I have rendered out some passes, and started working with layers in photoshop. I really dont like working with glowe in 3dmax when I use vray as render engine. Its not so easy as mental ray or scanline.. well well, what do we have photoshop for? :P

The water reflects more of the moon. Adde more contrast and played around with color adjustment and so on..
Also I made a background landscape :)

Getting pretty late now so cant really see if overkilled in ps..
So if anyone can see something that looks off or something weird ant let me know ;)

09 September 2008, 06:50 AM
Great Scene, I think its a little late for me but I m going to try to get it for October 27th, and im going to take a little risk, Ill try to make it in Blender!!

09 September 2008, 09:39 AM
okay I have alittle free time at work, slow economy:), so here's my WIP, i wanted to do a uplight, sunset type of scence..

probally will do the light inside the glass in post.

any links to free seaqulls models??

Jermey--what should my GI(sky) color be at this time of the day(the golden hour) now i have it as a ligth orange, but should it be a blueish tint?? my direct light(sun) really should not effect my light house right, since my camera angle is in shadows??

3ds 2009, Brazil 2

09 September 2008, 11:10 AM
herbertagudera - Nice work. The scale of the grass looks a bit big compared to the house. Some more light might move through the grass further along. The edge of the side rock looks strange, it seems a little low-polygon but has a glow around the edge of the rock. I think a better moon would add a lot to the scene.

thanks jeremy for the comments here's an update on the scene.. (
click the image for a larger version

09 September 2008, 06:53 PM

Here is my first attempt at the lighthouse using Vue 6 Infinite. I am not very experienced using Vue but hope you like it :)


09 September 2008, 07:51 PM
Heres my latest version. (

Im not finished yet. :rolleyes:

09 September 2008, 09:06 PM


Tried not to look too much at the other images before i started.
Dunno why last image does not seem to work

please tell me the one you think is best

09 September 2008, 10:51 PM
updated my image.

09 September 2008, 07:56 AM
here is my try

09 September 2008, 11:01 AM
hey pipjor, nice sky background you made. Just seems to me the lighting on the lighthouse is inconsistent with the sky.I think you should tone the ambient down and add a spot from the direction of the sun or a directional light. (man I'm so jealous you got Brazil 2, I missed the upgrade offer deadline :( )

09 September 2008, 05:42 PM
thanku so much jeremy for ur suggestions ... i worked on the bright core of the tower and here's my refined work . ^_^ ( (

09 September 2008, 05:52 PM
I added a boat bring some colors of boat light to water ... is it looking OK? ( (

09 September 2008, 07:40 PM
added film grain.. he he (

09 September 2008, 08:08 AM
wow, very cool entries here!!

dboydesign (, your's it's like from a fairy tale, I like the mood very much:cool:

09 September 2008, 09:17 AM
Nice updates folks.

Oh thank you ScallyFox :)
I like your black and white render, very "stormy" look alike, maybe it coud be more dramatic? Some more waves and maybe some heavy clouds coming inn?

09 September 2008, 06:43 PM
dboydesign thanks:)
I'm working on that, there are a lot of ideas for realization!!

09 September 2008, 07:58 PM
Hey guys, these pics look great! I've downloaded the files and I've only played slightly with texturing etc, but I figured this would be a good place to ask about volumetric lighting in mental ray. I've done the ray marching tutorial on with nice lighting but the light doesn't look like it's cutting through anything. This and environmental fog in mental ray I feel is a tightly kept secret and if someone could allow me into the secret brotherhood of people who know how to do them I would be most appreciative. Thanks!

09 September 2008, 11:26 PM
Maya Software render with Occlusion (mentalray). The sky is bad, but done in fluids.

no 2:

09 September 2008, 12:34 AM
Hey guys, these pics look great! I've downloaded the files and I've only played slightly with texturing etc, but I figured this would be a good place to ask about volumetric lighting in mental ray. I've done the ray marching tutorial on with nice lighting but the light doesn't look like it's cutting through anything. This and environmental fog in mental ray I feel is a tightly kept secret and if someone could allow me into the secret brotherhood of people who know how to do them I would be most appreciative. Thanks!

try reading floze's tutorial ( on underwater lighting.. you can start from there.

good luck!

09 September 2008, 05:15 PM
I've looked at these challenges before, but always been too lazy to do it. Finally decided to give this one a try. Here's what I got after an hour or two last night. Black and white because I'm lazy ;-)

09 September 2008, 06:08 PM
hehe golfingmateo ;) Lazy = the way of living :wise:
Anyway, I feel like its hard to tell what kind of weather it is.
I do like it, but was wondering if there is something wrong with the composition of the picture, and another way it also works.. Oh man more Im looking on it more i like it haha..

09 September 2008, 06:11 PM
This is my attempt on this challenge.

Everything, including the compositing was done in Houdini. I'll still continue working on the shading and compositing.

Any C&Cs are welcome.

09 September 2008, 02:33 AM
@ diazsoftware
Wow I really like what you did with the ground and the outhouse from the models provided.
Also getting some real inspiration now.

Not that I've really been getting lazy, been doing other stuff as well and maybe
I also have a business life after all huh
And the main reason for entering here is learning some new skills and getting some decent renders out since I got XSI.
But I really want to do a nice submission for this challenge and am getting back into it soon.

09 September 2008, 04:52 AM
Well, here is how my work is going, not everything is textured and the ship is still very rough, but I'm already getting a visual of how I want my image to look. Of course I hope everyone can help me with ideas and comments :beer:

09 September 2008, 05:50 AM
Wow! So many images, I haven't kept up!

Ganimate - Good start! Try to smooth out the hard angles, or cover them with vegetation. Green rocks look strange, maybe gray rocks would be more realistic, and add grass or moss or something if you want some green? The water looks flat and has a hard edge on the left side, maybe the water could be a darker shade with some reflections and shadows?

CarlRiver - Wow, interesting! In terms of lighting, it'd be nice to see more reflection and light in the upper glass and metal parts, and more of the red environment reflected in the lighthouse. I'll look forwards to seeing how this one shapes up, since I don't really understand what's going on in the scene yet.

golfingmateo - Welcome! That's a good start! I'd like to see the glass have some more presence, where the beam goes through it almost looks like the window's missing. The right side of the tower looks very dark, it probably needs a bounce from the lower right as well as a kick from the sky and beam lights. Can we look forwards to seeing this with more effects in it, fog, waves, grass blowing, etc.?

diazsoftware - WOW! That's great! The sky is almost there, I was surprised ot read that you did the clouds yourself instead of using a photo. If you're good with the fluids you might consider more mist or fog in your scene to really take advantage of it. The texture and vegetation is great! On the 2nd one, the fill light seems a little inconsistent, as if the tower gets more sky fill fthan the fence does, but the fence gets brighter sun light? The glass texture needs work, and the glass could use more reflection. I love what you did with the little house! Maybe the house windows could use reflection as well?

herbertagudera - Looks great overall! The edge of the lamp looks strange, a dark rough line where I'd expect a nice bright glow from the light. The glass could use more highlights or something to give it presence. The little house probably would look better without the wide horizontal white window, maybe a window with the same tones as the side would work on the front? Interesting image with unique patterns throughout. I think you could try for one with less noise overall.

sklioness - Great scene! I think the textures and vegetetaion need work, but the lighting is coming along well.

lighthunder - Welcome! That looks good! I think more of the scene could use that rich warm orange light from the sun. Some areas like the ground look very uniformly lit, they could use some overall gradients and variation in the lighting.


09 September 2008, 05:59 AM
pipjor - Good start! I think more light from the sun and sky could illuminate the tower to tie parts of the image together.

Skoglund - Those are terrific! I especially like the 2nd one with the color. It would be nice to see more of the sun and sky light coming through the top of the lighthouse, and perhaps reflections or highlights glinting off the metal and glass? The water has a strange texture that might get another look as well. Overall those are great scenes! I love the solo tree.

InspireArt - That's great! Beautiful image! The shading on the rocks in the foreground looks as if it goes brightest right in between the rocks, where they should be in shadow. Maybe you could chang ethe light angle so it comes from behind the rocks more, or add shadows there?

xmadamjojox - Welcome! That's a good start! Keep going!

dboydesign - Stunning scene! First rate! I love it! I wonder if the area around the light sin the top of the tower couldn't have more glow around it, and the brightest light in the top of the tower could go less saturated, where it gets really bright? The little house looks great, but maybe you could use half as much light right near the bottom of it?

Ackee - That's terrific! I think maybe the vine that runs up the tower should get darker where it's in the shadow of the tower instead of direct sun. Overall your whole scene looks lush and interesting, I love it.


09 September 2008, 12:25 PM
Dear Mr Jeremy Birn, That was so encouraging. :bounce:
I will post the update soon.:)

09 September 2008, 03:45 PM
Thanks a lot Jeremy, I agree with you, especially about the water, but I have to admit that I'm having some troubles with it, I'm ysing a Maya ocean shader, maybe you can suggest me another way or some tips on how to improve it...:curious:

09 September 2008, 11:06 PM
I couldn't get the lighting to work any better in the last image so this is another attempt, different view. done with Vue.

09 September 2008, 11:03 AM
herbertagudera - Looks great overall! The edge of the lamp looks strange, a dark rough line where I'd expect a nice bright glow from the light. The glass could use more highlights or something to give it presence. The little house probably would look better without the wide horizontal white window, maybe a window with the same tones as the side would work on the front? Interesting image with unique patterns throughout. I think you could try for one with less noise overall.

thanks for the comments.. heres an update.. (

l33tace.. i like what youve done with the ground.. very nice..

09 September 2008, 07:33 PM
thanks for the advices Jeremy!
Mainly sky and rocks were changed ..

09 September 2008, 10:50 PM
Wow, amazing work everyone! Your work makes me push myself harder and harder.

I just moved into Boston and started my new job this month and wasn't able to be around. I'm glad I was finally able to post for the first time this challenge. Render time is about 5 minutes in Mental Ray.

09 September 2008, 03:21 AM
here we go... my second pass at the render.
fixed composition, added some fog, adjusted beam, added some fill

i dont think i'll be adding any other fx beyond the fog though

09 September 2008, 12:39 PM
Really good thread, wish I had to time to tackle this scene.

L33tace: That's a very nice ground texture, however I think you're right with the lighting. It needs a little work but overall the image is very good. It's just the model's lighting doesn't really match where the sun is, I think it would look nice with some sort of a rim light around the lighthouse.

Matt: I love the atmosphere, however the makes me want to see more of the scene the way it is framed! I love the setting and fog is spot on. Great job.

09 September 2008, 11:34 PM
Hi Jeremy,
How have you been?
I hope you still remember me!
I manage to find some time in the army to do this challenge.
Comments appreciated! Thanks.
Software: Maya, Nuke.

Thanks. Hope that you are doing well. =)


09 September 2008, 12:03 AM
Hi there,
I already can see great renders and here is my attempt...still have to fix some and maybe add something but I'll waiting for input.

09 September 2008, 03:35 PM
diazsoftware - I think you posted in the wrong thread, you might re-post in this one. That's a truly great scene, congratulations! The lighting on the clouds is pretty good, some of the clouds look brighter on the edge away from the sun than where they face the sun, which seems a little strange to me. The hills on the right with the glow around them area really beautiful. I love the rim-lit fence and the grass and birds. The footprints are a nice touch! That left-side window in the little house might be going too bright. If it's supposed to be bright from a reflection, it could use a horizon line. If it's supposed to be bright from seeing brightness inside the house, make the interior clear. Otherwise you could just tone it down so it blends more with the dark side of the house. Can't wait to add this to the gallery!

60WE - Great scene! Your concept and execution looks like a matte painting. The whole foreground looks too dark to me. On the right side of frame, the light and shadow angle looks like the same light hitting the lighthouse, and that's brighter. On the bottom of the bridge, or the edge of where the bridge covers the sky, I'd expect more bounce light and maybe some glow or kick from the sky leaking in. Parts of the lighthouse could be a little darker, especially right under the balcony that runs around the top, it doesn't look shadowed there. There's a hazy blue fog over the distant ruins, it would be nice to see some of that over the darker parts of the lighthouse for continuity.

raylistic - Hey Raymond! Oh, you're doing national service now? Congratulations. The tone of the texture on the tower and the cliffs make them look like they are almost made of the same material in some of those shots. I'd like to see more shaping on the tower, more of a gradient running around it. The little building has a bright side and a dark side, the tower doesn't need to be so evenly lit. The grass and flowers could catch a little more light, especially when the rocks are so bright. The top image would be great if you added more light from just one direction.

golfingmateo - That's great! Nice fog! I think you could do more with the idea of that beam of light there, though. Maybe it could illuminate more of the right side of the lighthouse? Some specular glints could help sell the glass and metal parts reflecting the light, and the parts that the light runs behind could look more back-lit if there were a rim or kick of light from the beam. Especially when bright light shines into fog, I expect some of it to bounce back and get transmitted beyond the narrow cone.

kanooshka - Great start! Boston, huh? Nice city. Haven't been there since SIGGRAPH a few years ago. I think the light hitting the left side of the tower could fade out sooner, so it's only that bright closer to the left edge. The brick texture works well on the tower, on the wide base it looks a little strange though. Maybe some highlights or reflections could help the glass and metal near the top of the tower?

Fex - Nice scene! The sky is great. That rich yellow color could light more of the set, too. The rocks look good, but still seem smooth as if there isn't a smaller scale texture yet.

herbertagudera - That's great! The glow around the top part might be a bit heavy, you could tone that down and add more kicks or rims onto the balcony of the lighthouse to emphasize the light there. I don't know why the tower texture looks so noisy, it has white dots and streaks on it in places I don't expect.

L33tace - Nice scene, keep working on the lighting. Right now the tower doesn't look as if it's lit by the sun at all, the left and right look the same to me.

Ganimate - When in doubt about shaders, use the simpler one. If you can do things with PhongE, and simpler textures, then maybe try that?


09 September 2008, 03:58 PM
Well, here is my first stab at the Lighthouse. I still need to work on the ground to make it not so flat. And the image needs something to make it "pop" so to speak.. hmmm I better get on it! It's been fun so far. This one was done using maya, mental ray/software renderers, and After Effects for compositing.

10 October 2008, 12:24 AM (

Finally got some work done. At this stage I'm not sure about the sand at all.
Maybe growing some grass on it will work?
Otherwise I haven't painted textures specially rooftops yet or adjusted global light colours or added fog etc etc Also want to obviously add the main lamp light across the fog into the horizon etc

I want to try make it a cloudy beach day maybe with some birds and even more trees.

Open to suggestions thanks for the crit Jeremy.

10 October 2008, 03:41 AM
I changed some lights. Dear jeremy What do you think? :) (

10 October 2008, 01:21 PM
Congratulations all to your entries. They are great! and now i realize that this is really hard work! I searched and found about volumetric shaders and added one to my lighthouse. I gave it a try in low resolution. (

10 October 2008, 08:14 PM
MayaSoftwareRender(HD) with OcclusionMentalRay (ca 50%).
PhotoshopWarmingFilter(80) (40%) ( (

Diffrence between the older version:
Added three SeaGulls (Funny thing: Searched on Google for references, the first couple of hits was already used in other peoples renders :) ).
Some footprint on the ground. Fixed the fillLight a littlebit. Duplicated the houseStairs to the LightHouse. Added a "Trygg-Hansa" Life-torus (Dont know the english name for it :), but thanks for the ida Acke.. Tried to deal with the reflection, but without any greater success. Did some handpainted dirtmaps on the windows.. and some scratches... Looked much better in MentalRay render, but... I only use MayaSoftware :) for some reason...

Thanks Jeremy for the critic, maby in the future I ALSO learn more about the "postings" in the right thread.. :)

10 October 2008, 02:46 AM
Here's my next step.

10 October 2008, 01:49 PM
hi all, I have used a new lighting set up for this shot and changed the textures for the lighthouse. I decided to show my render passes and compositing as well, to gain more feedback about my workflow. Maybe I am doing something wrong or there is a better way? Please let me know!

Jeremy: Thanks, but recently I ruptured my anterior cruciate ligament on my left knee and I am due for operation soon. I was injured by an opposition player while playing basketball in August this year. So how have you been?

Edited Shot with new lighting and textures.

My Render Passes

My Composition in Nuke

10 October 2008, 02:01 AM
@Spin99: Good start, your background image looks like an overcast sky which would cast very soft shadows. Your lighting setup right now has very hard shadows, I'd like to see either the background or the sunlight change.

@Inspireart: Awesome job with the rock reflections and water they really feel wet. I'd like to see more of that light blue light reflecting off of the top of the water from what appears to be moonlight, to be seen behind the lighthouse and behind.

@PakosM: Good work, I'm liking your volumetric effect a lot. Your foliage also works very well. I'd like to see the intensity of the sun turned up. To create a stronger direct key light.

@diazsoftware: Fantastic! I have very little to critique. The only things that really pop out at me are the roof of the lighthouse and glass. I think perhaps the diffuse value for the red roof should be toned down, right now it really draws the viewers eye directly to it. As for the glass, I think it could use more transparency, more reflectivity and less specularity.

@Voigg: Good work so far, I'd like to see something done with the sky to give your lighting some motivation and perhaps inspiring you with your lighting.

@Raylistic: Thanks for the breakdown! I like seeing other people's workflow. Overall your image is looking very good. I'd like to see some more variation in your lighting. From what I'm observing the entire cliffface seems very flat with no change in shading. Also, with the shed, the site closest to the lighthouse gets very dark, perhaps even black. I'd imagine that that area would be darker but not to much darker than the area sorrounding it.

Here's my second post:

10 October 2008, 03:51 AM
kanooshka: Nice work! I'm just using basic compositing skills i picked up myself. I been trying to pick it up lately! I love those bumps on your lighthouse and the background image! It blends well. Thanks for pointing out the darkness areas, I will look at them and try to improve it. =D

diazsoftware: I love your piece of work! Really nicely rendered. Hope you can share some of the lighting and compositing stuff you applied! Your work has been one of my favourites for this challenge!

Overall, great work guys! Hope to see more renders coming out from those Graphic Cards!!! :D

10 October 2008, 06:51 AM
herbertagudera - That's great! The glow around the top part might be a bit heavy, you could tone that down and add more kicks or rims onto the balcony of the lighthouse to emphasize the light there. I don't know why the tower texture looks so noisy, it has white dots and streaks on it in places I don't expect.

heres an update (

great renders guys.. thanks for the breakdown raylistic..

10 October 2008, 01:28 PM
Thanks Jeremy,
indeed for the image I did some matte painting and here is the last one with corrections...adding the blue haze over the lighthouse is quite challenging because it is changing the tower shading.

10 October 2008, 03:15 PM
60WE - That's terrific! Congratulations! If you're still up for more retouching, there's 2 little places I'd still tweak. On the right side, there's one surface of the base of the bridge that looks like it should be facing upwards. It's the top of the round base, and it is curved, but it faces upwards. That surface might go a little brighter where it is in the light, but it definately should go darker under the bridge. If the light hitting the bottom of the bridge is going to look like bounce light, coming up from the water, then the upwards-facing surface under the bridge shouldn't get it. The upwards-facing surface can get brighter again out by the beach, just like the sand does, but not under the bridge. The other little tweak would be those birds, they look blurry. If the bridge is in focus, and the lighthouse is in focus, and the distant clouds are in focus, those birds should be in focus too.

herbertagudera - Great job!

kanooshka - Looks good! That warm light hitting the lighthouse looks bright most the the way around until it cuts off, and I'd want to see a smoother gradient from bright to dark following the curvature of the tower. The glass has a very crisp reflection on it and could use a softer glow or highlight from the light. Do something on the right edge of the glass, too, like a rim or kick or reflection. The roof might use some specular or rim or something less matte looking.

raylistic - That's great. Try splitting out that brightest light, the one that hits the left side of the lighthouse and hits a bit of the cliff, into it's own pass, and work on if it can do more in the grass and cliff and maybe catch more into the glass and metal at the top of the lighthouse.

Voigg - That's great! Since you have nice grass there, the ground surface under it doesn't need to be green, it can be earth or rock colored. You could use a kick of sky-colored light onto the right side of the lighthouse. The little house shouldn't have such a sharp shadow cutting its light in half, and could use more light skimming across the roof bringing out the roof texture.

diazsoftware - That's absolutely great! I love it! I think the life preserver (aka "life torus") is a tiny bit bright and eye-catching, maybe making it a little more dirty-colored would help. The roof of the lighthouse looks cleaner and brighter than the unpainted wood below, maybe there could be a compromise there. It seems as if the metal of the lighthouse gets a blue reflection or highlight on the lower left side, but the window on the left side of the house is reflecting mostly red light, maybe the window could be toned down a bit, and also the metal of the tower could reflect less or have a little less specular? These suggestions are all minor at this point, I can't wait to add this one to the gallery.

PakosM - Good start! I think there could be more contrast in the lighting on the tower itself. It would be good if the whole scene got the sunlight from a lower angle or from further back, so the sun was less uniform, and then some fill from the sky could be added selectively from the opposite side.

InspireArt - Lovely image! What's that blue thing on the left edge of frame, with the horizontal stripe on it? Can you get rid of that thing, or darken it so it matches the rocks? On the cliff below the lighthouse, there's also a horizontal stripe between an area lit in blue and darkness below, see if you can debug that, or replace the sharp cut-off with a gradual gradient.

Spin99 - Good start! That sand might be OK if you add grass as you said. The shadows should be cooler colored than the sun, check the difference between your key color and the fill color to make sure those are simulating daylight. The composition with the bright roof right on the bottom edge of frame is a little awkward.

metal0130 - Very good start! I think it needs some kick of light defining the sides of the lighthouse and other things. It can be subtle and cool colored if you don't want sunlight, but there should be some variety there, some gradient defining the roundness of the tower. The terrain looks a little angular, maybe some more vegetation or rocks on it could help sell it?


10 October 2008, 04:19 PM
Jeremy thanks. You really got me wondering about the composition now.
I was trying for asimmetry and some drama maybe.
Do you think moving the camera up might solve the problem?
I wanted to keep the roof red like in some outhouses.
Do I get rid of the house altogether? I was thinking about doing some roof tiles next.

Yes I must get my light colours sorted and check shadows also :)

@ Kanoosha thanks I guess I need to look at the shadows next time the weather gets gloomy. So they'll be getting softer too.

10 October 2008, 10:14 PM
thanks for ur advice Jeremy, did use some more noise levels for the rocks changed composition and grading...

10 October 2008, 10:45 PM
now here is my shotbreakdown: all done in Houdini 9.5 Apprentice, rendered with Mantra, for lighting i used three area lights (one key, two rims) and a skylight, comp was done in Houdinis Halo...

10 October 2008, 11:20 PM
herbertagudera and Hamburgertrain - the egosystem in Vue helps to get a nice ground like that. thanks.

Yeah the lighting isn't right, I added an hdri to the atmosphere but doing that removed the more realistic sun light. I'll rework it, I may not get it done before this thread gets locked and if so I'll post it in the on-going challenges thread.

10 October 2008, 04:48 PM
Hey, New to the forums and all, but I decided to give this challenge a shot, I've got a couple simple scenes so far that I'm working on (posted below). Any comments would be a great help, since I'm new to some of this. For example, I'm just learning how the whole maya ocean system works out...

10 October 2008, 04:52 PM
hi, I've been working on a couple simple scenes for this challenge, and things are begining to work out for me, but I was hoping I could get some feedback, as I'm new to things like the maya ocean system and such.any critique of my renders would be appreciated.

10 October 2008, 04:55 PM
this is another scene I'd been working on, I like the layout actually, but it needs some work still. It was originally my way to not have to deal with the water Just as with the others, any critique would be great.

10 October 2008, 02:03 AM
I switched off the layer that i have accidently turned on :eek:. Haha heres the final image. (

10 October 2008, 07:49 AM
hey guys. i made some more tweaks to my render. tried to address the comments on this thread as well as some feedback from friends. i ended up spending more time on this then i was planning. so far i'm up to 17 render layers.

everyone's renders are coming along nicely. some are really starting to look good. nice job guys.

10 October 2008, 09:00 PM
This is my attempt. It was created using Photoshop for the textures and Blender for everything else.

10 October 2008, 11:48 PM
BlenderFan - Welcome! If you're looking for a place to upload your images (since new accounts don't allow direct attachments so soon) try and just post your image as a link to what you uploaded there. (Of course if you have your own website or create a cgportfolio or use any other hosting site that's fine too...)

golfingmateo - The top of the lighthouse is looking great! With something that grayed-out, I'd like to balance it with something darker and more crisp in the foreground, maybe if you put the fence into focus and textured and rim-lit and added a little vegetation it could balance the fogginess? With weather that extreme, a background with more shading and variety in the sky and clouds could add to the image also.

InspireArt - Great job! That's a really well crafted image. Maybe you are done now? If you're looking for feedback for another version, some of the rocks look a bit bulbous, and the not of the water looks a bit bright, especially the edge of the water to the right of the highest shore-line rock in the shot. That idea of making the top part of the cliff brighter is OK, but maybe if you only did it half as much it would be more believable.

Mullidae - I love the kites! Great idea. The boy flying the kite is a wonderful scene! In that scene I'd love to see more darkness in the water, especially below those rocks on the right. More of a kick of light on the right side of the tower might be helpful too. The next layout is also nice, right now it looks strangely green in color, and the kite could use more brightness to simulate translucency.

Fex - That's awsome! Thanks for providing the Houdini version of the scene and posting the breakdown, too. I figure you're done now? If you wanted more feedback, the only thing that might add a little to the scene would be some depth-fading or haze that could hit the water at great distances, right near the horizon it looks like it's just as clear as the water next to us. Otherwise, you've managed to craft a first-rate scene while you learn a new program as well. Congratulations!

Spin99 - I didn't mean to be too harsh on the composition. Just think about what's happening right on the edges of frame, and make sure the bottom of the image has some nice closure somehow.


10 October 2008, 11:54 PM
Hi, I've uploaded an updated version of my daylight scene and my first attempt at a stormy scene as well. Both are rendered in Lightwave using GI for the daylight scene, but not the storm scene.
I also quite like how the storm scene looks if I make it slightly sepia toned (in a slightly dark, stuck in the last challenge kind of a way:D):

Mullidae: I really like the composition of your most rexent image. One thing that strikes me in your images is that the walls of the lighthouse appear to be very clean and bright, and I wonder if they might benefit ffrom a lower diffuse value.



10 October 2008, 12:15 AM
Thanks Jeremy. I don't think you were too harsh glad to have your crits.
I'll try different things with the roof as I move on to a next wip.
It's really a learning experience for me specially texturing and am fully enjoying XSI.

It's the fastest I've seen MR run on this old workstation and I just keep getting amazed at what people do with the renderer.

Hopefully there'll be something a little more worthy posting here sometime soon.
Also noticed how soft and light shadows get on a grey cloudy day :)

10 October 2008, 03:24 AM
hi jermy this is my software render

10 October 2008, 07:38 PM
Hello all!
very nice and inspiring work guys!
now I had some time to do mine...

rendered in Maya with mentalray (sun&sky...). the images of the background and the seagulls I have found on

I would appreciate any feedback!
many thanks!
keep it up!
larger image can be found here:

10 October 2008, 07:48 PM
whoa, very nice Manki

10 October 2008, 08:15 PM
Heres my quick attempt so far, still lots of work to do on it, but dont know if i'll find more free time to finish it... even the scale isnt correct yet :blush:

10 October 2008, 08:26 PM
i am amzed at the amount of detail in this forum . i stilll cant understand how is tht everyone is able to create so much vegetation in the scene . i wud love to know the secret. amazing work guys keep it up

10 October 2008, 08:39 PM
i am amzed at the amount of detail in this forum . i stilll cant understand how is tht everyone is able to create so much vegetation in the scene . i wud love to know the secret. amazing work guys keep it up

Well i cant speak for the others, but i think pretty much everyone will agree when i say dont expect a final image straight out of the renderer... photoshop is your friend

as for the vegetation:
Enough ram and lots of fur or instanced particles for the grass and plants
lots of mixing different textures for the ground/terain

Your image is verry eye-pleasing. Love the contrast and colors in combination with the sharpness.
Although the tinting and saturation of your scene/lighting doesnt really match with those of the background, i think it gives a nice different effect. But still i think it would look better on a deep darkblue nighttime sky with some sparkling stars maybe and a moon... like you would see in a fairytale.

10 October 2008, 08:56 PM
thanks a lot for your compliment Jeremy :)
Iam trying hard to improve my skills in mighty Houdini...
Maybe find time to do some geometric vegation not just displacement.
This one is with more depth fog.

10 October 2008, 09:52 PM
Here is my lighthouse render, any comments or suggestions are welcome! Thank you.

Software Used: Maya 2008
Rendered Using: Mental Ray + Final Gathering

10 October 2008, 11:02 PM
@Jeremy: I do have a website, and I know what I did wrong. I am trying again.

It is here (

10 October 2008, 11:03 PM
Alright another attempt, I've got better lighting than the last image but I'm not sure if I got the right balance in light. I'll see what else I can come up with or I might try a day time render next see how that looks. :)

10 October 2008, 11:55 PM
Last update for today, no new render (except for a zdepth pass :D ), just some photoshopping...
hope i didnt exagerate... pls tell me if i did.

10 October 2008, 01:45 AM
Added some clouds and more grass, and changed some of the lighting.

10 October 2008, 12:49 PM
thanks jeremy, finally i finished another challenge..

@manki -- awesome picture..

i had a lot fun participating in this challenge.

great images!

10 October 2008, 02:29 PM
Here is some retouch, the second one has been sharpened the whole image and perhaps looks a bit better... at least to me.
Thanks a lot Jeremy!


10 October 2008, 07:24 PM
thanks for your comments!
concerning your scene: looks realistic :)
i have the feeling it must be a miniature and not a real landscape.
i think you have overdone it a bit with the fog/haze - you have lost much contrast.
maybe try to make more variation in the rocks, grass, hills, water and sky. increase details (different materials on tower).
at the moment i see no real focus where to look at. should it be the lighthouse?

thanks. your scene looks like a painting and is cool too!

10 October 2008, 07:50 PM
Tnx manki! Tnx for the comments, some really helpfull info there.
I know it looks like a miniature. I havent scaled the scene it up yet :blush:. The tower is something like 10cm high right now, haha :D

As for the needed point of attention... I honnestly have no idea yet what i am going to do in that regard. Was thinking about a lighting-strike on the tower or something like that (so eventually its quite sure it will be the centre of attention), but maybe thats a bit too complicated for me to pull off, I'll see.
As you have mentioned i still have quite some texturing work and extra detailing to do first.

I'll remove some fog/haze too.

10 October 2008, 09:08 PM
here is the day render :)

10 October 2008, 11:17 PM
Hi guys, really nice renders out here!

Fex: thanks for the houdini insights!

60WE: I really love the look for your lighthouse! Nice work!

L33tace: I love the peaceful mood of your work. Good Job.

Here's my update:

I have brighten the grass and flowers. Added more variation onto the cliff and reduce the darkness of the shadow on the house. Comments appreciated!

10 October 2008, 06:14 AM
great work everyone !

here's my almost complete work ... ( ( (

i may do a daylight scene if i get some time ...

10 October 2008, 11:54 AM
@raylistic: Thank you very much for your words! Your image looks cool, but right now I'm missing the light source of the tower (the bulb) I can only see the volumetric ray. Maybe you could tile a bit more the texture that cover the lighthouse and you could also lower the bump value. Some specular on the top of the tower would be nice.

10 October 2008, 07:16 PM
Here is another... going for softness...pushing color a bit... some gulls may not be in perfect perspective.... just trying to give a feeling that they own that lighthouse.

10 October 2008, 07:35 PM
Just thought I'd recap my posts... all in one.

10 October 2008, 09:32 PM
@mmoses00: congrats!...very strong creations, 5:15 is my favorite its very dynamic and storytelling

@raylistic: you are welcome, the more i learn the more i can tell :)

10 October 2008, 02:57 AM
Hi everybody, this is my first and maybe last entry, but anyway you can give me a little feedback may be I can get a little time to work it. This time I was trying Blender I hope u like it.

10 October 2008, 06:14 AM
thats are some great images mmoses00

10 October 2008, 07:39 AM
I's my first time to post in this "Lighting Challenge (".
Rendered with Cinema and V_ray - for the gras I've used displacement.
I hope to get some critic from you people and make things look bether;-)

10 October 2008, 11:33 AM
your are really having some fun here

10 October 2008, 01:23 PM
mmoses00 , i love the composition in your images :)

10 October 2008, 01:36 PM
@mmoses - how did you do the misty one? especially the mist..

i love them all

10 October 2008, 02:28 PM
Thankyou for the comments! I'll see If I can do one more.

10 October 2008, 04:13 PM
i changed some lights again. (

10 October 2008, 05:54 PM
@mmoses: that's inovative! I like your last one most! very very cool inspiration! thx!

10 October 2008, 08:38 PM
Completed another today... Global Cooling!

10 October 2008, 11:47 AM
I have tried something new...

larger image can be found here:

i like the depth in your images - you always have a nice foreground and background...
some elements are painted in ice station 14, right?

10 October 2008, 01:43 PM
Here is another render - this time AR with the sea from the content browser:-P

10 October 2008, 05:33 PM
manki - On Ice Station 14, I took a photo from a Google image search:
Then I integrated the lighthouse into the scene using 3dsmax/finalRender.
The men walking are video game assets from Activision's GUN Xbox intro (actually Spanish Conquistador models with Gray textures on them).
The Chopper is an Apache Blackhawk model I found on the internet... but all I needed was the doorway/cockpit - that was rendered separately against the backplate.
For speed/time, I painted the footsteps in the snow.... but I could have just as well projected the landscape onto geometry (which I made for a shadow catcher) and had a nice moving helicopter shot.... the men walking are animated...footsteps in the snow could be painted layer that is revealed in comp. I think in motion... this would look less "painted"...Antarctica is a surreal place... many shots of real landscapes there look like matte paintings.

10 October 2008, 08:03 PM
mmoses - thx for revealing a little bit of your shot!
i haven' t meant any negative with "painted". your images are not so sharp as usually cg renders would be. that gives your images something special! and of course - looks very realistic too!

i think the right house behind the lighthouse is too much blured.

10 October 2008, 08:21 PM
Nothing negative taken....

Yes.... glad you noticed that my images tend to be blurred or kind of in motion... like a frame taken from a moving clip. If you go out and take 24P HD video of something moving... or follow an object of interest with a smooth pan.... then look at an individual frame that you think has the best composition/framing/lighting/ etc..... you'll notice that an individual frame from the sequence is not very sharp. It will look in focus and sharp as a moving clip.... but a single frame from the shot has "fuzzy" pixels... even a great deal of "muddy" hues in the darker'll notice that the details are there... but they have distinctly "downrezzed" looking features.

I think that by deliberately keeping my textures minimal, and geometry simple.... I can derive a fairly realistic scene... just by controlling the mood of the lighting and giving "movement" to a still image with blurring, muted darks... as well as depth from careful placement fo darks to lights throughout the scene....

Less is more... the viewer fills in the rest... because we are all problem solvers.

10 October 2008, 10:10 PM

Here is my contribution to this Challenge.
Software: 3D Studio MAX, MentalRay & Photoshop.

10 October 2008, 10:38 PM
Alright, hey everyone. This is my first go at it. After a long time wrestling with mental ray and trying to get fog, it finally worked. But now it's seems a bit much and figuring out how to break up the pattern of the mib_volume node when it's plugged into the volume shader of the camera. I think I might still tweak the light from the lighthouse as it would be nice to get some streaking light rays coming through the fog. Not much of a narrative, but I just wanted to put what I've got in.

10 October 2008, 11:57 PM
60WE: Thanks for the comments! Really Appreciate it! I fixed some of the stuff you mentioned. Are you going to work on one to two more shots?

mmoses00: Very, very nice shots. I feel they are really very well done and the compositing too! Do you mind sharing how you comp it? The latest one on the icy mountain looks really cool!

tassel: Nice work, I love how your rocks turn out. But maybe your ocean/sea should reflect abit more of the sky? That is just my opinion.

10 October 2008, 12:22 AM
raylistic - Well.... in a professional pipeline, you would try and make things as flexible as possible, especially when there are 2 or more supervisors between you and the creator of the project. That means, you'll need to render passes that allow details to be tweaked in the composite after long renders happen overnight. Spec, Diffuse/beauty, Reflection, RGB normal pass, matte passes, shadow passes, etc. It gets technical, and it is not very rewarding as an artist.

For these challenges... and even my current professional work (vfx/lighting for game cinematics), I am relying on streamlining the process by getting good, well balanced lighting on the scene as a whole, and doing the "optical" effects in the comp. That means that I do a fair amount of work..... dialing in a really nice full beauty pass.... only separating the fore, mid, and background elements in their own passes. When I get to comping in Autodesk Combustion, my comp is just the fore, mid, and background layers and adjustments for focus, Color correction/digital gels or filters(the "optical" effects), and haze or effects passes laid in between them. I tend to color correct in "large jumps", that is, I move sliders and/or controls drastically over the top and then pull back to a subtle color correction choice. I do NOT fiddle. I pay particular attention to the values of light to darks..and the "ambient" color of a scene. I also relate everything I am doing to some other film I have seen or a place I have been and seen with my own eyes. Overall, I try and keep things really simple... and predictable... I am rarely surprised in the composite... I know exactly what I am going to get before I start the comp. I am stunned when I hear of compositors working with 500 elements in a comp! I have had at most about 15-20 elements and that got real irritating real fast.

I focus on the minimum amount of work needed to produce a nice image. Many supervisors or TD's will tell you to make every detail, and integrate that into a scene....but it is up to you to distinguish how much is really needed and what you can get away with. There is a big difference between studio, live action work... and all the rest of CG production... and I can tell you from my own experience that the average person does not care and would not even be able to tell the difference between a shot worked on 6 months... or 6 days, yet a vfx supervisor will notice a single frame of minor imperfection with astounding consistency. You'll have to be able to deal with that kind of criticism if you want to work with the big boys. My advice is to be the best artist you can be first... and the rest is just paying the bills.

Just a few comments. Hope that kinda helps! :)

10 October 2008, 01:23 AM
mmoses00: Thanks for the comments. Really Appreciate them. :)

10 October 2008, 04:19 AM
@mmoses: I was wondering if you could share a little bit about how you created and specificly textured the ground in "Misty Morning?"

10 October 2008, 05:07 AM
Blenderfan - That shot is a texture... actually two pics I found on the net... photoshopped together and perspective tweaked to that vantagepoint.... and then camera-mapped-per-pixel onto the terrain geometry. So, its a projection.. which would allow about a 15 degree cam move without breaking/stretching if it was a moving shot.

You can do amazing detail on a moving shot with simply camera projections... using one camera as a camera-mapper so textures are projected from that cam's vantage point....and another camera to render another , moving viewpoint.

Like This Example (

The ground is just a projected texture on simpler geometry.

And there were others whom asked about the mist.
Make a ZDepth pass where the closest stuff is white and the farthest stuff is black.... usually this greyscale zone is set by the render camera's near/far properties, but some renderers allow you to set how many units is "close" and "far". Many renderers can do a Zdepth pass... however most do not produce a 16bit version(tiff or EXR) or do not handle Alphas properly, or do not antialias the objects against the black background. So I frequently use a script that swaps out a 100% luminant white-to black falloff material to all the diffuse channels on the materials in the scene, but leaves their alpha maps intact. Then, turn off all lights. and render a Zdepth pass....

The Zdepth pass can be simply screened/multiplied on top of your scene.. and it does some neat stuff, but it really does nice things when its used as the parameter for ZFog in a compositing program, as well as a Camera or lens blur plugin parameter.

Zdepth is immensely useful to any scene to add realism and depth cues. 4 of the 6 shots I posted are using a ZDepth pass in the composite.

10 October 2008, 05:13 AM
Thanks for sharing your setup, mmoses. I tried out the camera mapping in Blender and was able to achieve some cool results.