View Full Version : Lighting Challenge #20: The Shop Girls

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08 August 2009, 08:38 PM
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 (

Challenge #20 features a store interior and two characters. The challenge is to bring the scene to life using any choice of 3D graphics techniques. The deadline is October 26, 2009, although if you post your work earlier than that other participants can give you feedback. You can download the 3D scene files from here:


This scene was modeled by Giorgio Luciano, Dan Konieczka, and Jeremy Birn. Please credit them for the modeling if you post your renderings on your webpage or include a scene on your showreel. Here's a screenshot of the raw models that you will start with:

As always, changes to the scene and models are allowed. At minimum, you'll need to do some polygon smoothing (subdivision) to some of the larger surfaces such as the character's clothing. If you want to do more than this (use real hair instead of the included hair models, rig and pose characters, add models for store merchandise, or anything else) you are free to add or change whatever you want to the scene. All 3D rendering techniques are allowed.

Please share information about your software and techniques and set-up after you post your scene.

Post all entries by replying to this thread before October 26, 2009.


08 August 2009, 11:17 PM
Yay! Count me in :D

08 August 2009, 11:30 PM
The fbx file appears corrupted?

08 August 2009, 12:13 AM
The fbx file appears corrupted?

Should work now. Please try again.


08 August 2009, 12:20 AM
If you happen to use Maya, please note that the .mb file was saved from Maya 2009. If you're using a version earlier than 2009, be sure to check the "Ignore Version" option in the File Open... options box. (If you're using Maya 7 or earlier, that option didn't exist yet, so you're better off importing the .obj file.)

As always, if you import an .obj file, check that models are all set to be visible in reflections before you try to light the scene. You can change the render stats for all the models at once in the attribute spreadsheet.

The Maya file differs slightly from the other file formats. When exporting to other file formats, the models were un-grouped, some groups of polygon models such as the character eyelashes were combined into a single model, and some display cases got rebuilt because the original display case models produced glitches in PolyTrans. If you want a version identical to what people get in other programs, just load the .obj file.


08 August 2009, 12:21 AM
I have been waiting for this day since the start of my vacation which ends tomorrow! I hope i'll find the time to do this when studying :D .
PS: I watched your dvd course on lightning Jeremy , hi :)!!! I learned a lot :D .

08 August 2009, 12:29 AM
iīm new on 3D [and noob], why this challenge donīt have a XSI file?

08 August 2009, 12:39 AM
Cool - looks very challenging! I'm a first timer and hope to make this a piece for my showreel - in my final year of 3D studies now - looking forward to some critique and feedback!

08 August 2009, 01:28 AM
I don't see the scene file on 3d render. The last update is the Kings Treasure.

08 August 2009, 01:30 AM
I don't see the scene file on 3d render. The last update is the Kings Treasure.

hmmmm......for some reason it does not show up until I refresh the page :)

08 August 2009, 02:02 AM
Is it possible to change the characters? or at least, can those be changed a lot in shape?

seems like a real fun challenge, lots of things to be learned if made.

I hope I can make the time to join!

08 August 2009, 02:54 AM
This is going to be fun.

08 August 2009, 02:58 AM
You can change whatever you want about the characters. There are no rules, do whatever you think will improve the scene.

There is an XSI file on the download page now.


08 August 2009, 03:18 AM
Is it possible to change the characters?...

yes sir! So says Jeremy

As always, changes to the scene and models are allowed...

08 August 2009, 05:09 AM
I was waiting for a long time for this new challange.
Sounds Great will try my Hands on ASAP

08 August 2009, 05:20 AM
o man, This is it. I'm sooooo excited.

08 August 2009, 05:30 AM
sir i have a problem regarding texturing !! i dont have much knowledge how to texture a charecter ! then how should i proceed ?? plz give me some ideas...

08 August 2009, 06:18 AM
I'm already working on an entry. Thanks for hosting these, Jeremy.

Cheers and God bless.

08 August 2009, 07:35 AM

I'm going Modo all the way on this one. I think it would be funny to have one mannequin buying an outfit from another mannequin. How else would a mannequin get her clothes?

Of course, this comes after fixing the floating mesh situation.

08 August 2009, 08:25 AM
Interesting scene. Quite a challenge to do something interesting yet realistic, considering the usually (kind of) ambient light in a big store. Well, at least it's a challenge for me. ;)

For the "girls"... I'm thinking crash test dummies would fit them. Like some kind of test site or something. Yeah, I think I will go that way.

And since we have more than two months I might actually finish this one. Good luck everyone!

08 August 2009, 09:09 AM
Sounds like fun, i think i'll give it a shot.

08 August 2009, 09:17 AM
Ok I am in. My first challange on cgtalk. :)

Two questions about the files.

The FBX download doesnt seem to work for me.

In the LWO file are one file for every object. Is it possible to get one file with all objects inside?


08 August 2009, 12:00 PM
For some reason it says the OBJ file is corrupt when opening the rar file. :cry:

08 August 2009, 12:54 PM

First render. Done with maya software render. Lots of texturing to be done. Lighting is far from over.

08 August 2009, 02:01 PM
this challenge is going to rock, looking interesting. I was away from lighting challenge for long time. But now i am back and i am in. thanks jeremy for the opportunity.

08 August 2009, 02:26 PM
first of all thanks to jeremybirn to give this kindda platform to lighting artist....
hi friends m a student from india now working on my lighting showreel and to learn a lot form u guys so count me.......
for this scene i wanna think about the view from security camera...
using maya software render (not use of FG, GI, AO PASS, RAY TRACE)..
render time 1 minute 5 seconds ........
c&c are most welcome .....
let,s roll.......

08 August 2009, 02:38 PM
@simonjaap: What program are you trying to bring it into? It unzipped and imported just fine into Blender.

Cheers and God bless.

08 August 2009, 02:48 PM
This is my first lighting challenge, so forgive me if my question is stupid. I imported the OBJ into Blender, and noticed that when I separate everything into it's own object so I can assign materials, I see that there are thousands of pieces, (like each individual key on a keyboard) The scene is a bit slow, because of so many things, and it is VERY tedious having to recombine things like the keys on the keyboard, and move their pivot points. Is there a better way to do this?

08 August 2009, 02:59 PM
@ScotchTapeWorm3D: Why are you trying to texture the keys on the keyboards? Unless they are being shown in an extreme closeup, I think they can be very well left alone.

Only separate those objects that you are sure you want to work with individually. Also, before I do anything to these lighting challenge files, I "clean" them. This (in Blender) involved selecting the all scene objects and hitting the W key and selecting "Remove Doubles". This really chops down on the polygon count. There aren't as many problems with this as there have been in previous challenges, but it's still always something I check. This is easier if you wait to separate the objects.

Hope that helps.

Cheers and God bless.

08 August 2009, 03:10 PM
Thanks to Andre Hitsoe and Yulia Goncharencho for suggestion on the character I've modelled ;)
I'm really excited to see this competition !!!

08 August 2009, 04:14 PM
sir wanna know that i posted my renders but d,not see that in this threat this is my first post on cg talk sooo can u tell me the process of posting work here.....

08 August 2009, 04:21 PM
I will try my best.Count me in. Thanks Jeremy!

08 August 2009, 05:21 PM
Hey djPrasun try something new, every time putting blood on the floor wont work! Anywayz as you said lighting is far from finish lets see what you do. This time I am also in.


08 August 2009, 05:45 PM
Hey djPrasun try something new, every time putting blood on the floor wont work! Anywayz as you said lighting is far from finish lets see what you do. This time I am also in.

Hey, Varun. I'm just checking out different camera angles and texture. Thanks for pointing it out. But this is is going to change. Right now I'm just figuring out a nice story for this scene. My first thought is always to make the scene a little violent and see if it works out. But it's not gonna work this time. And welcome to the challenge.

08 August 2009, 05:47 PM
Hey, Varun. I'm just checking out different camera angles and texture. Thanks for pointing it out. But this is is going to change. Right now I'm just figuring out a nice story for this scene. My first thought is always to make the scene a little violent and see if it works out. But it's not gonna work this time.

Try some broken monitors and a dark ambience, itīll be cool. :)

08 August 2009, 05:49 PM
Composition and rough light blocking, still playing with lights/colors, matte shader everywhere. Pitch black in some areas, indirect lighting + couple more lights should help it. Exit sign light is temporary. Rendered with 3delight. (

08 August 2009, 05:58 PM
Try some broken monitors and a dark ambience, itīll be cool. :)
Thanks man. I'll surely try that. I was thinking like some sort of robbery or murder have happened. I don't know man, let's see if something else comes in my head. I has looking for some kind of inspiration from the game MAX PAYNE as it has a very sinister look to it.

08 August 2009, 06:00 PM
Composition and rough light blocking, still playing with lights/colors, matte shader everywhere. Pitch black in some areas, indirect lighting + couple more lights should help it. Exit sign light is temporary. Rendered with 3delight. (

Hehe i think its funny, my rough layout is almost exactly similar to yours :)

08 August 2009, 06:03 PM
Composition and rough light blocking, still playing with lights/colors, matte shader everywhere. Pitch black in some areas, indirect lighting + couple more lights should help it. Exit sign light is temporary. Rendered with 3delight. (
Man, you scene is looking really cool. Like some kind of suspense thriller. Complete the texture and i think your true composition will emerge then.

08 August 2009, 06:20 PM
@simonjaap: What program are you trying to bring it into? It unzipped and imported just fine into Blender.

Cheers and God bless.

It appears my first download didnt transfer right, and it stayed in my cache for some reason. I downloaded it in a different browser and it works fine now. Sorry!

Cant wait to get started!

08 August 2009, 06:38 PM
hi friends first of all thanks to jeremybirn for giving this kindda great platform ....
i m a student and now in these days trying to bake my showreel this is my first attemp on cg society ....
when i started to do lighting always saw this lighting challenge thread m seen your work guys that gives inspration to me , hope i learn lot here and improve my skills ...
sooooo...LET,S ROLL.........
m using software render using depth map shadows (no FG, Gi, AOpass)
render time around 1 minute 5 seconds
wanna to bake a scene looking from the secuarity camera ...
lot of things can be changed by using your critics,,,

critics are welcome...

08 August 2009, 07:07 PM
That's a great idea with the security camera!

08 August 2009, 09:50 PM
participating again! :wavey:

08 August 2009, 11:33 PM
This is cool! I might try my luck on this one.

BTW, bought your book at Siggraph Jeremy.
Itīs great!


08 August 2009, 12:05 AM
o2car - Thanks!

igorvfx - Welcome!

diwanshuguptajaipur - Good start! It's OK to use occlusion, raytraced shadows, reflections on some materials, etc. if you want to. The security camera view looks more like it's on embossed fabric pattern than like video static.

simonjaap - Welcome!

devank - Welcome! Are the objects in the background really that big, or did you do something to make them look bigger?

lunat1k - Welcome! That could be a good start, maybe you'll go for something like the Film Noir challenge?

neotrixstdr - Welcome!

jojo1975 - Great job on both the characters!

ScotchTapeWorm3D - Welcome! Don't do more than you need to with separating objects, etc.

vijaybundela - Welcome!

djprasun - Weclome! I hope you can work the characters into the scene. Good job with the blocking.

FiveEcco - Reload the page and FBX should work. The LWO might not be the best but it should work also.

phil-w8 - Welcome!

ToSt - Welcome!

Chowda - Ouch! What happened to their heads??? I hope you can fix that...

BlenderFan - Welcome!

preetamsaha - Don't try to do anything too fancy in texturing if that isn't an area you feel good, sometimes simple cartoonish scenes can still be well lit.

djprasun - Welcome!

punytjoshi - Welcome!


08 August 2009, 01:41 AM
Hello all. I have worked up a basic setup. The idea is one girl (the customer) meeting her friend (the clerk) after they are both off work. Perhaps they are chatting about clothing, boyfriends, or celebrities before heading off to a night on the town.

The lighting is that of the afternoon, around 3 or 4 pm. That is my favorite time of day, because of what the sun is doing.

The rather odd reflections in the glass case are caused by the glass doors I have added off camera. It's a reflection of the sun filtering through the doors. I am trying to figure out a way to eliminate it.

This was rendered in Luxrender in about 2 hours. It may take less time to converge to an acceptable result, but I was gone while it rendered so I don't know.

Tell me what you think.

Cheers and God bless.

08 August 2009, 03:04 AM
o2car - Thanks!
devank - Welcome! Are the objects in the background really that big, or did you do something to make them look bigger?

Hi Jeremy!

I think it is because i am using a rather long lens and the depth of field is making the objects that are blurred appear larger than they are.

I am going to change my composition, will post it when i am ready "fixing" some things in the scene and when i get it ready to be lit!


08 August 2009, 03:32 AM
I decided to do this lighting challenge, because I'm not that great a lighter, and I feel that this will push me to try new things. I would always just stick to either 3 point lighting, or a simple radiosity render.

Here, I put Area lights where every ceiling florescent light is, and a big one simulating the front of the store. It's not that interesting, but I think that if I make it realistic first, then worry about making it artsy, it would go better. Also, this is not my final camera angle. I just chose an overall shot to get the lighting for now.

This shot took 18 minutes to render.

08 August 2009, 03:38 AM
Hey, Blenderfan. I just thought that I would point out that since you have the sun shadow covering the store clerk's face, it kind of makes it look like a shady business, yet the light on the custumer makes it seem otherwise. It kind of conflicts with itself.

Also thanks again, for helping me out with separating the OBJ!

08 August 2009, 04:27 AM
BlenderFan - For the key light (the sunbeam) try making it come from a different angle, further from the camera. Right now, the right edge of the light runs up the foreground counter, then straight up the background counter, flattening them out in space because it isn't offset to the side with distance. Putting it to the side could also get some shaping on the characters. For the fill light, you could use richer colors, maybe some red in there. Two hours is crazy, that looks like a one minute rendering, if you're using GI or something, turn it off until you have the lighting working better.

ScotchTapeWorm3D - Maybe you can make the practical lights (the light fixtures built-in to the store) more interesting if you space them out more, so there's pools of light that get darker in between lights, and add more small spotlights like track lighting aimed at the merchandise, or add tubes of light recessed inside the display cases? Try to get different colors and tones for the lighting in the back employee area than out in the main store, too, that contrast and the shadows of the walls are important in defining the different spaces.


08 August 2009, 04:53 AM

Using Mental Ray and it took 8:25 minutes to render

08 August 2009, 06:01 AM
Hey jeremy this one's gonna be gr8, count me in.
but one quick question regarding lighting the fluorescent tubes in Maya--- what would be the fastest way to do it(as in render time)?
And i am talking about using the Maya renderer, no MR & also no Area lights.
Thanks in advance :)

08 August 2009, 06:42 AM

Just for fun.

08 August 2009, 06:48 AM
Wow...looks tricky....I'm in!! :buttrock:

08 August 2009, 07:00 AM
Can i change the saturation of the scene.

08 August 2009, 07:54 AM
You can count me in on this one!
Thanks Jeremy

08 August 2009, 08:05 AM
Hi djprasun hy i am IN too....

great Platform,,, first time trying dis challenge
hope to post my first render soon


n plz ppl help .....

Thanks Jeremy

thnx to all
Best of Luck to all...

08 August 2009, 08:28 AM
Hello jeremy sir,here is my entry.As you can see i didn,t work lot on Lighting.Well i just wanted to make a security camera view which is theme of my entry so this time i worked on camera effects.I used 3ds max and post production done with photoshop.Next time i will post textured and well lit entry with character also.It would be great if you could tell us that how can we make realistic security camera view and some tips about vignetting,chromatic abrreation and other optical properties.Thanks.:)

08 August 2009, 10:24 AM
A lot of security camera's on here ;)

I'm taking a bit of a different approach. Redecorated the place a bit (sorry).

Still going to change a lot more probably, but im going for a smaller store.

No c&c required, just an early wip.

08 August 2009, 01:30 PM
hi guys i am back

08 August 2009, 04:14 PM
Hi everyone.
Thanks Jeremy for next challenge.
Thanks Giorgio Luciano, Dan Konieczka for your modeling.

Research lighting (without characters), camera position and composition.

Jeremy, may I ask you a question? When will the new gallery appear? Flashback to Challenge #7: An Eye for an Eye?

08 August 2009, 05:40 PM
Mr.Birn, The character is very difficult to rig and i'm finding it really hard to give an appropriate pose to the character. Can I manipulate the scene to make the character a part of the background or should I have to focus on the character itself? :shrug:

08 August 2009, 07:08 PM
This looks fun. :) I'm working on a project of my own along with this one so I hope I can stay on task and come up with something unique for this scene. The last challenge I was in the mindset of a contract job, "here's this scene. Light it." I'll be a little more relaxed and creative for this scene.

08 August 2009, 07:11 PM
Hey, devank, yes, they're really close ;).

Jeremy, I guess you're right. I'm kind of going in that direction. I've been looking at some scenes from Blade Runner, for something more futuristic and maybe portraying our ladies as androids/robots, we'll see where it goes. Right now I'm doing the unglorious task of archiving the geometry in ribs, so expect updates soon.

08 August 2009, 08:45 PM shot at it....base textures yet. five lights and AO. render time approx. 3 minutes.

08 August 2009, 09:32 PM
Here's my first take on #20...

08 August 2009, 09:34 PM
Thank you Jeremy for this opportunity!

Here's my try. :) (

I want to give some feedback to others:
Voigg: where are the characters? I like your central accent and some side lighting, but try to give some rim lighting to the stuff from the offscreen space to make some contrast.
djprasun: the emboss is still evident, it doesn't work this way. Maybe make some vignetting to force the effect. The colors are good. The big floor plane looks a bit boring, maybe you could place some offscreen shadows to vary the look.
jasvant: this looks much more like a surveillance camera. The characters would be nice, as well as some tonal variation to the textures.
simonjaap: there is not enough accent on the characters for now.
genaf1: (test) try to apply some colors to the materials, wthis will change the approach you light. The upper frame part looks good: there's an interesting variation. But the characters are not emphasized yet.
tuffmutt1: the monitors look to bright, the yellow color could be desaturated quite a bit, as they attract too much attention for now. The characters are well-lit, but the falloff on the floor looks too much like a stage light. You could create another one in the scene to make it look more natural. Also you can try to put the corners of the frame in a relative dark to make them not so uniform.
brookselliott: some blacks are too dark, try to make them a bit brighter not to attract as much attention.
Of course I don't mind others feedback.

08 August 2009, 12:47 AM
mister3d - Good start! The terminator on the character's faces looks very harsh, try for softer gradients moving between light and dark tones on the skin. Their armpits appear to be glowing, make those areas darker. Keep going on the project!

brookselliott - A little start on the surfacing makes a world of difference to the scene. The hard-edged shadows are OK behind the TV, but seem unmotivated on the exit doors. Maybe the employee area should be much darker anyway? Keep going!

tuffmutt1 - Welcome back! It's hard to tell where the overall light is coming from, maybe the fill light could have softer shadows and be less even and less uniform? If the TVs are some of the brightest things in a dark scene, some light from the TVs on other objects would help.

djprasun - Do what you want with the characters and the scene. Now that you've done the camera thing maybe you can tackle working with the characters next?

genaf1 - Good start! I think the round hemi-spheres on the ceiling are security camera housings, they don't need light they are just black plastic like this ( Good start on the other ceiling lights. If you want more lights, you might add spotlights on the televisions, or interior lighting in the display cases. I'll keep you posted on gallery updates.

simonjaap - Nice start!

jasvant - I think "security camera" look is a cliche already. If you're going to simulate flourescent lights, try much softer shadows.

Aragorn79 - Use whatever kind of lights you want. A spotlight with barn doors can brighten a rectangular area below it.

Voigg - Interesting start. It's hard to tell what the diagonal thing on the lower left is. The fill light areas (which are most of the scene) seem pretty uniform, maybe occlusion in the fill light and more directionality could both help?


08 August 2009, 02:48 AM
Looks like fun. Thanks to the modelers and Jeremy for hosting.

I'm going to go for a claymation look with the objects that are in the scene, but if my skills permit I want to try to go for a scene within a scene shot with the clay store within a photo-realistic studio. Maybe that's too out of context?

08 August 2009, 04:45 PM
Thanks Jeremy for the lighting challenge.
Thanks Giorgio Luciano, Dan Konieczka for the modeling

hi my name is bimal and i am from india , i am trying this lighting challenge for the first time , heres my layout , cc welcome :)
done in maya with vray

08 August 2009, 05:03 PM

Just checking out some different light setup and some floor texture.
Maya software render. Let's see, I may have to switch to Mental ray.

08 August 2009, 05:29 PM
Thanks Jeremy:).
here's v2 with a few textures and a new lighting setup. still making my mind to which direction to go with.

here's another test render with a cu with more textures added....low AA:banghead:
and a cu...another low AA

08 August 2009, 08:09 PM
hey all,

this is my first time participating in the challenge and I'm pretty excited about it. Here's my current wip.

I wanted to nail the environment lighting before handling the characters. I haven't touched the texture too much yet either. I'm still figuring out how I want to do the overhead lighting.

08 August 2009, 10:45 PM
I'm in!

this weekend I will post a couple of pics!

08 August 2009, 11:24 PM

Here is my latest update.

08 August 2009, 04:01 AM
little update

little darker. still missing any sort of defined overhead lighting. also some spec issues.

08 August 2009, 04:16 AM
Vesty - Good start! I like recessed lighting, you could porbably put more on the interior sides of the display cases. Keep going!

Voigg - Good start. The whole scene looks underexposed. If you made the bright areas 2x as bright, there could be more contrast.

tuffmutt1 - Great start! The logo images and posters are starting to work, and I like that you have translucency on the skin and a start on the eyes with irises and pupils. Keep going!

djprasun - Good start! Not much light on the characters yet but you're probably still setting things up...

ankithbinu - Making those surfaces reflective adds a lot to the scene. Even without shaders on a lot of the surfaces, the whole space is starting to have a nice presence already.

B4C - Welcome! Do what you want!


08 August 2009, 05:32 AM
I found this composition intriguing and I think I might save it for a future project. I want to stay closer to the theme for this challenge as there are no shop girls in this render. Any C&C on composition and lighting would be much appreciated though.

Going for an after hours look with the flood light as my key light and some fills from the screens and recessed lighting in the display cases.

Maya and Mental Ray.

08 August 2009, 07:11 AM
My first up date

08 August 2009, 07:15 AM
OK this is my Current WIP. I have not done any textural work/Lighting yet Mainly Cuz im doing remodels of the Char in the scene i felt they was too cartoony (no offense) So i am Creating New Models i have my First one completed and mainly i wanted input on it. Its a Full Body model w/ each major body piece separated into its own section i also have the clothing separate also mainly so i have more control over fine Details (granted it's more work).But with the 2 month time on this i believe i can finish it in time. Also i haven't created the Hair system yet that will be done after i finish everything else since that is easy to do with "Shave and a Haircut"

i plan to do the same with the cashier but i want them to look noticeably different.

Well here ya go.
P.S. Great work so far people.

08 August 2009, 07:16 AM
Hi, my first update

I am pursuing 3ds max now.....

08 August 2009, 05:43 PM
@Vesty I love the warm feeling of the scene.
No offense taken for the character. It was intended to be cartoonish. Actually the idea was to have some warm, cartoonish, pixarish, non realistic character (and in my idea scene). also if someone would like to rig the character and to give facial expression a whole set of teeth is there ;)
They were also left as low poly in order to texture without problem.
(I had in mind "the incredibles" when I modelled them). I'm really curious to see some renderman render of this scene or some "heavy" ambient occlusion :)
one thing... the hair can be very difficult to render (and that' why genrally are rendered in passes) I preferred to left the "as stripes" since with trasparency map they can look good ;)

Keep going to all !

08 August 2009, 06:29 PM
I'm really curious to see some renderman render of this scene or some "heavy" ambient occlusion :)

Haha, heavy ambient occlusion is what I had in mind with the claymation look that I'm thinking about doing.

08 August 2009, 06:30 PM
@ Jojo
lol i think i will do 2 scenes one with your guys models and one with mine.... As far a renderman i just bought a copy of it ..... But i don't Know how to Use it (Its a Beast and most of the Options are lost to me. I texture the scene light it but i can't seem to get it to look like i intended it too ( i was self-taught using Maya Hardware/Software/Mental Ray) If you know a good Free Resource for Learning Rendermans Functions in Depth please let me know cuz i would love to be able to utilize it. I wasn't Able to Afford the Studio So Codeding Shaders isn't something im used too ...... Now Shader networks in maya i can do but i think for this project i might stick with MR and when i have the time and knowledge i will use Renderman.

08 August 2009, 06:32 PM
Here is the concept I'm going for. I was trying to think of how I could make this scene interesting so I'm going to go with a post apocalyptic type world and the clerk is in the store and there is something outside the door trying to get. I'm going to repose her with a model of a rifle I've made, there is still tons of work to do, and I've never done hair before so that should be fun to. No textures yet just three spotlights and two point lights in the scene so far. I had to erase all the materials because mental ray wouldn't load, oh well I usually do that anyways.

Thanks all

08 August 2009, 07:01 PM
I also had a question. This is something I Personally have never Tried is it possible to Make the florescent tubes in the ceiling lights Emmit light and shadows? and i mean is it possible to create a Truly light emitting object (not faking it) in maya 2009.

@ Zmuh11 Interesting Approach. Do you plan on using Light fog or a particle system to give a Smoky effect?

@ Coolarena Your lighting Seems Dark and uneven for the environment with those Ceiling lights looking the way they do it should look brighter imo.

@B4C i like your a Approach but try reworking your Textures on the floor they seem with that type of floor that groat (spelt that wrong i think) would be a bump map to give the the tiles depth otherwise its a nice start.

08 August 2009, 07:33 PM
@Chad 5118, my scene is actually using light fog right now but it's not coming through the doors. Though I may just use another light with fog inside the actual door to give that effect. This was just a very early test I have loads of work left to do and with school starting we will see how much of this I can get done, thanks for the comment.


08 August 2009, 07:51 PM
np Zack make sure you have Depth Shadows on Light fog wont work properly otherwise, also Make sure that your Spot light shape Extends to the point where you want your light fog to stop.

08 August 2009, 08:48 PM
okay i'm still a noob, but should there be a significant difference in Maya between the renderview window's renders and the Batch Render's rendering? They're using the same RenderSettings, right? When I try to get the lights adjusted to where I like them in the renderview window, the batch render picture is several notches brighter. Granted the overall product has better reflections and ambient light, but it also takes longer (the last one just took an hour with just Area lights in the ceiling) and I guess I'm wondering if there is a way to get the Renderview Window's product look closer to the Batch Render product.
Can anyone help me? Should I just avoid using Batch Render altogether or are there some settings that I could adjust to get them similar?

08 August 2009, 09:21 PM
My start on the lighting and texturing...

08 August 2009, 09:37 PM
Hello everyone!

Here's my rough layout and temporary lights so i can start making my shaders.

Idea is that some parts of the ceiling are made of glass and moonlight will come through that.

08 August 2009, 09:45 PM
Hey, Might be a little late to this challenge but ill give it ago, :D

08 August 2009, 04:17 AM

I think what you would want is an area light?

08 August 2009, 04:21 AM
Another update...

08 August 2009, 04:33 AM
brookselliott - Looking good! The TV screens could get brighter and more reflective, I think. Right now they just look as bright as posters to me. See if you can get some more bounce light on the front of the counter, and more reflections or highlights on the black plastic. I think the background area might go darker and more saturated for contrast. Keep going!

devank - Using the security camera housings as if they were lights might be problematic, we'll see. There's a lot of fill light in the room, probably you should turn the light on the floor down and make sure it casts shadows or is darkened by occlusion. Some more color in the lights could help.

psycosven - Good start! A scene like that could benefit from having dark shadow areas in some places.

VinVang69 - Render view should show the same thing as batch. You don't mean the real-time viewport, you actually mean the Render View window isn't matching batch? Maybe you're batch rendering using Mental Ray, but using the Maya Software Renderer for the render view? Or you're opening the batch image in Photoshop and have PS's own color settings changing your view? Something else going on that you're not telling us?

chad5118 - You can have truly light emitting objects (using Final Gathering and/or GI in Mental Ray) but that's not the most practical solution. You're better off using area lights, or spot lights with the MR area light option turned on, to simulate the light from the tubes, plus giving them a material with a bright incandescence. I look forwards to seeing your re-modeled characters.

zmuh11 - Good concept! That could look great!

coolarena - Keep going!

B4C - Good start. The darker areas seem grayed-out with a lot of ambient light. For a night scene, you could use more contrast, with really dark shadow areas in places, and bright spots and highlights used selectively. I guess having the emergency lights turned on is OK if it's supposed to be a power failure, but then why would the TVs be on too? Or maybe I'm just thinking too much. :)


08 August 2009, 05:00 AM

Let me know what you think.

08 August 2009, 09:03 AM
Another take at it
1) Lights on the ceiling need to act more like area lights instead of point lights ( they are area lights but are looking like point lights at some places, will figure that out later).

2) I don't want any specific focal point in this scene, i want it to look like a TV shop but with our characters in it, which is why i have subtle depth of field and contrast in lighting to help pop the characters out but just a little, not too much.

Edit: P.S. Thought maybe it would be useful to share this info: using mainly area lights and directionals to light the scene and using an environment map for reflections on the glass. No FG/GI, Occlusion is point based, no raytracing Using Maya + PRMan for rendering.

Also, still working on getting the tv image to look proper

Oh and for those who still haven't checked the Avatar trailer, you are missing all the fun!

08 August 2009, 12:35 PM
I am unable to open the .mb file(may be .mb file appears corrupted)

08 August 2009, 01:39 PM
@devank- Don't u think that the tube lights are emitting very less amount of light. Anyway, a very cool concept indeed.

08 August 2009, 01:40 PM

As you said, Mr. Birn. I'm trying to bring the character in the scene.

08 August 2009, 03:54 PM

I used a bit of photo shop in this image. Still nowhere close to what i have in mind.

08 August 2009, 04:35 PM
I think the Levels might be getting tweaked between the Batch Render and the Render View renders. After some tinkering in Photoshop with the Levels Adjustments (and by tinkering I mean moving the grey tab towards black) I was able to match the image made by the Batch Render. I'll see what I can adjust in the Camera Settings to see if that works out, but I still can't imagine there would be a difference between the two rendered products.

Oh yeah, I switched all the room surfaces to a default Lambert for the lighting phase for a quicker render time.

Here's the two images I'm getting (unfortunately the Batch Render isn't in a file format suitable for uploading on the web so I'll show you the Photoshopped image that matches)

and here's the Level Adjusted image

08 August 2009, 06:43 PM
@djprasun Hey! Thanks!, Yeah i think so too, i will fix it :) I like your color corrected version!
It looks nice with depth of field, gives its a film look to it

08 August 2009, 07:00 PM
Hello Everyone !!

Here is my render of the shop girls. Still lot of tweaking to be done, fix the blown out area of lights and change the color of key light to make it look more towards golden hour. (
By nesco66 (

Nirav Sheth

08 August 2009, 07:04 PM
@ Devank - I like the over all look of the scene. Loved it !!

08 August 2009, 02:57 AM
niravsheth: I like what you have going on but your shadows are very hard shadows.... you need to work on them. Keep it up.

08 August 2009, 03:23 AM
Current WIP its far from Done Lighting is still off. But The first Character is Fully Textured as well as the Floor(might Tweak it) and the Wavy wall-like separator. The other Model is next. Currently only lights in the Scene are Quadratic Falloff MR Area Lights with a Intensity of 32000 GI is on as well.

08 August 2009, 04:58 AM
@chad5118- I think you are using mental ray right, then i thing you must decrease the photon or something like that as some part of ur image appear to very whitish. Anyway, your character is really hot, can't wait to see her when she will have hair. ;) :thumbsup:

08 August 2009, 05:07 AM
chad5118 - For the orange woman, try to give some shaping to her shirt so it doesn't look pure black, maybe a brighter cloth texture or some top-light would do it. The foreground woman just needs some work on her hair, shirt, and eyes, the skin is a good tone though. The photons don't seem to add much, you could turn off GI when testing your lighting. Try giving less diffuse brightness to the metal posts, so they look reflective instead of diffuse. There's a lot of gray in the scene, including the gray back wall. Some of the gray might go away when you turn off GI, but maybe you could also move some shelves back there to give depth to the scene and make it looks more like a store from your camera angle.

niravsheth - Great start! The right side looks strange, the way a customer would just be facing the back of those display cabinets if she walked there. Maybe there should be a wall on the right, at least one of the wavey ones copied there? Or we could use a more vertical aspect ratio instead of wide-screen so we don't see the right area? Either way, keep going, that could look great.

VinVang69 - You can use the File > Save function from the Render View to save those images in the same format. What file format is it? Are you sure it isn't a problem with Photoshop's color settings? If not you haven't explained what the differences are. Your scene is off to a good start, but I don't know where the light is coming from. You might try making the ceiling light come from the rectangular fixures.

djprasun - Your color-corrected version is a better start on the colors, you might go back into Maya and adjust your lights to be more similar to that. You can keep the saturation on the Exit light. The yellow area above the TV might be too bright, you could tone that down and just add some rim or reflection near the top of the TV to help it pop from the darker background. The shelves seem to fade into the doorway the way they line-up, you might make the selves end sooner or put posts at the edge of the shelves to separate them.

lightDVK - The mb file is working fine for other people. Be sure to extract it from the .rar file, and read post #5 of this thread.

devank - Good start! The characters could use more top-down and rim light and some bounce coming up onto the faces. You might use 2 or 3 of those lights along the florescent fixtures so they don't seem so focused just in the center. Some reflectivity on the floor and a few other fixures could help them. The image on the TV happening on the left side draws your eye to the left side of frame, I'd say either put images on other TVs or leave that one off. Keep going!

Voigg - I don't think all the photons are helping the scene, you might turn that business off until you've gotten further with the lighting. The light coming through the door in the back could be much brighter, and you might play-up the back-lighting and rim-lighting on objects in front of it too. Some of the fill lighting on the bags and things near the floor seems a little bright, having darker shadow areas would add to the contrast and build a sense of being a night scene. Many of the surfaces have a very matte finish, when I think TVs and other fixtures should be more reflective and shiny.


08 August 2009, 05:22 AM
devank - Good start! The characters could use more top-down and rim light and some bounce coming up onto the faces. You might use 2 or 3 of those lights along the florescent fixtures so they don't seem so focused just in the center. Some reflectivity on the floor and a few other fixures could help them. The image on the TV happening on the left side draws your eye to the left side of frame, I'd say either put images on other TVs or leave that one off. Keep going!

Hi Jeremy, Thanks!

I'll add the rim and bounce :), the image on the tv was just a test, the image is done in post so i can have more control of it :), i will put images on all the TVs and if that doesn't go well with the rest of the image then i can have it as if all of them were turned off.

Yeah, i was thinking of adding some blurred reflections on the floor.

Thanks again!

08 August 2009, 05:30 AM
So I got a question guys.
I'm changing my character's outfit and remodeling some parts of her and doing the hair in a separate file then referencing the character back into the scene file. I was working on the hair tonight and when I referenced my character back into my scene file the hair control curves and the brush strokes can into the scene but when I rendered the hair didn't render and Maya (2008 btw) gave me an error message saying, "the referenced file contains fur, make sure your fur globals are correct"

Anyone got any ideas, I was thinking about just importing the character and maybe that would fix the problem but I like referencing so I can update the character and not have to reimport everytime I change something.

Some cool entries shaping up. This will be fun.
Zach H.

08 August 2009, 07:11 AM
niravsheth - Great start! The right side looks strange, the way a customer would just be facing the back of those display cabinets if she walked there. Maybe there should be a wall on the right, at least one of the wavey ones copied there? Or we could use a more vertical aspect ratio instead of wide-screen so we don't see the right area? Either way, keep going, that could look great.

Hi Jeremy, Thanks for the feedback !! :)

I will try and make the changes accordingly. Will try to put up something interesting.

Thanks once again....

Nirav :)

08 August 2009, 07:14 AM
Update WIP ( /w attempts at suggestions from jermey) also Second Character Done(still Finalizing the Hair on the second Model(cashier) Did some Rough pre-textureing on the surroundings as well as some objects. Even though i have checked my area lights visable option im still not getting the visable light source. and the security cam wasn't supposed to glow. as you can tell i have several issue to work out but im satisfied with the cashiers Textures as well as the ceiling. and the body for the Customer. I plan on doing a more realistic Cloth for the dress.
Render time was 2h 50min

08 August 2009, 07:49 AM
Hey everyone,
here is my first render post, any advice would be appreciated. I'm looking for ways to make the scene's lighting more interesting. I'm having some trouble breaking away from that standard flat ambient lighting that you usually get in department stores.

Rendered With: Maya 2008 (mental ray, FG enabled)
Render Time: 00:56:00 (approximately)
This render was color corrected and composted with a depth of field pass, and an ambient occlusion pass using Eyeon Fusion 5.21.

08 August 2009, 11:20 AM
I have rendered two images with different saturation and exposure, Can anyone tell me which one i should keep on working with. Iam finalizing the colour scheme now. I haven't textured the models yet. :hmm:

08 August 2009, 11:40 AM
i would say the second one imo

08 August 2009, 12:04 PM
@ chad5118- Thanks man

08 August 2009, 12:26 PM

This my new composite of the security camera image seen inside the monitor.

08 August 2009, 02:20 PM
I guess I'll just save the image from the Renderview Window from now on so my test renders will be accurate in the final product. The problem I was having was in the difference between the two renders where the Batch Render was significantly brighter than the Renderview image. After taking it in Photoshop and manually adjusting the gamma levels, the images matched so I'll try to adjust the different attributes within Maya relating to gamma correction and see if that fixes anything.
Also, I don't think Photoshop is doing anything to it outside of my adjustments since the Renderview images aren't being changed in any way when I upload them in there.

I'm glad you posted your rendertime, I was getting frustrated that mine was taking so long and was wondering what anyone else was experiencing. I like your latest scene. Your characters look fantastic and the those red walls look very realistic, but so far the floor seems off, as if the texture is too big and needs to be scaled down a little.

08 August 2009, 03:05 PM
Сontinue to texturing/shading.
That will be displayed on the monitor screen I have not thought.
Jeremy thanks for the explanation of security camera :)

08 August 2009, 01:09 AM
Updated WIP : Remaped/adjusted Textures, Started Base work on TV/Cashier Monitor textures, Finalized Cashiers Hair.and Only Main Problem is My Area lights are not visible even though i set the option for them to be.
Render time : 3:01:04.61

08 August 2009, 05:30 AM
Hy Jeremy, thanks for another challenge .. I want to create two images, one with natural lights and other with artificial light.

This is natural light. I will start to work with the character.

Software: Maya 2009
Render: Mental Ray - Just Direct Lighting without GI.

Any comments are welcome.. Thanks.

Eduardo R.

08 August 2009, 06:26 AM
Sweet, no one has taken the "shafts of light" idea yet. That one is all me.

The tiki heads and icons are just place markers. I wish Modo had a runtime function that would output cameras to each element. I know its possible with mental ray, but then again, I still wouldn't know how to do it.

The character fix is coming on Sunday. Hold me to it.

08 August 2009, 07:28 AM
dpendzich - if you make the TV a little bit reflective, it is posible that
your image look more interesting.

djprasun - I like the second one.

Chowda - I like your style, but in my opinion try to fix the lights or shadow stairs in your image, your image have a soft style and that shadows is too strong.


08 August 2009, 09:03 AM

I am still work on it... looking to add Caustic in the cabinet still, just need to view more reference images before I do it.

08 August 2009, 05:04 PM
SageTim - Try adding some highlights or reflections to the glass, but getting rid of the refraction. The textures look really good, although some seem to be stretched wider than they should be. Hope you can find a better angle on the scene.

Chowda - Welcome! I'll wait for your next version to comment.

eduroam - Good start! Make sure all the reflections (in the TVs, security camera housings, etc.) match the lighting and reflect those big windows. I hope you can keep the light direction from coming too much from behind the camera and get some shaping and shadows into the scene. Keep going!

chad5118 - Take another look at the levels of saturation you're using. If you wanted to keep the red dress as a way to call attention to her torso, that's fine, but the super-saturated red purse looks really unnatural, and the orange skin looks almost florescent in places. For the set, you might take all the parts that are not the counter and characters, and translate them all back, adding depth to the scene so you see more of the side shelves and side wall and doorway, and less of the empty wall to the left.

genaf1 - Looking good! I like the story idea, and I like the start on some of the texturing. I'm not sure where all the light is supposed to be coming from, if you could limit it to a few light sources and let the scene get dark or get shadowed where the light doesn't hit, it could look more solid. Keep going!


08 August 2009, 12:06 AM
Ty for the Feed back Jeremy. I Found that my Customers texture was too Dark i lightened it and from my Current FG pass which is running as we speak seems to more match the tone of the other character i also Pulled the TV shelving from behind the camera and put it on the wall and took the rounded Case and moved it to the left of the camera giving a purely reflected surface to add depth. i Also made a Camera Adjustment to Better Suite the Changes made i will post a WIP image when its finished (i have very long render times). Also i plan on Doing a Similar Image map on the Tv's and monitor. But i passed on doing that on my Current render Due to the fact when i try and map the Image its seems to be too large(mainly because this is something i have never tried before) is there a specific method that your supposed to use when applying a 2d Image onto a Face of a object?

08 August 2009, 01:55 AM
Updated WIP. Ok These are things im aware of that need fixing. The Head Texture of the Customer Needs to be Color corrected to Match the Modified Body Texture. The Reflective Materials on the TV's and Monitors are more placeholders than anything. I still haven't started on the Hair system on the Bald Model, the Till is not been Textured nor the Money in it. I still am Deciding on the Counters Texture i May just remove the Reflectiveness of the Lower half.

Render time : 3H 23M 44S

08 August 2009, 07:03 AM
Thanks Jeremy. I made some change, I add more specular lights, to simultated the reflection of the windows, and increase the contrast of the shadow, and really thanks.

Software: Maya 2009
Render: Mental Ray - Just Direct Lighting without GI.
Correction: Photoshop.

Eduardo R.

08 August 2009, 12:03 PM
Nice start, Voigg, keep at it.
update: (

08 August 2009, 03:26 PM
Updated WIP: Working on The hair for my Customer model. Basicly As you can Tell i still need to Add constraints to the back of her skull (the small bald Spot) which i only was Able to See after i render it lol. Also its only a Base shader on the hair I plan on Add my Detail to it once i finish most of the other Texture Work.Most of the things from my Previous post are still not done mainly the TV's/monitor, counter, and Cash till/cash.

08 August 2009, 03:29 PM
I may need to repost my Image. After Viewing My actual open exr image not the render view in maya it seems that i had more detail than i previously thought.

08 August 2009, 03:33 PM
this is try at the challenge still a wip, need to change the value of the ground color
and work on the lighting coming from the back window
need to add an enviroment as well to reflect some sky color,and largely work on the shading
C&C is welcome

sorry but its a link

08 August 2009, 03:49 PM
WEll it seems at the moment i can't Upload the Image. My .tiff (the only Format PS CS4 can Export from the exr format that is supported by my Image host) is too large. trying to find a place that supports larger files sizes. I really want to use these Open EXR images for the fact that Data in my Render viewport are well not showing what i see in this file.

08 August 2009, 05:14 PM
chad5118 - Maybe the reason that your image in render doesn't see the same in the render view is because your image is EXR and that image usually is 32 Bits and maya in the render view is not 32 Bits. (i don't work with this extension but the same happen with the HDR format, with this format i work), maybe you can export only in photoshop in tiff, because tiff supported 32 Bits. When I work with HDR, I have to do Tone Mapping, this proccess convert an image in 32 Bits to 8 Bits, when you convert in 8 Bits you can export to any format (JPG, GIF, etc).

To do this in photoshop you just changed the bit image to 32 Bits -> 8 bits, and a windows show you some options that you can changed.

When I use 32 Bits image, and try to use After Effects, because photoshop have some limitions for this format. Well I have CS3 and i don't know if new features are in CS4.

Eduardo R.

08 August 2009, 06:25 PM
chad5118 - I'll bet as you work with Photoshop's tone mapping options you'll manage to convert your image into 8-bits a channel and save as a .jpg file that has whatever gamma or color correction you want. If rendering to .exr is causing your headaches, though, you could switch to rendering 8 bits a channel into a .png or something, and just adjust the lighting in the 3D scene if the output looks too bright or too dark.

Do whatever you need to simplify and speed-up your workflow. There's a danger that if each version takes too long to render, you'll be fighting with issues in how the fill and bounce light are rendered through GI without getting all the basic tones, lighting, and texture looking really good first.

The area under the counter looks strange to me. It has a reflection of a floor, but no apparent reflection of the clerk standing in front of it. It also looks very similar in tone to the floor, which makes it visually confusing. If you darkened that surface and made the clerk reflect in it, it might look better. The black plastic is going too black, if you could put some lighter reflections or highlights on some of it, maybe some rim along the top, it would stand-out better. The texture on the purse could be much finer in scale. The hair on the customer is off to a great start, but the hair on the clerk seems blocky.

Omarios - Keep going!

lunat1k - Good start. A blade-runner style shot could look nice.

eduroam - Looking good. The TV screens still don't seem like glass, maybe some highlights and reflections will help? Make sure there are shadows or occlusion in your fill light, especially around the boxes in the display cases.


08 August 2009, 09:42 PM
First attempt, trying to keep the doll look for the girls.. strange result but, for 2hr working on it i think looking good ))

photoshop used just for depth of field effect and hair of the seller girl. (

08 August 2009, 09:49 PM
Hello there, Hi Jeremy

Here's a first draft pass,
I have to say that I'm not very inspired for the moment, but maybe I'll have more luck a little but later. I'm really curious the see how it will turns out :)

@tuffmutt1, nice one ! :)

08 August 2009, 05:43 AM
Here's another update with bounce lighting added and removed shading/ brightened TV monitors.. Added more textures and a few more area lights..

08 August 2009, 05:49 AM
Here's a different take on the scene I've been working on. More of an Apple store look..

08 August 2009, 06:48 AM
work in progress !!

08 August 2009, 02:37 PM
another wip am working on the fire alarm texture etc. along the door and stuff

08 August 2009, 08:24 PM
Count me in:) thanks for this great oportunity!

08 August 2009, 12:08 AM
No big changed... I add some reflection, shadow, i render in more resolution to test the texture. I have to work a little bit in some things.. And well start with the characters.

Thanks Jeremy, I really forget the shadows in the box, and I add some reflection in the TV Screen, not much, because i see in a store, that this screen don't reflect soo much, and also i see the reflection usually is blurring.

Software: Maya 2009
Render: Mental Ray - Just Direct Lighting without GI.
Correction: Photoshop.

Eduardo R.

08 August 2009, 12:08 PM
Hello jeremy sir,Here is bit improvements in lighting.:hmm:

08 August 2009, 03:47 PM
changed the wall color,and reached a ground color to work with,need to work on the lighting on the cashiers any inputs wud be greatly appreciated

08 August 2009, 06:37 PM
Another update with suggestions added. Also added bone rigging for hands so I could practise posing fingers. Never done any figure posing before and found it to be tedious but tons of fun...

08 August 2009, 03:13 AM
Hi people,
Jeremy thanks for this new opportunity to train my lighting ^^

Here my first try on this scene. No Gi FG etc.
I'm getting ugly artifacts for the shadows so I guess I need to increase the settings. Also haven't done any bounce light or artificial lights except the light behind the plastic panels. I want to have them look translucend with some lights positioned behind. So far I set up only the "natural lighting". Sin is a standard directional light while for the diffuse lighting I tried out a area light with a mia_portal light attached and a blackbody-thingy. The portal light is connected to the light shader, the blackbody is connected to the color multiplier of the portal light. Is that the correct setup?!? Any advices for that would be welcomed since it's the first time I use mental ray specific lights ^^ (

08 August 2009, 03:18 AM
Hey everyone! This is my first lighting challenge so I'm looking forward to taking this to completion. This was rendered in Max 2010 using Mental Ray with GI and Final Gather. I'm just blocking in the materials right now so eventually I'll do more texturing. One thing I'd like to add later down the road is some depth of field so the wall of tv's behind the two girls aren't as in your face as they are now.

08 August 2009, 09:32 AM
Hey Everyone, Here is my latest render.

I thought I'd take a different approach to this scene since I wasn't really getting any feedback from you guys with my previous post.

Now I'm going for the look of a flooded store interior the morning after a heavy storm. The storm has cut out all electricity for the building and the only source of light is from the sun.

I'd like to ask some questions to help me get some feedback:
- Is my render too over-saturated?
- Does my render have too much contrast?
- Should I rearrange the scene to create more wreckage? do I have too much wreckage?
- Would changing any colors/textures help my overall composition?
- Does the water look realistic? How could I improve it?

Thanks Everyone!!

Rendered With: Maya 2008 (Maya Software Render)
Render Time: 19 Min 27 Sec
Composited With: Eyeone Fusion (color correction, bloom effect, and ambient occlusion)
Shading Method: Depth Map Shadows
Lights Used: 3 spotlights to simulate sunlight from windows, an array of volume lights to simulate bounce light inside the store, and 1 ambient light to lighten the darks just a notch.

08 August 2009, 06:50 PM
Ok, i updated quite a bit on my previous render and now it should look a bit better ^^ (

I'm using GI now to get rid of the noise. I positioned several point lights behind the translucend panel to get a nice effect. The material for the red panel is a standard anisotropic material with a bit of translucency, lots of reflectivity and a very subtle glow applied to it. In front of the red walls i have a big area light with low intensity and red color that helps to give a nice color bleeding effect, so I don't need to use uber-settings for GI. For the diffuse lighting I use the mia_portal light. However I notice that it doesn't give convincing shadows on the boxes and the objects on the desk. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong on that? Maybe I should use AO for that. Later I will give it a try.

I'm not sure what I should do with the security camera. I wanted to use it as a light but maybe I don't need them and just leave them away.

Any comments are welcome!

Regards Leonard

08 August 2009, 03:42 AM
Hopefully this is alright with the rules. I'm thinking of attempting to make a Robot Chicken-esque take on this scene...

Example WIP:
(Darth Vader model from

If completely replacing one (or possibly both) of the girls is against the rules, please let me know. :thumbsup:

08 August 2009, 04:13 AM
Looking forwards: I'm going to try to keep the feedback coming on this thread until I start teaching my CG Workshop ( -- actually student feedback starts a week before be 21st. Once I need to work with the students every day, I might not be able to post in this thread as often. I know some of you are in the Workshops also; I just wanted to mention this here so nobody's surprised...

leonar3d - Good start! Security camera housings are usually very dark but reflective, like a black mirror. Regarding the missing shadows for the boxes, it might be a trace-depth issue where you can't see the shadows through the glass. The lack of shadows under the cash register looks like you need shadows on your fill lights, or occlusion. Keep going!

dpendzich - Good start. Try putting a water-line on the furnature, walls, glass, and boxes that are getting wet and damaged by the water. If some of the boxes floated that could help too. For the water itself, it looks very clean and very yellow, like a wavy plastic surface. Try to get the miniscus to interact with the geometry better, or put a rim of bubbles and sedement at the edge borders of the water. The waves should radiate out from the floating objects. The waves should also displace the water, so you don't get crisp diagonal lines as on the board on the right. If lots of water is too hard, then some puddles and buckets of water on the floor might be just as good.

BrianSchultz - Good start!

brookselliott - That's looking great so far. See if you can think of a way to depart from the uniform lighting of the overhead florescents. They are OK, just not very dramatic, maybe if there were fewer of them or the more tack lights on the merchandise or recessed lighting inside the display cabinets or more color contrast in different areas, something could make the lighting more engaging?

Omarios - Welcome. Great start on texturing the wall and door, it seems like your scene is going to look terrific. Keep going!

jasvant - Keep going with adding color and characters. Make sure the shadows or occludion are working, even inside of the display cases.

eduroam - Looking good. Maybe the back-room area shouldn't be yellow, so yellow can just be the sunlight color, and the other parts of the scene could go dimmer and more purple or something? The boxes look better, occlusion would help even more there. The TV screens could have some reflection and scanlines, something so they don't look too perfect.

preetamsaha - Welcome, keep going!

brookselliott - Great start with the layout. When you get to lighting, see if the different areas (outside hallway, customer area, backroom area...) can have different feelings, as if they were lit differently.

PaQwak - Welcome, keep going with that!

Slazzo - Good start, she looks really mortified to see that error message!


08 August 2009, 11:38 AM
ok guys, I need some help

I was trying to create a nice shader to use for the displays. I like the way the anisotropic shader creates specular on the screen (i'm using maya 2009 just in case), however the reflectivity is greyed out so I don't have control over it. Anyone know how to make it work or is this option for the anisotropic material unavailable?!?

Thanks Leonar3d.

Whoever answers the questions correctly gets a ticket for a free beer redeemable on sight :D

08 August 2009, 05:44 PM
@ Jeff :)))))) so funny ! really looking forward for your render !

08 August 2009, 05:48 PM
@ BrianSchultz (
I really like the work you did with the shader ! Try to apply some otrasparence map to the hai or just use some displace to have them more detailed. You can also try to smooth the body of the models to have them less "polygonal" on the hands ! Keep going

08 August 2009, 12:05 AM
Fun scene. This is a sort of random rough lit scene, I will likely change some poses and props, but I am happy with the lights. Will also work on the textures. I notice that Lux SubD is not doing what it should as you can see in the purple clothes on the "clerk", the blender SubD is applied on the customer and it looks fine.

Software: Blender 2.49
Renderer: LuxRender 0.6 RC5
Method: Bidirectional Path, Metropolis Sampler
Render time: about 20 Hours

I am testing LuxRender since the new release came out, and I have never really used it but always wanted to. I like it since you can do some live tweaking to the light groups and it has some neat lens effects and other nice features. Im thinking I need to let the render go longer next time, I see funny spots like the customers' chin having red on it from the shirt. I think that would also fix the graininess.

08 August 2009, 12:41 AM
Took a little break but I'm back at it. Rearranged the scene a bit and plan to add some more stuff to the scene soon, then on to texturing. Just wanted to post an update.

08 August 2009, 01:06 AM
however the reflectivity is greyed out so I don't have control over it. Anyone know how to make it work or is this option for the anisotropic material unavailable?!?

Whoever answers the questions correctly gets a ticket for a free beer redeemable on sight :D

For Anisotropic Shaders, there are preset reflections, to bypass it you need to uncheck the box labeled "Anisotropic Reflectivity" in the Attribute Editor, then you can adjust the Reflectivity slider.

Any chance on getting that beer mailed accross the globe? ;)

08 August 2009, 02:53 AM

Let me know what you think

08 August 2009, 08:49 AM
I'll give this one a shot. First step:

08 August 2009, 11:44 AM
Hi there, I'm in. Was not able to start earlier.
Hoping to learn a lot with this,

08 August 2009, 11:49 AM
@voigg: I like your scene, looks very moody ^^ There is a little light/highlight in front of one of the screens on the right that looks a bit random. Not too sure if the background blur is working too well, maybe someone else can comment on that. I think I'm missing a main focal point in your composition. But overall mood is nice

@TyDel: It's just a matter of time until I cross the big pond and than u gonna get your beer :buttrock:

08 August 2009, 01:00 PM
Hi this is my 2nd try

08 August 2009, 08:19 PM
Still playing with lights, gotta hurry - time is ticking!

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08 August 2009, 09:25 AM
Hello, I could not post for a week as my computer's motherboard have crashed. Now I have upgraded it and its running as fast as a ferrari. Here is my latest render. I dont know much about texturing a character and its giving me a lot of headache. Please suggest what changes are required in the light setup. Can any one help me with the hair?

08 August 2009, 01:59 PM
Well guys i may have to postpone mine. Im currently Working on a Game MOD using the Source engine and its going to take up most of my Time. i will try and get some renders in since i was near finished.Minus somethings but i wish the best from all of you on this challenge.

08 August 2009, 04:02 PM
working on textures !!

08 August 2009, 04:06 PM
djprasun - That's coming along well. I think the light on the wall behind the TVs is too dominant in the scene, you might shape it into a smaller area, as if it came from some spotlights, and make sure the shelves cast shadows in it. The TVs could be brighter. There are many options for how to create hair, depending on what program you're using. You could use "real" hair or fur, or else you could texture a surface. Whatever you do there, make sure the hair casts a shadow so the top of her scalp isn't so bright. I think you could make one of her eyes visible from that angle, to see the character more. She might use a little warm bounce light coming from a lower angle. Get rid of that bright white triangle on her chest.

lunat1k - Good start, keep going! I think you'll be able to get more rim and kick light onto the characters, but shade them first.

coolarena - Good start. The bright green wall looks like something from a visual effects shoot. Maybe it dominates the scene too much, and some brushed metal or something would fit-in better there? When you get a chance to work on the characters, you might find a more intimate shot to focus on them.

Waters - Welcome, good start! I think frosted glass usually has less transparency than that, more translucency. Giving it a bump mapped texture sometimes help build the specular and reflections, as well as distorting what you see through it.

Voigg - Good start. You might play-up the back-lighting on the scene more, get that light from the door to kick off the cash register screen and other surfaces in front of it. That round highlight on the monitor in the center of the screen is distracting, try making that much dimmer and softer.

VinVang69 - Keep going!

jikz - Good start. Try adding some reflective surfaces, but also try using more controlled light with darker shadows. The composition seems about half blank, maybe you could crop off much of the bottom and sides without losing much?

leonar3d - Maya's anisotropic shader only gives you anisotropic specular highlights, it can't really do anisotropic reflections. In MR, an mib_illum_ward can give true anisotropic reflections, so the raytraced reflections with stretch out in brushing direction you choose. The mia material can also supports true anisotropy, and the amount and rotation you choose can create brushed metal type effects or any kind of elongated highlights or reflections. I'd love a beer, too, if it hasn't been given away already.

JeffPatton - Vader's a nice addition. When you work on the lighting and surfaces, try to create an environment that would suit him!


PS - Only 9 slots left in my Maya Lighting & Rendering Workshop. Register soon if you want to join.

08 August 2009, 06:03 PM
working on textures !!

Nice, The textures are looking good. Work on the lighting and try to bring a realistic feel to the back of the store as because the shelves are looking stunningly real. Make few changes in the reflectivity.

08 August 2009, 06:03 AM
Hi Jeremy, in this render I add the character and I changed the image on the TV, I take a picture of a TV and realize that color desaturate a little, and white is more bright, I looking for a tutorial in internet i find this link that i shared.

Just in a case other person need it.

I follow your advise about "more purple" and was really awsome that changed, thanks. But i have a question "Dimmer", what is the meaning of this word, i found the definition in a dictionary, but i don't understand the meaning very well.

About the box i try fix the the problem, to get better shadow.

I will try to enter in your course, is not sure, because in venezuela we have restriction in the credit cards to use in internet and i can't pay this course because this restriction, but I'm talking with a friend that have an account in USA that maybe doing me a favor, but I will try.


Software: Maya 2009
Render: Mental Ray - Just Direct Lighting without GI.
Correction: Photoshop.

Eduardo R.

08 August 2009, 10:24 AM
I updated a few things on my render, however hadn't much time :( (

I updated some materials, such as the screen and stuff. The wood texture currently looks totally out of place so im going to change that anyways. And for the bakground I want to create a more distinct lighting, since right now its only affected by my diffuse light (the mia portal light). Later I will also add the characters.

@ eduroam: I had (and still have a bit) problems with the shadows for the boxes too, as u can see from my previous render. I partially solved it by using ambient occlusion. Most likely your render engine has similar options.

@ Jeremy: a the beginning, for the screens I wanted to simulate the surface of the matt flatscreens used several years ago, for which the anisotropic material seemed very good to work with. But than I decided to go for more glossy screens as can be seen now. Therefore I used just a normal blinn and I think it looks pretty ok. Anyway thanks for the info and I'm surely going to try it out. Of course u can have a beer too! :D

Regards Leonard

08 August 2009, 02:01 PM
Thanks, Jeremy. Don't know how long I can stay away from the ladies. Gotta shade them sooner than later. Here's an update: (

08 August 2009, 03:43 PM
heres another wip
am not really happy with it so any comments and suggestions are welcome
still to add more textures and dirt maps and other stuff in the scene have to be shaded
used only fg and 2 area lights and one volume light
thats just a beauty render
takes about 4 minutes to render

08 August 2009, 04:21 PM
Thanx ur comment

08 August 2009, 04:45 PM
Omarios- The textures are looking great on the 'exit' door area. Work on the textures of the shelves. Reduce the intensity of the light which is coming from the lefthand side. And also try to make some changes in the lights to make it more dramatic, like making it distinguishable between the foreground and the background. I think you have a good composition going on. Keep it up.:buttrock:

08 August 2009, 06:24 PM
Ok, thanks Jeremy, I played a bit with the reflection/transparency values on that shader. Another update:

08 August 2009, 11:06 PM
djprasun-thanks for ur reply, well heres a solution....i can try to lower the intensity of the bg light and change its color say to make it more bluish.
then make the fg light a bit warmer,i like its over exposure at the moment
i guess that will set the picture levels apart
another question i have is whenever i increase my area light samples it also appears grainy in the reflections its set at 64 at the moment.
another thought is making the wall color behind the monitors a bit grayish
so i can add spot lights on it with ies profiles with orangish color...wud add a bit of spice to the image
those are my thoughts
any other comments are welcome
i really need to make this look great so help and advice are appreciated

08 August 2009, 08:11 AM
playing around

08 August 2009, 01:56 PM
i changed alot of the lighting around and used portal light for the main light and a physical light for the backlight
i rendered out a zeedepth pass to be composited in aftereffects
am getting happier with the result and am moving on to the shading and texturing of the other elements in the scene
the girls are my biggest problems right now
comments and critiques are welcome

08 August 2009, 04:22 PM
Hello sir,
I am having problem that the files for this competition after download is not extracting and error is coming of corrupt files I tried it lots of time again and again but it is not working.
Can you please help for that please

08 August 2009, 09:03 PM
Here's a little update. Did some tweaking to the lighting and the character models and started to do a little more texturing. I'm contemplating turning the scene it into a robbery but the customer wouldn't have a gun. Instead she'd have her had in that gun "pose".

09 September 2009, 01:20 AM
My first pass at it:

I am doing this in Modo 401 and trying to, as much as possible, use nothing but presets for the materials. So far, the render time is a little over an hour. The next step is to bring that down to something a little more reasonable.

09 September 2009, 01:42 AM
Well Jeremy I did certainly move the camera position to fill the scene better. The counter has more reflectivity, and I got some shadows a bit darker. Please all excuse the disgusting texture on the display behind the assailant. The LuxRender exporter will not use a certain mapping style that blender uses and I did not catch it before setting the thing free. I snagged the gun from a random free obj download site. Next I suppose the TVs need to be brighter. Oh and mind the poor rigging on the shoulder I will try to make that look smoother. I can be my own worst critic sometimes......

09 September 2009, 04:10 AM
Still trying to finalize the key lights. Earlier, the shadows were too sharp. Just started to texture the Wall and Camera. Still needs a lot of tweaking, just wanted to get some feedback from you all :)

Takes a while to render,need to work on that.
Render time 1 hour and 18mins. :-( (


By nesco66 (

09 September 2009, 06:03 AM
Hello Friends.............well actually I having a problem. I not able to shift to my mental ray settings. I getting a error.........I am not able to figure out what error is this........I am Using Maya

09 September 2009, 06:11 AM
@pankajkaintura43 If you open a blank scene, then set your globals to mental ray,i.e. choose mental ray as renderer, and then import the challenge scene, it will work. I don't know why it is happening to you, but this happened to me with the haunted hallway and this was my workaround, hope it helped.

09 September 2009, 06:26 AM
Thanx Devank for your really worked...............thanx again...........

09 September 2009, 06:32 AM
Your welcome :), Good luck! :arteest:

09 September 2009, 11:09 AM
Hi! this is my first post to this challenge............these two renders r of my first attempt.....just basic light setup with IBL in mental ray..........but having a problem with the windows of the shop..........they r reflecting to much of environment..........I tried a lot pull the reflections down but all in vain...........I m just using simple blinn shader in windows..........any help plzzzzzzzzz.........I am doing this in Maya 2008.

This is my composite ( window's r looking so dull)

My final composite will be like this............C&C's required............

09 September 2009, 12:05 PM
@ eduroam: Very nice lighting. I dig it. Way cool you did that all with direct lighting as well. The image has a nice, soft feel to it and I don't see any sourcy lighting that sticks out. Nice over-all color scheme as well. It's soothing, there aren't any crazy colors that jump out grab my attention away from the focus of the image.

09 September 2009, 12:49 PM
pankajkaintura43- cool man, is it a sniper.

09 September 2009, 01:47 PM
Here's another update with open exit door and some volume light added. Also switched from a Yafray render to Blender internal render.

09 September 2009, 05:36 PM
First, excuse my english. Bad day for a robber., estuding lights and materials, and composite of the scene. I hope to finish.

09 September 2009, 09:51 PM
Good work everybody.
I didn't participate since a long time. That missed me.
Thanks to Giorgio, Dan, and Jeremy for this challenge :)

09 September 2009, 12:11 AM
Hi Everyone,
Here's my work to date on this challenge. Still lots to do though.
Clothes and boxes need texture etc, but its at a viewable stage.


09 September 2009, 01:04 AM
Phil-roberts-thats a nice color palette u are working with mate i like the purple blue display walls and the black table top
can u share how u did that one....was it a simple texture or u got another way to it,
the carpet texture is sweet as well
u might try to reduce the specualr on the display table facing the camera
as well as reducing the reflection on the leftside edge of us....and also increase the light intensity of the ceiling light....luv the security camera reflections by the way
but the light on the ceiling....its round shouldnt it be more rectungular?
i really love ur choice of colors

ps is it that christiano ronaldo from manchester united?

09 September 2009, 01:08 AM

Here are the changes I have made. Let me know what you think.

09 September 2009, 03:37 AM
pankajkaintura43- cool man, is it a sniper.
Yup! it's a sniper.................

09 September 2009, 04:15 AM
can any one tell me how to create hair in maya 2008. I tried to use hair samples from the visor and it looks like the hair is burning, like it has incandescence. Please help how to rectify it. Im using FG and GI.

09 September 2009, 06:24 AM
Hi Omarios,

Thanks for the comments !

For the walls I took the colours from the sky news screen shot, I have put a white material on them and flooded the scene with a purple omni just set to ambient, just like a skylight you can see it in the shadow colours on the boxes and most edges. Then I just placed a few spotlights in purple and blue shinning down from above onto the wavey walls.

As for the carpet and table top they are just standard Arch mats.
You are right about the right hand glare I have a couple of spots illuminating the display case I may move them slightly or exclude the chrome fitting from them.

The roof lights although bright, I dont want to flood in too much and spoil the colours on the walls, but you are right the overspill shape is not too good I will look at that next.

Thanks and good luck with your work!


09 September 2009, 09:39 AM
Here's my next post with little bit texturing...........I am still struggling with the reflectivity of the windows............plzzzzzzz tell me how can I reduce the reflectivity......... thats a simple bilnn shader

09 September 2009, 11:15 AM
Voigg-i think ur scene is going to look great,i like the planks shading and texture...the setting and mood reminded me of this scene in jurassic park
btw i checked ur website great artwork man

09 September 2009, 12:40 PM
Hello all Lighters:cool:,Here's my rendered image;)

09 September 2009, 12:50 PM
sorry:sad:,,here it is

09 September 2009, 01:25 PM
Here u go mate

09 September 2009, 06:24 PM have used maya stander lights & rendered with maya software . render time 5min 37sec.
comments & critics are always welcome !!

09 September 2009, 08:18 PM
Hey everyone, just got back from vacation and I'm glad to see the challenge is going as well as it is! Here's some feedback:

preetamsaha: Good work so far! Try to pick a direction for your main lights and creating some more contrast, the scene appears uniformly lit and very bright right now.

neel3d: Looking good! Very nice work on the TV's shader and lighting though, I'd like to see the two characters closer to the camera and more of the center of attention, the top of the image seems to be a little bit of wasted space. You may also want to change the lighting or shaders on the characters so they don't get blown out and bright white. Keep it up!

pankajkaintura43: Interesting approach. You may want to turn the intensity of your main light down it's very bright. Loking forward to some more posts.

Voigg: Looking great! The bottom right corner of your image is very strong so far. I'd like to see more rims, kicks and reflections to make things pop out of the dark background surrounding it. I'd like to see something a little more intersting done with the bright window? in the middle. Maybe even some cool light as if it's the light of a TV or monitor from behind the window.

Phil-roberts: Great! The purple walls behind the TV's work very well. I'd suggest possibly darkening and/or adding variation to the bright white parts of the Apple, LG and on off screen right signs. Maybe with the apple symbol making it appear like there's a lightbulb in the middle of it by darkening the edges slightly. You may want to dim the bright light that's lighting the left side of the customer or somehow fix the bright reflection of her in the display case. Also, the hair on both characters looks a lot like fur. Try adding some harsher specularity, decreasing the tip transparency and possibly increasing the hair's length. That should be enough comments for now =)

Timothee: Good start! Very nice, you have some good shading so far. I'd like to see some more play with the very bright parts of the image to give them more gradation.

neotrixstdr: Good work so far. An idea may be to treat this similar to a crime scene in a dark place and have spots lighting the important areas in the scene.

brookselliott: Good progress. I find the floor underneath the door confusing, you may want to add some blur to the reflection as well as decreasing the reflection. You also may want to decrease the brightness of the lights behind the TV's. Try focusing the light a little more around the characters.

niravsheth: Nice establishing shot. You may want to think about zooming the camera in or changing the aspect ratio a little, both the left and right side of the image seem fairly empty. Nice color palette, keep going.

jikz: The new camera angle works a lot better. I'd recommend more contrast with your lighting, especially because of the nature of the scene. I didn't see a gun until I looked very closely for multiple reasons. The color of the handle is very similar to the pants and purse and also the black part blends in with the darker background. I'd also recommend decreasing the brightness of the light behind the shopper and decrease the saturation of her shirt. Finally, the screen should also be darkened.

fuzzylizard: Good start, keep going.

BrianSchultz: Looking better. I'd like to see a little more contrast try looking at the images you have in the TV and see how the forms are defined with the lighting.

eduroam: In case nobody answered your question, Dimmer means darker or with less light.

I hope to take a crack at this one soon! =)

09 September 2009, 04:16 AM
My latest render. I removed the area lights that I was using in each light fixture and instead made the fluorescent tubes into poly lights. I have also added a window to the front to allow some late evening daylight in.

Still adding textures to various objects.

09 September 2009, 10:54 AM
Hello Everybody,
This is my first post ever.
I have been only admiring everybody else's work here but thought of posting my work this time.... here's the first look of the scene.... lot of stuff is yet to be done...texturing is almost nil.... !

09 September 2009, 01:58 PM

This is my latest render. I am so happy that finally the hair is coming in fg. I still have to work on the hair as i am not too happy with it.

09 September 2009, 05:36 PM

this is my first render, i use maya and mental ray, i still need to work on the textures and materials

09 September 2009, 05:46 AM
@VirusREdSox ( I really like the perspective, angle that you picked. It makes for an interesting foreground and then moving into the background.

09 September 2009, 07:24 AM
I 2nd that, virusRedSox: great name and great camera angle.

Still plugging away, the gamma on my two monitors is different so I'm not sure which one to believe.

09 September 2009, 04:26 PM
Working in the scene of the crime. Adding details and textures. Hope you like

09 September 2009, 11:58 AM
Here's my new post.........nothing much done as was busy with other stuffs

09 September 2009, 12:34 PM

Working on the rim and fill light of the hair.

09 September 2009, 01:53 PM
pankajkaintura43 - Great set-up for the scene! The surfaces that you've textured already look great, I'm sure the whole scene will be well textured. I think if the sun were lower and warmer, the shadows were darker, and the fill light a deeper blue, the scene might feel more like the reflection image in the car window. Make sure the store reflects the same environment as the car, too, the store window reflections look blank in the upper left. Keep going!

neotrixstdr - Great job with the texturing! Try to light the scene with just a few lights, and build contrast with selective use of light and really dark shadow areas.

Waters - Looks very flat and evenly lit, maybe try using fewer lights and darker shadows? Where you see the lights through the frosted glass try to make the lights look softer. Keep going!

VirusREdSox - See if you can get a darker floor with more realistic reflections and highlights.

Things don't have to be boring!

Think about color!
Find reference!
Be bold! Bold is better than boring!


09 September 2009, 02:15 PM
djprasun - Better and better! Self-shadowing hair is hard to get right, you've made progress already. Try to give a little more warmth and translucency to the skin. The monitor she's looking at appears dark, darker than the less important TVs. Even the light behind the TVs seems bright compared to the monitor, try to reverse that. Maybe the wavy wall could have more limited highlights and reflections, and be darker overall. The glasses look black, I'd expect to see through them more. Try to tie-together the background and the video image more: Maybe it's a color image, so you see the red exit sign, and you change the composition so you see the exit sign in the background as well?

Floors can look cool!

Keep the diffuse illumination low enough for the reflections and specular to shine through!
A bump map can be a great way to break-up and distort a reflection.


09 September 2009, 03:45 PM

Redsand1080 - Thanks

This my image update. I will try now to create the image with Artificial Lights.

Thanks jeremy for the reference and your advise.

Software: Maya 2009
Render: Mental Ray - Just Direct Lighting without GI.
Correction: Photoshop.

Eduardo R.

09 September 2009, 04:23 PM
Thank you Mr. Birn. It have been a great learning experience, this is the first time that I have made hair. I will rectify the composition and post something soon. You have been a great mentor. And thank you for the reference. :bowdown:

09 September 2009, 06:54 PM
Latest render, working on texturing the TVs and setting up UVs for the cash counters. Had to remodel the back one for some reason as it was rendering as black even though the normals were correct.

09 September 2009, 09:00 PM
thanks for your words Jeremy, is my first challenge and i want do it right :)
This is my first render, tell me what you think and thanks for all your work

PD- excuse my english

09 September 2009, 05:17 AM
Well, it's been quite awhile since I posted an image, and since then I have changed my approach. I'm going for something moodier and more dramatic, something with a sense of urgency. Please tell me what you think.

I used Blender Internal Renderer for this image. It took about a minute and a half on my quad core PC.

Cheers and God bless.

09 September 2009, 05:22 AM

Did some changes for the wavy wall and the colour of the skin.

09 September 2009, 05:38 AM
djprasun: The hair's looking much better! I'd like to see the brightest parts of your image be the characters face and the screen being looked at. I find the bright highlight on the television in the background distracting.

BlenderFan: Good to see you in the challenge! Overall the image seems dark, which isn't a problem if there are lots of nice highlights and reflections. The televisions and highlight on the computer are very overwhelming. If you want to keep them that way try to make them cast more light. You may also want to check and make sure the register is on the counter and casting shadows. It appears to be floating.

neotrixstdr: Looking much better! The television screens seem a little too bright for the amount of light they're casting and the exposure of the camera. Also, they draw my attention directly to them as opposed to the situation on the floor. You may want to consider having the brightest part of your scene being the floor, where the crime was committed.

fuzzylizard: Keep going! I'd like to see some more contrast and some directionality in your light. Also, as Jeremy mentioned try adding a bump map to the floor. Breaking up the reflections can make a big difference.

eduroam: Getting better and better. The televisions are really looking great now. I'd like to see you create some more depth by making the objects get brighter as they get closer to the window. You may also want to consider putting the characters in the sunlight or having a secondary light source on them.

jeremy: Thanks for the general tips and examples, I like them as a new addition.

09 September 2009, 10:11 AM

Removed unnecessary highlights and also played a little bit with the curves. My sole intention is to give a suspense thriller look to the image.

09 September 2009, 03:36 PM
neotrixstdr, nice render. I would try shifting a touch to lhe left and a bit lower, so that we get more of the hand in the frame, not much, it's almost there. Also the background is too intensive with these tv sets, maybe put some defocus on it to bring more attention to the hand/gun/puddle. Overall good lighting, keep at it.

Update, hair/cloth will follow: (

09 September 2009, 06:02 PM
A few updates on the shaders. I also changed the camera to have a bit of foreground. Boxes still not textured. For the counter I will use another texture. Jeremy thanks for the tips for the security camera. No postproduction yet, but usually i like to play a lot in post ^^. Rendertime roughly below 5 min. (

Regards Leonard

09 September 2009, 10:39 PM

Hi all, here is my submission. Long time member, but this is my first challenge.

This was done on 3ds max 9, rendered with Mental Ray

No lights were used in this scene -just self-illuminating Arch&Design materials. Indirect-illumination provided only by ao.

The models of the scene are un-touched. Also no texture maps were used, just noise procedurals.

Render time was 9min 41sec on a Core2 Quad 2.40GHz, 8GB of ram (but 32-bit OS). The original file was 1280x720.

Any comments or critiques are welcome!

09 September 2009, 02:58 AM
pankajkaintura43:[/color] Interesting approach. You may want to turn the intensity of your main light down it's very bright. Loking forward to some more posts.
Thank you sir for appreciating my approach...........well I tried something with the light as u suggested..............looking for more c&c's

pankajkaintura43 - Great set-up for the scene! The surfaces that you've textured already look great, I'm sure the whole scene will be well textured. I think if the sun were lower and warmer, the shadows were darker, and the fill light a deeper blue, the scene might feel more like the reflection image in the car window. Make sure the store reflects the same environment as the car, too, the store window reflections look blank in the upper left. Keep going!

Thank you Sir.............really its been a great satisfaction that you liked the whole setup.........thanks again :bounce: well definitely I will I am gonna try all those things you have mentioned.................

09 September 2009, 03:58 PM
Kanooshka, Jeremy thank you for your words, I will try to follow your advices the possible better way. This one is another test, finally that I have added DOF to the camera and lowered the intensities of a few lights and raises them of other one. Likewise I have put a movement of camera more dramatic. I hope that you like and, please, give me all the councils that you believe necessary to improve the scene, i will still working with the geometry, textures and lighting. Thanks!

09 September 2009, 12:53 AM
Finally found some time to start =) Here's the start with only a couple textures.

09 September 2009, 01:37 AM
neotrixstdr: That's looking great! Big improvement from your last image. A couple of the lights are still looking a bit too bright, one of the ceiling lights, the exit sign and the display on the cash register. They may look okay if they're that bright but maybe you could consider adding glow around them. The blood is looking a little bit too much like a bright red plastic, try turning the diffuse down and making the puddle a little less thick.

trask: Good start, keep going. Maybe try some more directionality with your light to make it a little more interesting.

leonar3d: Looking better. You may want to try desaturating whatever is causing the bright red parts in the background. I'd like to see a main light direction. Keep going. =)

lunat1k: Fantastic! I'm really like the different colored lights you have and the mood you've set. Maybe try putting some more focus on the characters. The sign in the background is very bright and draws my attention directly to it. Perhaps if you brightened the light on the characters it would be balanced out.

djprasun: Getting better and better. There's some really bright highlights on the glasses which are kind of distracting. Since you have a closeup of the character I'd like to see some specularity on the lips. The hair is looking good but seems to be glowing where it contacts the skin, you may need to have give the roots of the hair a darker color to fix this. You may also want to add some rim lighting to the edge of the foreground monitor to make it pop a little more from the background.

09 September 2009, 05:04 AM
@kanooshka- Thanks for your suggestion. I will surely rectify it

09 September 2009, 06:19 AM
Hi jermy ofter long time i m posting my image

09 September 2009, 07:15 AM
hi jermy this is my first upload

09 September 2009, 07:24 AM
Kanooshka, thx for your words. I will start to think in the post to make the glow and other post effects. Your First render is spectacualar, you make the perfect light in your first attemp.... (i have spent hours and hours to make somethink not too bad) I have to much to learn, thanks for help me :beer:

09 September 2009, 01:57 PM

I'v changed the hair and also added a bit of sharpness to it. Tell me what u think. Still lots of things to be done.

09 September 2009, 06:40 PM
hiiii everyone ! this is my brand new post , and i had been working on this for last three or four days ! i was not at all satisfied with my last outputs which i have posted earlier, thats why i started working on this from the very begining for a different look ! this is a mentalray render. Comments & Critics are always welcome !

09 September 2009, 12:55 AM
Still working on this. I am still not satisfied with the lighting, but I am getting to the point where I am not sure how to continue. My render time is now over 4 hours which seems far too long for such a simple scene, although there are a fair number of lights. I am using cylinder lights to try and realistically recreate the light you would get from fluorescent tubes and get a nice reflection in the floor. If I use area lights, I get a render time of about 1 hour, but I don't get the nice reflection in the floor nor the light showing in the ceiling. Btw, I am doing this using Modo 401.

If anyone has some tips on how to lower my render time and get a little more dynamic lighting in this scene, please share.

09 September 2009, 03:00 AM
neotrixstdr: Thanks for the compliment, glad to give feedback!

djprasun: Great work, the hair is looking really good. I'd like to see the terminator on the skin have a little bit more of a warmer tone. I feel like maybe there should be a color change in the wall where the TV's are sitting. It seems to get a little lost where that wall ends and the background begins. The lips look like they're glowing a little bit, you could try toning the specularity down a little and adding a bump map to break it up a little.

preetamsaha: Good start. Overall the image seems to be very bright. Try decreasing the diffuse light and increasing the specularity a little. You may want to add some warm light shining in from the build across the street. Some bump mapping on the floor to break up the reflection could also help a lot.

fuzzylizard: Looking good! The floor is working very well. That does seem to be a long render time for this scene. Are you using GI? When I personally am having issues with render times there are a lot of things I consider. Are there lights casting shadows that don't really need to bed? Are there rays of light being lost that don't really matter, for example a omni light or area light when a spot light can be used and the cone angle controlled? Can dimmer lights number of rays without lowering the quality of the render? Can the transparent materials be disabled from casting shadows? Can reflection depth be lowered? Usually a value of about 3 seems to work fine. etc... Hope this helps. As for the lighting; If I find I am not satisfied with the way an image is looking, and have the freedom to change whatever I want, I'll delete everything but the lights I'm satisfied with and from that point. As for using cylinder lights for the florescent lights, that might not be necessary If you look at your reflections they just appear as rectangles. You may be able to save some render time by using rectangle lights instead.

09 September 2009, 03:38 AM
fuzzylizard - Good start. Your composition looks pretty empty now, probably you could push the camera in without losing anything. The "back room" area can be darker with a different color and different intensity to add depth and variety to the scene. If area lights are more efficient, use them. Right now the reflection of the ceiling just looks like rectangles anyway. You might also try using fewer lights to get more varied lighting. See if you can do more with the display cases, maybe make the fronts reflective and put lights inside and add reflections and highlights to make sure people can see the glass?

preetamsaha - Good start. Keep going with the texturing. Some materials might be too dark a black, if the surface color/diffuse levels start closer to a mid-range, you have more room to move adding variety and shading through the lighting.

djprasun - Great progress! There's a diagonal line through the right monitor splitting it into two colors, I'd say you could go for a color image on that set instead of the gray or beige. The background could use more light in the bloody area, and maybe some extra shadow of a figure or something from the right or left to create a sense that something interesting is happening back there. There's a grayness to much of the background that seems to unifom to me, maybe bringing more of it darker would help. Her glasses could still be transparent though.

kanooshka - Thanks for posting all the feedback. Good start on your own image. Make sure everything's casting shadows, it seems like light is leaking through their hair to make the tops of their scalps very bright.

neotrixstdr - Looking good. The Police Line texture looks stretched too wide. In the background maybe just the exit letters would be red, not the lights above the sign and the whole area. The reflections look very bright in the blood, make sure that shadows are visible in your reflections. Other surfaces like the coins and TVs could use more reflection though.

trask - Good start. Why don't the display cabinets appear to cast shadows or reflections on the floor?

leonar3d - Your composition looks pretty empty now, probably you could push the camera in without losing anything, unless you already have a plan for where you'll add the girls. The reflected "arches" of white light in the red wall look unnatural to me, maybe because the ceiling doesn't really seem that bright. Maybe that reflection could be darker or softer, or the glass could be more transparent or frosted looking?

lunat1k - Especially for such a small image you might zoom-in more on the girls. The light on the inside of the hair looks unnatural (the brightest part of both girl's hair is in-between the hair and the neck), and you might give the clothing different colors to differentiate the characters.


09 September 2009, 06:32 AM

This my new security camera image. I have kept the colour and have discarded the diagonal lines. I have just adjusted the exposure a little bit to make the image a little darker.

09 September 2009, 09:07 AM
thanks Jeremy and kanooshka for the comments

>>leonar3d - Your composition looks pretty empty now, probably you could push the camera >>in without losing anything, unless you already have a plan for where you'll add the girls.

In mean time I changed the camera angle already but I haven't added the girls yet. Prolly I add them once I finish all the rest.

>>The reflected "arches" of white light in the red wall look unnatural to me, maybe because >>the ceiling doesn't really seem that bright. Maybe that reflection could be darker or softer, >>or the glass could be more transparent or frosted looking?

Indeed, they look very odd :p. I tried to soften them a bit now, I hope it looks better.
The screens are way to dark right now. Probably I will make them show something. The counter, cashier etc. still not done and the glass on the counter facing the camera looks kinda off. I have to change that... (

I also fiddled around in post, I added dof, some gamma correction etc.

regards and good luck to everyone


09 September 2009, 11:06 AM
Regards, I have followed your councils and have added the effects of post, believe that I like the image enough (very dark?).
I am going to try to re-do the scene from another point of view, changing the concept of the same one. Already post my results. Thank you very much to all, this forum me seems to be marvellous

09 September 2009, 12:00 PM
Hi here's my another wip..........looking for more c&c's..............

.well actually I tried a lot to bring same kind of reflections on the store windows as the car windows r reflecting but not succeeded..........I don't no how to do that............may be the car windows r black thats why they r giving reflections...........any help from all u guys will be great.....

09 September 2009, 12:17 PM
neotrixstdr- man, your pic is really good. I mean really good. If I may say, Your background is too dark for my taste. Hey, I'am not an expert but it looked odd in my eyes. But you foreground is spetacular.

09 September 2009, 02:28 PM
Hey looks like there's some perfect scene happening here with the combination of the 2 -3 posts.... it appears like neotrixstdr 's render is a continuation too djprasun 's render. Perfect crime scene. ;)

Great job everybody.
@ djprasun...wonderful render.... only that thing at the left top corner is lil distracting...I couldnt make out what that was. no expert either. :)

these renders are really inspiring me hopefully I come up with something worth uploading here.

09 September 2009, 05:25 PM
Thank You very much Mr.Jeremybirn & Mr.Kanooshka for your valueable comments ! I'll definately make those changes & post a new render as soon as possible !!