View Full Version : Global Illumination and Slow Solutions in the Film Industry

09 September 2009, 07:10 PM
Hi all, this is my first post on CG Talk, pretty excited to be part of the forum.

1st Part of my question:
I am having a bit of a dilema. I work in the Visulisation industry and use V-Ray and pretty much all the lighting solutions we use involve GI.

I would really to break into the film industry but am pretty confused about how lighting is tackled in the film industry eg. Pixar (dream job = Lighting TD at Pixar and I am going to get there one day)

Is lighting in the film industry more like a 90% manual lighting (not sure what the actual term is) like Jeramy Vickery's amazing mastercalss shows where you set up each individual bounce light and then use AO nodes for depth. Or are the slow solutions taking over? The former technique is almost alien to me.

2nd part of my question:
Almost all training involving lighting and rendering is archiviz/product shot type stuff but I am looking for more 'film based' stuff.

The only things I have found to teach me this sort of thing is Jeramy Birns' DVD and Jeramy Vickery's masterclass. Both are great by the way. Is there anything out there you guys could recomend me along those lines?

PLEEEAAASSEEE someone start something along the lines of Animation Mentor but 'Lighting Mentor'!!

09 September 2009, 08:22 PM
Welcome Whirlwind123! I can't speak for the film industry because I'm not in it yet. But I'd recommend any of Jeremy Birn's materials including his book. He also has workshops here on CGSociety quite often. I'd also recommend trying out the lighting challenges here on the forums. It's a great way to learn lots of tips, techniques and you'll get lots of feedback.

Another good reference that I find useful is this site: it can help give an idea of what's out there and what's being used.

09 September 2009, 08:55 PM
Wow great link kanooshka!

Suprised I havent come across it before.

Definatly plan on entering those lighting challeges. Saving up now for Mr Birns lighting masterclass on here :D

09 September 2009, 11:52 AM
this is a very great link you've shared kanooshka!

09 September 2009, 12:27 PM
Most film vfx and animation studios have pretty proprietary lighting pipelines, and the exact techniques used will depend on a multitude of factors and will change from project to project depending on the show's needs and constraints.

The broad scope of techniques follows a kind of sliding scale from the 'everything in camera' approach favoured by Pixar, Weta and others, to the "light everything in 2d" approach favoured by places like R&H. Whether a particular lighting pipeline makes more or less use of rendering features such as GI depends as I've said on the particular constraints and needs of a show.

So what can you do to get into film lighting? I'd suggest a good place to start is Jeremy Birns' lighting challenges. Do those, but do them in renderman (download 3Delight for a free renderman renderer).

09 September 2009, 12:52 PM
I understand the need to move away from v-ray since its not used as much away from visualisation but I am not sure on the 3Dlight recommendation.

Will it really be more beneficial than me making a switch to Mental Ray?

09 September 2009, 01:42 PM
The software you know isn't everything, but using something similar to what your target employer is using has got to be better than using using something completely different, no?

Put it this way, I can't speak for anyone else but I would be much more inclined to give you a job if you knew renderman than if you only knew vray and mental ray. Why? Because if you know what a shading rate is then that's one less thing I have to teach you.

09 September 2009, 01:56 PM
What I meant was, is knowing 3Delight the same as knowing renderman?

BTW Shading Rates exist in V-Ray :)

Edit: one thing I have noticed is that Visualisation artists approach lighting and rendering a scene like a photographer where as Production lighting is treat more like a painting. Hope that makes sense.

mr Bob
09 September 2009, 02:36 PM
Edit: one thing I have noticed is that Visualisation artists approach lighting and rendering a scene like a photographer where as Production lighting is treat more like a painting. Hope that makes sense.

I approach lighting in film by matching to the plate.

09 September 2009, 02:40 PM
What I meant was, is knowing 3Delight the same as knowing renderman?

3Delight is a renderman renderer, so yes. Is it the same as knowing prman? Well, no, not exactly, but it's close enough.

BTW Shading Rates exist in V-Ray :).

I guarantee it's not the same thing :)

09 September 2009, 02:51 PM
I guess its time to play with 3Delight then.

09 September 2009, 01:12 AM
I was just gonna pip in and say that this kind of question seems to get asked every week, and just do a search on 'playmesumch00ns' replies as you'll get 99% of the answers you need... BUT/Plus(?)...
Just picking up on what you said playmesumch00ns about renderman/3delight.

I haven't yet used a renderman compliant renderer, as I primarily use XSI, however the 3delight demo is up, so will give it a blast (so that I can at least start getting the hang of it in a familiar surrounding).
It's the one any only main renderer I haven't given a shot yet (stupidly), I'm pretty sure there is a demo of both Maya and Renderman so I should definitely get involved. The main issue I see is the price of training for it.
1000 for one week at escape :banghead:
But the courseware is reasonable if you are a student :cool:
But not if you are unemployed and looking for work :banghead:

Well, it's on my to do list.

CGTalk Moderation
09 September 2009, 01:12 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.