View Full Version : Oh this mirror-like metal lighting...

02 February 2011, 01:20 AM
Lighting mirror-like metal is one of the most challenging things I had to light. The problem is you have to show its quality (mirror-like), so you have to show clear transition edges in reflections to show the quality of material(arguable). But you also must reveal its form, and nothing is as difficult as lighting a mirror-like reflection with a crisp arealight, because it just does nothing to reveal the form most of the time for complex surface objects.
So I came to conclusion one compromise is using soft reflections of lightsources, or rather, soft falloff cast onto a reflecting surface. Imagine a translucent dome for example surrounded by arealights which create this gradual lighting which you can control by altering distance of lights. This approach maintains black areas needed to show it's metal. But this kind of steals showing the metal material quality (mirror-like). I.e. it shapes the form well, but it's not too obvious if it's a mirror-like surface or glossy.
The question is, if you encounter a complex mirror-like subject to light, and lighting it with crisp transition edges fails (breaks the form), should you just play safe, lighting it with soft transitions or there's a better solution? Or, in another words, is it OK going for glossy-like look (like your glossiness parameter is not high in reflections) for mirror-like materials by doing very soft reflection transitions?

02 February 2011, 08:29 AM
not quit sure if I could follow you to 100% - but of course, lighting a mirror really depends a lot of the environment !

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02 February 2011, 08:29 AM
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