Lighting Challenge #16: The Lighthouse

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  09 September 2008
3rd Try

hi jeremy sir,here is a little bit improved grass still looking painted?

Last edited by jasvant : 09 September 2008 at 04:02 PM.
  09 September 2008
Thumbs up Feedback!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremy Birn
Author, Digital Lighting & Rendering, 3rd Edition
  09 September 2008
work and experimented on varuious aspects of vue on this.

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

modelling practice #1
  09 September 2008
Hey all! Cool pics!

Thanks Jeremy! Yeah, I knew the fence would need something.... So, I did some more touch ups and this is what I rendered out.

Added some noise to it in post just for the heck of it..

C&Cs always welcomed!!

Last edited by psycosven : 09 September 2008 at 05:16 AM.
  09 September 2008
I'm going to give this a try. This will be my first challenge so I hope it'll turn out somewhat close to decent. Oh and thanks for writing that book Jeremy, it's really helpful.
"A true artist never blames his tools for his work"
  09 September 2008
I am amazed

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

  09 September 2008
The lighthouse, sun lit...

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

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


  09 September 2008
my try

hi this is my try ... hope you like it

  09 September 2008
great !

weng888very nice !
  09 September 2008
Thank you Jeremy
This help me alot. I coudnt agree more. I have now work more with the lights and the ground. So the ground fade out to a darker shader.
I have also started to adjust in photoshop, just to see were I can go with post work.
I have rendered out a ambient occlusion map, and also zdepth (not sure how that worked out?)
Im kind of stucked right now so any kind of critique woud help

  09 September 2008
Thumbs up Feedback on some great images!

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremy Birn
Author, Digital Lighting & Rendering, 3rd Edition
  09 September 2008
Weng888- I like this one! Light design and realism look good. My suggestion is a little less contrast and specular look.. maybe perhaps a slight amount of Z haze... but mostly, the CG geo will always have tooo straight/mathematical edges... try refining geo where ever an edge meets sky or is too straight.. like along the roofline and certain bricks along the edge of lighthouse.. make them bumpy/irregular.

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


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

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


Last edited by weng888 : 09 September 2008 at 05:14 PM.
  09 September 2008
Thumbs up

weng888 - So awesome! I can almost hear the seagulls and the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks. I also really like the camera angle and the textures on the lighthouse. Super job!

  09 September 2008
The Call

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

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

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

Last edited by mmoses00 : 09 September 2008 at 03:55 PM.
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