Museum at night

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Old 10 October 2012   #1
Museum at night

I occasionally came across Lighting Challenge #17: Natural History at this forum. Since it's archived a long before, posting this here. I tried to convey a feeling that one experiences when walking through the dark museum and carefully choosing a place to make a step suddenly finds himself face to face with old dinosaur skull

Old 10 October 2012   #2
Keep in mind that the dinosaur bones that you see in museums are actually rocks where the bones used to be. There usually black, and are polished to give a nice, shiny look.

It might help your scene to darken the skeleton, and add some blurred raytrace reflections.

Google "sue field museum" for some nice references on that. The skull that's attached to the main body is a replica, so Google "sue field museum skull" for images of the skull in its display case. Its the most intact T-Rex specimen ever found, so you might not find a better reference.

Also, add a bit of atmosphere, with some god rays from the moon light. Brighten up the scene too with some subtle bounced light.


Last edited by AJ1 : 10 October 2012 at 09:43 PM.
Old 10 October 2012   #3
I agree with thew above but to me the most glaring problem is this. The museum is the London Natural History Museum.

London and most cities where you would find a big museum suffers from a crazy amount of light polution and most of it is a horrible orange colour.

If you want to make this anything like approaching photo real deal with the two issues, first the bones are a dark glossy material and second there would be a lot of orange ambient light.
Old 10 October 2012   #4
Thanks for your replies. Here is the next variant of image. Darkened skeleton, added blurred reflections to it. Also added some fog. However, it seems to me that areas behind the skeleton are too flat and need some extra details, but I just can't imagine what kind of details would be appropriate there (It's one of the reasons I darkened them in the first image).

Old 10 October 2012   #5
Looks better!

How realistic do you want the render to be?

Numptus had a great idea about the orange ambiant light. I remember Chicago, the location of the Field Museum, has a lot of light polution as well.

Maybe the fog is a bit to thick, but it might look kind of cool if you add a few plants in there. You could place promotional banners in the background as well.

Old 10 October 2012   #6
Thanks for your comments a lot. Continue working... Added banner to the background, added some orange light (although it is not very noticable...). Reduced fog thickness. Will try to add some plants to the background also. By the way, how could I improve my banner? At the moment it looks too "synthetic" to me (although I run a cloth simulation to make it more realistic... Maybe, I should distort it more?).

Last edited by Almalm : 10 October 2012 at 05:24 PM.
Old 10 October 2012   #7
Hey man,

I was thinking more like those vertical banners they use to advertise new exhibits and events.

Your museum walls look a bit flat. Do you have shadows turned on for those lights? It might also help to add a touch of ambient occlusion.

You could use something like this as a reference for some trees.

Old 11 November 2012   #8
Further work. Added some plants (thanks for the references). I used global illumination for my lightning (area lights in the windows and sun for the moonlight), and all shadows are turned on. Removed banner (I didn't like it at all :-)). Vertical banners are excellent, but they are not visible from the camera view point, unless I place them right in front of balcony (which is not where they are in reality).
Thanks for useful comments, they really help me to improve my skills :-)))

Last edited by Almalm : 11 November 2012 at 12:18 PM.
Old 11 November 2012   #9
Thumbs up

love the latest update. a bit more improvement on lighting and you are there.
Old 11 November 2012   #10
Here is the variant without GI. It seems a bit better for me. Also added one more plant on front plane.
Old 11 November 2012   #11
I think you need to add some shadows on the museum walls. They still look flat. It might also help to localize the orange glow more towards the top, and add more contrast between the top of the image and the bottom. You also need to get some light underneath the bridge. I would turn GI back on.

Here's a quick paint over and CC. I painted in some shadows on the walls, and saturated the top of the image, and desaturated the bottom.


Last edited by AJ1 : 11 November 2012 at 11:32 AM.
Old 12 December 2012   #12
Wasn't updating for a long time due to hard work in offline. Thank you for your comments and paint over. Here is what I get finally. Too much reddish light on bones, will try to fix it.

Old 12 December 2012   #13
First off, let me say I love the work so far, and I hope my input helps. In my experience, if you have a strongly lit midground object, having backlight on a screen or surface behind helps give a good shadowed effect. A green Exit light or red emergency light in the back room would help, perhaps ditto on maybe some more skylights.

In your latest image, I saw you had a good if somewhat faint amount of lighting in the background, and to my eyes that helped differentiate the bones from the shadows. There doesn't have to be much in way of lighting, but in these cases, sometimes there are small 60 watt light bulbs aimed upwards to help illuminate the skeleton. You could try it, maybe get some more faint illumination from below to help give the rib cage some definition.

Just a suggestion, good to see your work.
Old 12 December 2012   #14
Hey man,

I think the trees could be greener, the museum walls more desaturated and smooth, and the sky outside the window more orange.

The light also feels too linear, and could use some falloff as it travels around the scene. Could you detail your light rig for us?

Old 12 December 2012   #15
Hello, Love the idea of night museum with a T-Rex skeleton.

Are you planning of adding any interior light ? I understand you trying to create some chilling atmosphere, but some dim spotlight beneath the skeleton would be nice, just like some night time lighting set up.
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