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Old 09-26-2013, 12:26 PM   #1
Bianca-Lee
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Bianca-Lee Burgess
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Smile Lighting System in Maya

Hi All,

I am working on a 3D piece, but want to perfect my lighting. I do not know much about lighting in general and was hoping someone would be so kind as to drop me a few hints on how to make my Verb piece better.

The look and feel I had in mind is cold yet vibrant, colorful, fun and plastic looking.

WIP (click for larger)


Lighting System


As you can see I have opted for a standard 3 point studio lighting system. All construtive comments are welcome!

Look forward to everyones comments,
Bianca

Last edited by Bianca-Lee : 09-26-2013 at 02:37 PM.
 
Old 09-26-2013, 06:21 PM   #2
meldu
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Hi there

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bianca-Lee
Hi All,

I am working on a 3D piece, but want to perfect my lighting. I do not know much about lighting in general and was hoping someone would be so kind as to drop me a few hints on how to make my Verb piece better.

The look and feel I had in mind is cold yet vibrant, colorful, fun and plastic looking.

WIP (click for larger)


Lighting System


As you can see I have opted for a standard 3 point studio lighting system. All construtive comments are welcome!

Look forward to everyones comments,
Bianca



Hi there Bianca. The overall models and materials looks nice, but maybe you need more work with the lights. Are you using mental ray?
Aslo, looks like you are using deep map shadows. They are quick for render, but they dont look very good sometimes.

Are you using mental ray right?

cheers
 
Old 09-27-2013, 08:18 AM   #3
Bianca-Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meldu
Hi there Bianca. The overall models and materials looks nice, but maybe you need more work with the lights. Are you using mental ray?
Aslo, looks like you are using deep map shadows. They are quick for render, but they dont look very good sometimes.

Are you using mental ray right?

cheers


Hi there Meldu,

Thanks for replying. Yea I totally agree. To answer your question, Yes I am using Mental Ray. I am using Ray Trace shadows not sure why it is still so harsh though?

The reason I posted this was to try and get some tips on how one would go about bettering ones lighting as I am a bit of a noob when it comes to lighting in general .


Keep well,
Bianca
X
 
Old 09-27-2013, 12:41 PM   #4
patrickrowan
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these 2 books are great if you want to improve your lighting design skills.

http://www.amazon.com/Light-Visual-...ighting+richard

http://www.amazon.com/Visual-Story-...age+bruce+block

in regards to your scene its hard to critique case its stylized. do you want a flat graphic look or a 3 dimensional real look?

your lights are kinda flatting it out at the mo. sometimes thats what you might want for studio lighting. sometimes the key light would be a little higher and smaller. the fill would be lower less angled and bigger. the rim would be more coming from behind the characters or directly over them. all these usually push the form. also the ratios of key/fill can be played around with.

have you any reference of the look your trying to achieve cause thats really important. you basically save time and you know what your working to.

what shaders are you using? try digital tutors for good lighting tutorials for maya etc.
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:47 AM   #5
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Are there any other lights besides those 3 area lights contributing to the scene? Something is flattening everything and making it look a bit dull, just feels like the shadows should be a little bit darker. It could be because you have 3 lights blasting the set with the same intensity all over.

Try varying the intensities in the lights for more interest. I would suggest favouring either the left or right side with more intensity and make the opposite side darker. Also maybe try a frame with final gather turned on, that should help more with some fill and colour bounce and make the image generally prettier.

What is the purpose of the white cards you have on each light? Are they being reflected anywhere? Make sure they aren't blocking any of the light as they look like they are right in front of those area lights.

It also helps to work with one light at a time, generally starting with the key light, so you know exactly what it is doing and then add more helper lights afterwords as needed.
 
Old 09-29-2013, 01:54 PM   #6
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I would recommend if you are using MR take full benefit of it.

#Use linear workflow.
#Try using unified sampling.
#Use MR Area Light
#Turn on the Final Gather for the bounce and vibrancy you are looking for.

Here is a link which will clarify all your doubts
http://elementalray.wordpress.com/2...rea-lights-101/

Also start with one light(Key ) and then add additional lights to support the requirement of the scene.
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My Lighting Reel
 
Old 09-30-2013, 07:55 AM   #7
Bianca-Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickrowan
these 2 books are great if you want to improve your lighting design skills.

http://www.amazon.com/Light-Visual-...ighting+richard

http://www.amazon.com/Visual-Story-...age+bruce+block

in regards to your scene its hard to critique case its stylized. do you want a flat graphic look or a 3 dimensional real look?

your lights are kinda flatting it out at the mo. sometimes thats what you might want for studio lighting. sometimes the key light would be a little higher and smaller. the fill would be lower less angled and bigger. the rim would be more coming from behind the characters or directly over them. all these usually push the form. also the ratios of key/fill can be played around with.

have you any reference of the look your trying to achieve cause thats really important. you basically save time and you know what your working to.

what shaders are you using? try digital tutors for good lighting tutorials for maya etc.


Hi Patrick,

Thanks for those links! Yea I get you. The look I am going for is very stylized and yes I do want it to be flat but, at the same time have 3D elements to it.

I was inspired by Tom Buch - Yo Sushi Concept so I was very influenced by that.


With regards to your question on shaders, I went with a combination of mental ray and built in Maya textures which I then built up using images and of course built upon that. Thanks for the pointers will definitely keep them in mind and keep everyone updated.

Cheers
B
 
Old 09-30-2013, 08:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pap87
Are there any other lights besides those 3 area lights contributing to the scene? Something is flattening everything and making it look a bit dull, just feels like the shadows should be a little bit darker. It could be because you have 3 lights blasting the set with the same intensity all over.

Try varying the intensities in the lights for more interest. I would suggest favouring either the left or right side with more intensity and make the opposite side darker. Also maybe try a frame with final gather turned on, that should help more with some fill and colour bounce and make the image generally prettier.

What is the purpose of the white cards you have on each light? Are they being reflected anywhere? Make sure they aren't blocking any of the light as they look like they are right in front of those area lights.

It also helps to work with one light at a time, generally starting with the key light, so you know exactly what it is doing and then add more helper lights afterwords as needed.


Hello there pap87,

Some really great pointers thanks for that.

So in regard to your questions, I only have those three lights in the scene yes. I watched a tutorial on studio based lighting here is a link to the video

.

The reason for the white planes are because they supposed to create a realistic studio, according to the author.

Again some really useful tips, thank you.

Cheers,
B
 
Old 09-30-2013, 08:17 AM   #9
Bianca-Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yogeshsherman
I would recommend if you are using MR take full benefit of it.

#Use linear workflow.
#Try using unified sampling.
#Use MR Area Light
#Turn on the Final Gather for the bounce and vibrancy you are looking for.

Here is a link which will clarify all your doubts
http://elementalray.wordpress.com/2...rea-lights-101/

Also start with one light(Key ) and then add additional lights to support the requirement of the scene.


Hi yogeshsherman,

Thank you for those hints, will definitely use it. Love the link you sent me some really interesting things I didn't know! I watched a tutorial the other day talking about how people work so hard on the models and textures but forget about the lighting. I do not want to fall into that same trap.

Cheers
B
 
Old 09-30-2013, 09:41 PM   #10
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That's some great advice you got earlier from some serious pros, and I would definitely take what they wrote to heart.

-If your going for a bright and plasticity look, try making your area lights way bigger, and adding some raytraced reflections to your dark materials. The materials should pick up your area lights, and give you nice, sharp highlights. The speakers would benefit most from some additional highlights.

-Try putting a color filter on your render in a compositing program to further saturate and bring out the colors.

-The subtle gradient in your background might give you problems when you do your final compression. Try upping the contrast on that, or add some grain to break up the color banding.

-You might get some nasty flickering with GI and FG for your animation, so you might want to read up on the settings for those on how to avoid that. You can also get a pretty nice effect with just fill lights, so don't feel pressured to use the indirect illumination.

-Also try to move your camera in a little, and increase the field of view. For a motion graphics piece, your subjects seem a little distant.
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:13 PM   #11
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Hi Bianca,

the overall lighting and materials looks good.

My advice is try experimenting with lights "decay rate", set it to "linear decay" (you may need to rise up the light intensity a little) if you are working in a non linear workspace (Maya default settings), but if you would like to try to set up a linear workspace then set it to "quadratic decay" (beware that a correct linear workspace in mental ray isn't that easy to setup and is quite a complex and more advanced way of work in 3D, google it and you will find a lot of tutorials). In your place I'll go for the non linear workspace for now.
Using light decay you can achieve a more realistic and more interesting lighting setup, try to play also with the penumbra angle so that you can focus lighs only on some parts of your image.

While i was looking at your render i noticed some problem with the guitars shadows.
It seems like you used polyonal planes with the guitar textured on it and used a transparency texture to cut it out, but as you can see the plane is still casting some shadows showing the real shape of the plane.
In maya if you are using standard materials as blinn, lambert and so on to make cut-out objects like the guitars in your scene, under the material attribute editor look for "raytrace options", be sure to set the attribute "shadow attenuation" to zero, doing so you can avoid planes or objects casting shadows even if they are fully transparent.

here you can find an image showing where to set the shadow attenuation.


cheers,
Giulio
 
Old 10-01-2013, 05:02 AM   #12
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Fair enough.

Just wanted to add that after watching that tutorial I would suggest forgetting every bit of lighting advice you saw or heard in it.
The guy is making many mistakes:
-He's using lights with no shadows on them.
-He is setting things without any understanding of what they do, eg. ray depth limit of 8? Completely overkill unless you are rendering a hall of mirrors and will only slow your renders.
-No linear workflow. Biggest mistake.

His lighting direction is not great either.

I understand where you are going with the white cards, but in your case they are doing nothing unless you use Final Gather and/or use raytraced reflections on your objects to reflect those cards, which is pointless anyway as they will also reflect the area lights themselves.

Just putting that out there so you don't go banging your head with frustration wondering why it's not looking the way you want it to.

I can suggest to you though, if you want that "flat" soft, diffusely lit look go with large area lights or an incandescent dome over the whole scene with final gather turned on and linear workflow will further lift the mid range values and brighten everything a little bit more too. Just remember to degamma your colour textures to compensate the overall gamma on the camera and prevent them from getting washed out.
 
Old 10-01-2013, 07:16 AM   #13
Bianca-Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ1
That's some great advice you got earlier from some serious pros, and I would definitely take what they wrote to heart.

-If your going for a bright and plasticity look, try making your area lights way bigger, and adding some raytraced reflections to your dark materials. The materials should pick up your area lights, and give you nice, sharp highlights. The speakers would benefit most from some additional highlights.

-Try putting a color filter on your render in a compositing program to further saturate and bring out the colors.

-The subtle gradient in your background might give you problems when you do your final compression. Try upping the contrast on that, or add some grain to break up the color banding.

-You might get some nasty flickering with GI and FG for your animation, so you might want to read up on the settings for those on how to avoid that. You can also get a pretty nice effect with just fill lights, so don't feel pressured to use the indirect illumination.

-Also try to move your camera in a little, and increase the field of view. For a motion graphics piece, your subjects seem a little distant.


Hi AJ,

Yea, I got some really useful tips from some really awesome people . I am working on my piece right now and hope to share an update on my progress by the end of today.

I agree that this is a bit far from a motion graphics piece but, I plan to create a generalist showreel first before I create a specialized showreel, or is that not wise?

Thanks for the hints I am so lucky to be getting such great pointers!

I also came across this tutorial I found extremely useful. It is a bit long but he seems to know what he is talking about. Which is especially helpful for beginner lighting artists. He is using Cinema 4D where as I use Maya but, I found the principles were still the same.



Keep well,
Cheers
B
 
Old 10-01-2013, 07:43 AM   #14
Bianca-Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pap87
Fair enough.

Just wanted to add that after watching that tutorial I would suggest forgetting every bit of lighting advice you saw or heard in it.
The guy is making many mistakes:
-He's using lights with no shadows on them.
-He is setting things without any understanding of what they do, eg. ray depth limit of 8? Completely overkill unless you are rendering a hall of mirrors and will only slow your renders.
-No linear workflow. Biggest mistake.

His lighting direction is not great either.

I understand where you are going with the white cards, but in your case they are doing nothing unless you use Final Gather and/or use raytraced reflections on your objects to reflect those cards, which is pointless anyway as they will also reflect the area lights themselves.

Just putting that out there so you don't go banging your head with frustration wondering why it's not looking the way you want it to.

I can suggest to you though, if you want that "flat" soft, diffusely lit look go with large area lights or an incandescent dome over the whole scene with final gather turned on and linear workflow will further lift the mid range values and brighten everything a little bit more too. Just remember to degamma your colour textures to compensate the overall gamma on the camera and prevent them from getting washed out.


Hey Pap87,

I will do. To be honest I thought you might say that because after watching that tutorial I am not 100% sure what I learnt from it, so will forget everything he said anyway. Like I shared with AJ I also watched that tutorial from Chris Morris and found that to be more enlightening.

Cheers
B
 
Old 10-01-2013, 12:54 PM   #15
Bianca-Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giuliotonini
Hi Bianca,

the overall lighting and materials looks good.

My advice is try experimenting with lights "decay rate", set it to "linear decay" (you may need to rise up the light intensity a little) if you are working in a non linear workspace (Maya default settings), but if you would like to try to set up a linear workspace then set it to "quadratic decay" (beware that a correct linear workspace in mental ray isn't that easy to setup and is quite a complex and more advanced way of work in 3D, google it and you will find a lot of tutorials). In your place I'll go for the non linear workspace for now.
Using light decay you can achieve a more realistic and more interesting lighting setup, try to play also with the penumbra angle so that you can focus lighs only on some parts of your image.

While i was looking at your render i noticed some problem with the guitars shadows.
It seems like you used polyonal planes with the guitar textured on it and used a transparency texture to cut it out, but as you can see the plane is still casting some shadows showing the real shape of the plane.
In maya if you are using standard materials as blinn, lambert and so on to make cut-out objects like the guitars in your scene, under the material attribute editor look for "raytrace options", be sure to set the attribute "shadow attenuation" to zero, doing so you can avoid planes or objects casting shadows even if they are fully transparent.

here you can find an image showing where to set the shadow attenuation.


cheers,
Giulio


Hi Giulio,

Wow thanks for that, the shadow from the image plane was bothering me a lot and was not sure how to make it go away. That is a really helpful tip.

Cheers
Bianca
 
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