Trying to improve my lighting in C4D

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Old 05 May 2014   #16
It might make more sense if you post your work in the WIP Forum
The problems you have are not CINEMA 4D specific.
If you like i can move the thread for you
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The views expressed on this post are my personal opinions and do not represent the views of my employer.
Old 05 May 2014   #17
Thanks a lot guys, Im already working on this.

Srek if you think the thread should be in the WIP please move it, its just that I made a thread there and didn't receive as much feedback so I thought people related to Cinema 4D would be more inclined to answering on a C4D scene, kinda thought the WIP was more for professional artist, but move it if necessary.

Thanks all for helping for the moment Ill stop posting till I get something done since I already received a truckload of suggestions and have only done the compositing fix no work on lighting.

Old 05 May 2014   #18
In terms of the scene elements (not lighting), I think the scene is suffering from CG-itis, meaning that things are generally too regular and too clean. As someone mentioned, the trees are all more or less the same size and they're also quite regular in their spacing. Add more variety there. The same applies to the grass which could use variation in color, density, and length. Maybe mix in some weeds, plants, or flowers with the grass.

The road stands out particularly due to the harsh transition between the dirt and the grass. I would definitely roughen that up. Add some kind of rough border along the road and around the clearing.

Realism of landscape-type images generally benefits from the addition of atmospheric haze to increase the sense of scale. You can do that with the environment object's fog parameter (though this kinda sucks in Cinema) or you can enclose the scene in a squashed sphere that has a fog material applied.

Just more food for thought....
Old 05 May 2014   #19
Dont know if any of the folks that participated in this thread still remember it, hopefully they are subscribed to it.

In this post I asked for help with a certain Scene I was rendering, well after follwing the advices given here I have reached this result, please keep in mind that the image has no postproduction done to it, that is, this is the render as it comes out of C4D.

1st Image:
This one has a Sun light a Sky object with and HDRI also casting some light and GI.

2nd Image:
The render time was worrying so I removed GI and created a Light Dome instead, to my surpirsed render time didnt change but I got this result, this one has the same sun light plus the Sky object with HDRI plus the light dome. I kinda lose the shadow of the clouds here but I guessed I could fix it in Photoshop.

Important things to note is the color palette that many of you suggested, what I did is I went to Illustrator's Color Guide and tried to use the Harmony Rule it has there, thing is this only resulted in a slight change of color of the first house from the left, I didnt want to touch the colors further without fully understanding the subject first.

Well overall I prefer the GI resulting Image and I love the whole cartoony feel it has, that was the idea.

Well If you are reading I would love to hear your suggestion as I wouldnt mind retouching the render further, most importantly in the Lighting department.

Thanks for your time.
(Right click open the image in a new tab to see it larger)

Last edited by DaveAlej : 05 May 2014 at 03:06 PM.
Old 05 May 2014   #20
You are still working with too much information all at one. Again I'd seriously start with one light, no sort of ambience or environment lighting yet. Let's get that one light figure out and then work on others.

I see 3 distinct specialty and a subtle 4th on your mushrooms. What world has four distinct light sources in its open sky. Each of their different sources appears to be a different colour even though they all come from the sky too.
Quote: "Until you do what you believe in, how do you know whether you believe in it or not?" -Leo Tolstoy
Kai Pedersen
Old 05 May 2014   #21
4 lights can be seen? thats really strange all I have there Is the sun light which you can tell its direction from the robots shadow, apart from this sun light is the Sky with the HDR Image, so thats a sun light and sky object.

I will turn everything off and come back with a render that only has my main sun light, give me some hours, I will also turn off GI and leave just this main sun light.
Old 05 May 2014   #22
Originally Posted by DaveAlej: 4 lights can be seen? thats really strange all I have there Is the sun light which you can tell its direction from the robots shadow, apart from this sun light is the Sky with the HDR Image, so thats a sun light and sky object.

A HDR can have any number of lightsources, that is what it's there for. By choosing the HDR you are setting up a complete lighting environment. If you put in a sun light then it is additionally to all that is already in the HDR.
If you want to have control over your lighting a HDR is the wrong choice. HDRs are great if you want and need THAT specific lighting situation the HDR represents.
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The views expressed on this post are my personal opinions and do not represent the views of my employer.
Old 05 May 2014   #23
Thanks for that input Srek, at the mean time here is the resulting render with nothing more that a a white(lightly blueish) sun light with the intensity of 120% absolutely everything else has been turned of.

Important to note is to not be confused by those 3 speculars you can see at roof of the houses 2 of them are being caused by the clouds which were made with thinking particles, I know its the clouds because I turned them off and only one specular remained which was the specular of the main Sun light.

Well here is the image, excited to hear your opinions on how to improve.

Old 05 May 2014   #24
Okay one light makes things a lot simpler to determine things that aren't working or are throwing the image off.

First example being your very answer to my concern about the multiple specs. This tells me you clouds are waaaaay too bright. With the exception of the fringe of a cloud with the sun right behind it, they should be brighter than your sky or act as any sort of illumination for you scene.

I'm sure the response would be that they aren't a source of illumination, but that the houses are reflecting the clouds. Which is much more apparent now that we have only one light. I mistook a lot of hear I was seeing before as various lights that is actually a lot of reflections. Reflections help us to easily spot things that are simply too bright. In a typical daylight scene nothing should actually be more intense than you sky outside of light sources. The fact that we read a lot of things better than we did the sky tells you that too many things are too bright. The water on the left side of the house, I get that the water is stylized so it has an exaggerated blue. But this blue is glowing hot on the house, this isn't natural even for a ceramic or wet surface to see that water that strongly. I don't assume your house even as a mushroom is intended to be that reflective.

This also brings up the question, if the house is using reflections, why is the water vibrant blue as a surface, and not as a reflection of whatever color the sky is. It will make the color and intensity more sensible. You can tint the reflection of you'd like to have something more stylized. If you'd prefer the style you have now where a reflective surface isn't so naturally reflective, then why make something like your mushroom, that isn't reflective be that way.

Right now your scene is very bright for a single light. Now I'm sure anyone could argue a daylight photo can easily be this bright, but look at your shadow areas. One light? Is there still gi, or an ambient light somewhere in the scene. I'd guess so, but perhaps instead you are doing a cheat to make the shadows less dense. These cheats are fine, but too early. I'd expect complete blacks in the dark side of objects if you only have one light. We can pull some density out of the shadow later when things are working and you need a little more light leaking through, but if you cheat from the start than other things won't work as expected. Sometimes on shots we cheat too soon and get into ruts where eventually you heave to throw it all out and start over again, so you have to be sensible about when to implement such methods. If you aren't doing that then we need to diagnose why some areas are still illuminated when in shadow. Like the back sides of trees, or under the trees. How is light getting on there that shouldn't. The only dark darks are a little under the roofs, and the cylinder chimney. We'll come back to that chimney.

There's something else wrong with your scene that suggests to me again another light source, it could be caused by reflections too, but that would tell me that your trees are reflective. Your keylight, the 120% blue tint sun, must be coming from behind and to the right of the camera. This is apparent in the shadows cast. I can't tell quite which circular soot onto eh house is the secular maybe neither, which again would be strange that such a hot light produces less light than the clouds (or rather the clouds reflect more than the light source) Regardless we know the sunhas a bluish tint, and we can see the clouds have a bluish white as well. But wait, there is orange in those clouds. There also an orange tinted circular spot on the left side of the rooftops, and an orange tint on the left side of the screen right trees. What is that light source if there is only one? Again, is this a light, shouldn't be as we only have one. Is it gi? Seems strange because it is so sharp and distinct, it seems more like a reflection than gi, as it has a secular/reflective feel to it's shape and response on multiple surfaces, I can see it on the slurped backpack thing, and even his screen left side of his head antennae seems to show it. That needs to be figured out if it isn't a light. If it is a reflection than what is it reflection why is it so circular and so bright, and why are we seeing it on so many surfaces one wouldn't expect to be so reflective?

This brings us back to the chimney, it is the one thing with a lot of contrast. It is almost all black, which is a little unfortunate on it's angle being almost pointed directly at the sun, might wan to tweak other its angle or the sun's so that is responds a little better, as currently it is one of the areas that drives my sight the most, but that also because it is the darkest spot in the whole image. On top though it isn't dark, its got this glowing orange line, again that orange light source, its definitely there as there should be noting on that tube. It isn't reflection because the rest of that tube isn't reflecting, so it has to be some sort of light.

So let us figure out these areas before we throw more lights in, keep only the sun, and figure out why other areas are so bright. My next post will most likely still be about bright things and flat looking things. That is because I can see some materials that are a little out of wack that we'll have to figure out.
Quote: "Until you do what you believe in, how do you know whether you believe in it or not?" -Leo Tolstoy
Kai Pedersen
Old 05 May 2014   #25
for materials like the water that "LucentDreams" mentioned i would go into the "illumination" channel and lower the "Generate GI" option
Dataflow Donation Cinema 4D Beta Tester
Old 05 May 2014   #26
Just a general comment from an observer of this thread. DaveAlej, I hope you take these responses as they are intended, critical analysis with the intent to help.

I am learning a lot just by following the thread.

Old 05 May 2014   #27
Thanks to all who are participating on this thread, you were right Lucent sorry about not being careful with the last render turned out that yea the shadows were toned down I just set them back to 100% there were more lights that I had not turned off including the clouds which had lights of their own exactly lights with orange and blue tint.

I am now rendering a new scene without all those, being more careful, I also touched the pond a bit using reference images of real ponds, I touched the color and reflection lets see how comes out.

The thing is still rendering, I tried to pull of a Team Render with the two machines I have but it only made it longer, I still want to make myself believe Team Render works fine haha.

Well Im hoping I can post the image today.
Old 05 May 2014   #28
For the clouds if you need separate lights which is fine, masks sure to use the scene tab to restrict the light to only illuminate those objects. Keep I. Mind there should be some consistency in the clue direction or illumination too.

Seeing yogurt comments about how long your renders are taking, have you considered rendering the clouds as a totally separate render. Render it and reapply as a gb or composite it back in Photoshop? That way you aren't defender ing them every time.

I'm sure you are doing a higher quality render to post here but I do hope for test renders that you are using lower quality render settings. There's no need to always render at full quality. Yes lower res, grainier, and jagged edge renders are not pretty but why wait even tens of minutes for something that could be done in a couple. I work on animations that take hours per frame and I have to deliver new versions every day. There is no way I can do full quality tests.

Our tools have lighting filters which isn't an easy luxury with c4d. You will have to use a scone render settings. Things I rarely render with in test renders are:

Full resolution (half or quarter typically)
Samples (well not off but super low)

If I'm worried about a lights position or intensity then I generally don't need those things. Sometimes specific lighting effects mean I will need to turn on SSS or hair, or possibly GI but everything else should be off as much as possible.
Quote: "Until you do what you believe in, how do you know whether you believe in it or not?" -Leo Tolstoy
Kai Pedersen
Old 05 May 2014   #29
Oh and yes I should disclaim my intentions are not to offend or hurt you I any way. You can ask any of my former students, I'm a no bs type teacher, if it isn't working I'll say so. I latched onto this post because I saw a scene with a lot of potential, a lot of current issues, a lot of advice good, bad and otherwise, and someone that seemed sincere to learn. That sounds like a good opportunity and a good thread for many people.
Quote: "Until you do what you believe in, how do you know whether you believe in it or not?" -Leo Tolstoy
Kai Pedersen
Old 05 May 2014   #30
Here it is, the frame itself takes aprox 5 hours 30 minutes to render, next render Ill leave it in low and wont even turn the hypernurbs on, though I think the main issue is the grass whichs uses hair.

Well here is the image, now Im sure it only has one light, and the pond I toned it down and increased its reflection value, though I was kinda liking more the vibrant blue style, anyway that can always be changed.

I changed the angle of the main light to reach the chimney better.

Teach as much as you want, Im still in my intern years and still trying to build a good portfolio, I can get around with modeling but I find Lighting very dificult, it has never been my forte and Im trying to change that heh.

Oh and thanks for your time Lucent, a lot is being learned here!!

Last edited by DaveAlej : 05 May 2014 at 06:42 AM.
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