Best way to light a car

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  09 September 2002
Question Best way to light a car

I have modelled a car but i am strungling to find a nice way to light it in Maya..

I have tried using area lights etc but the render time goes sky high like 30min a frame at 640x480..

Anyone good some good tut's or techniques ??
  09 September 2002
I think the render takes time because of too much faces in the scene, i don't think it got to do with the lights.
  09 September 2002
i have heard that the best way to get the "showroom" look is to use a standard 3 light rig with a area light directly above the car approxamatly the same size of car. the area light should only do the specular and color channels, not shadows. i think... no shadows, well play around with it. anyhow if you can remove shadows render time should come done a bit...

let us know what works when you get it done. good luck!
  09 September 2002
Remember that a lot of what defines a car's image is reflection. Use a limited number of lights, but place LARGE white luminous panels in strategic places around the car.
  10 October 2002
Area lights are extremly expensive in render times. An area light is made of a bunch of point lights, and a point light is made of 6 spot lights. So a single area light can be made of 30 to 40 to 100 spot lights.
  10 October 2002
Sorry for the long delay...
This is how i have it lookin at the moment with just some area lights.
  10 October 2002
you can cheat

Ok, something that might take you a long way is if you cheat and make a bitmap reflection map. You can make it so that the lower part of the car is reflecting a floor surface, and the upper 2/3s reflect flood lighting. Simply make a map that's, from bottom up, 1/3 black and 2/3s white, and assign it.

This is just a general guideline of course, you can adjust further to your liking. At the very least, this will probably save you from having to use area lights.

Also, you may want to look into adding a Fresnel effect to your shader, at the very least to affect its reflectivity.

The avalanche has already started.
It's too late for the pebbles to vote.
  10 October 2002
  10 October 2002
HDRI in maya?...if he has MR for maya
well, as Rabid pitbull told, the best way is having a big white illuminated plane over the car, you will not need more than 6 light then to illuminate the body, one KEY, four FILL, 1 ground BOUNCE.

see my old 'car thread' here

& if you want GI look my dome-light tut is here
Ila Soleimani

"Billions of bilious blue blistering barbecued barnacles!...Cannibal!"

  10 October 2002
Quote: Originally posted by ila_solomon
HDRI in maya?...if he has MR for maya...

Well MR is free for everyone using 4.5 and up from now on, so having it isn't a problem
  10 October 2002
Thanks for your replies i got 4.5 and MR i tried using final gather but it crashes

I am getting sick of this little project but if i get a chance i shall HDRI it, if i can find any decent Maya/MR tut's for it.

Last edited by Kabab : 11 November 2002 at 02:58 AM.
  10 October 2002
You can also try RealFake GI (a Maya Plug-in), found here:

The name is misleading. It's a HDRI fake. Very cool, and very fast.

  10 October 2002
Also you can do hdri in maya with HDRShop:

They have a script that takes an hdri image and creates all the proper lights to import into maya.
  11 November 2002
Quote: Originally posted by Kabab
Thanks for your replies i got 4.5 and MR i tried using final gather but it crashes

I am getting sick of this little progect but if i get a chance i shall HDRI it, if i can find any decent Maya/MR tut's for it.

Real HDRI with MR for Maya!
  11 November 2002
My advice to you is this... Light it so that it looks the way you want it to look. It sounds silly, but think about it... How many times have you seen people looking for the magical rendering solution that'll enable them to push render and be amazed. Computer Generated images are predictable, which makes our job all the more fun. First, search for the angles you want. Next, look at the lines of your car from those angles, paying special attention to visible lines, edges, corners, details... Think how to place some lights so that those features will be particularly visible.
And going one step further, try not to leave large undetailed areas looking flat, but rather use contrast to make them have depth. I recommend using spots instead of area lights because you can limit spots' areas fairly easily. And don't use shadows either, but rather use negative lights to paint shadows on your scene. One of the beauties of CG is that we don't have to mess with shadows, which are a pain to control in the real world. And finally, use reflections to your advantage in presenting your car, they can work wonders to highlight lines, but they can also work against you if you're not careful. Try a couple of car manufacturer's wesites and check out their product photos, study them and you'll be doing great renders in no time Hope this helps.
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