what's in a lighting demo reel?

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Old 03 March 2006   #1
what's in a lighting demo reel?

I only recently found this forum completely dedicated to lighting and I was so glad, because, especially compared to animation, there seems to be much less interest in this field.
My question is about lighting reels since I can't seem to find any on the web: what should go there?
What to avoid at all costs? What would make a really good impression? Does any of you have lighting reels that got you a job that you care to share, so we can see what to aim for? Did you ever have to hire lighters, and got through some really bad reels? Why didn't you like them?
I went through the thread with "your best lighting images", and I saw such a wild range of subjects, render techniques, quality and realism that I wouldn't know which of those images would be considered by potential employers.
Thank you for any feedback.

Old 03 March 2006   #2
Have a read down the bottom of the page at Jeremy Birn's page http://www.3drender.com/jobs/TD.htm

Old 03 March 2006   #3
sphere, thank you very much for answering and for the pointer, I am familiar with the website and with Birn's book, which is one of the very few on the subject (I don't know how many times I read it cover to cover, and it never gets old).
Actually, I was looking for more specific suggestions. Like for example, the link talks about showing "well lit CG shots". Does that mean photorealistic or anything that conveys mood and atmosphere? In fact, does it have to be photorealistic at all?
Does the lighting have to be dramatic, with lots of contrast, and light+shadow play, or just what is needed for the scene? What I mean is if you did the lighting for a commercial product, you probably used soft, even illumination but it was the right kind of light for the scene.
When it talks about compositing CG and live elements, are we talking the "usual" UFO hovering the photographic house, or the same house (in CG) composited over a photographic background, or what else?
Also, can you give me any examples of "badly lit" shots? (feel free to draw examples from my web site.. )

Old 03 March 2006   #4
Silvia -

Think a bit about what kind of work you personally want to do (or what kind of company you plan to apply to, or what you personally find cool) and that will give you all your answers.

If you are into architectural rendering, by all means comp a house into a photograph and apply to firms that do that. If you'd rather work at a VFX studio and you see them doing things like integrating creatures into moving shots, show your skills at that. If you want to build surreal matte paintings, go for it.

As long as you are showing the kind of work that you are applying to do professionally, the kind of work that you'd enjoy being paid to do, you are doing the right thing. If you can think of a specific company that you'd like to work for, try to view some of their work to get an idea what kinds of things they make, and show work of that ilk and caliber.

Jeremy Birn
Author, Digital Lighting & Rendering, 3rd Edition
Old 03 March 2006   #5
Oh wow, I get an answer from Jeremy Birn HIMSELF! SOOOO COOOL!!

Old 03 March 2006   #6
I find this was pretty useful too in terms of what to put on a lighting reel.
From Andrew Whitehurts website.


CG Artist
Old 03 March 2006   #7
That is a beautiful web site, and the article is very useful, thank you Dan for pointing me to it! I also found quite interesting the books Andrew lists, some I already have, like the Foley/Van Damme, which was the text book at college for my Computer Graphics Algorithms classes. Others I will have to look for them. I also went through his gallery to see what kind of work he considers good, and since he works at Double Negative I would think that is the kind of work studios want to see.
Any more pointers are greatly appreciated!

Old 03 March 2006   #8
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