(FLASHBACK) Lighting Challenge #5: Under The Boardwalk


hello fellas, I’m back for this challenge, here’s a wip, will tweak stuff later.


Hey guys! Here’s a first wip…



hey everyone. I’m definitely excited for this challenge, haven’t done much with water yet. I’m trying my hands at using Vray and really liking it so far. I’m just running into a snag trying to get the shader for the water to work correctly. Like for instance I’m not getting that rippled/wave effect needed. For some reason it just looks a blank plane no matter what I do. I’ve got a bump and displacement going on too. Still new to Vray so maybe it’s just some settings I’m missing or something. Any help would be very much appreciated. (vray-maya btw)

Good work so far and good luck to you all!


I fixed a few caustic flaws and darkened the deeper areas… any critics appreciated!



Ok, here’s my attempt… I like some parts, but there’s a lot that could have been bettter… critique are welcome… however, I think it got a quite mysterious feeling in some way! Made in maya…

by the way, sorry for the small thumbnail, that you have to click… does anyone knowe how to post a an image larger than 97 kb?


I remember the original challenge #5. At the time I was in awe of the amazing images that were posted, and still am to be sure. The software was the difference between worthy and struggling back then, and, of course, still is, but the technology hasn’t slowed down, and newer algorithms have made a lot of headway in the right direction.

 This image is from Vue and its built-in  tools. Lighting is global with a single source, the sky and atmosphere  are with the Spectral model, the floor is populated with an Eco-system,  ocean surface is with a Sea object which is also responsible for the  murkiness, the physically accurate caustics and the surface reflection.  The darkish blotches in the sky area of the surface are from water foam  and I might want to remove those. All rendered with default Superior  settings.  And also added a slight focus blur in  post.
 Subsurface translucence on the lily pad which resulted in excellent  shadow effect was a nice surprise.
 Still looks like a cartoon to me, but I like that. Oh, the Dragonfish is a DAZ character.

edit: Caustics aren’t actually accurate. Trying to finesse the scene and running into the usual difficulties helped me to realize they’re simulated. Sorry 'bout that.

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This is my final image for the (FLASHBACK) Lighting Challenge #5: Under The Boardwalk challenge. It has been difficult getting enough time to work on the scene with my summer job underway. My textures are done, but the lighting needs finessing. I also need to add a light fog, to achieve the look of a swampy northern Canadian river (my reference picture of dock steps).

With some editing, I have managed to create reflective light waves along the water’s surface. I loaded an ocean shader into a directional light, like a GOBO image to project the light patterns. I have also added a matte to imply that there are a lot of trees overlooking the dock. I have not been able to create realistic looking water distortions. Any suggestions? I still want to properly finish the scene.


Software used: Maya and Photoshop :lightbulb


Hello everyone, just a quick message to say that I’ve been ridiculously busy with work this month and haven’t had any time to progress with my scene since the initial tests I did

Hopefully I’ll be able to join in another challenge, good luck to everyone


Hi guys,

Here is my final image for this challenge, i would like to have done more, but i am still on a commercial job, but no excuses, i feel i did my best with the time i had.

Thanks for hosting another great challenge, it’s so refreshing to have these scenes to work on while on commercial jobs, it’s so far removed from cell phones and flying icons, so it helps me to stay passionate about lighting and shading :wink: Here is a link tothe larger image:

Cheers guys, i’ll see you in the next challenge.



hey everyone, hope all is well with the challenges. I may not be able to finish in time for it but I still like working on it. Have one question though. So far I think I’ve pretty much got everything the way I want it. The biggest problem I am having is achieving a good caustic look. I’m using Vray(maya) and using the caustic options down at the bottom of the Indirect Illumination tab. I’m using just a standard maya spotlight with vray extra attributes as my caustic emitter, no diffuse/spec, but whenever the render comes out there aren’t any caustics and nothing in the caustic pass of the render elements.

Not sure if if somethings need to be changed with my water shader or what. Kind of at a loss here atm. Any help is greatly appreciated.


really great images. One question to cre8 :slight_smile: how did you made the “dirt” on the stones ?
Thanks in advance for reply


Renders are looking great! Is everyone ready for me to close the challenge or does anyone need an extension?


Hi jojo1975,

The algae and micro details in the scene were created with Lightwave 11’s new powerful instancing tools.

I assigned an instancer to the rock geometry layer in my scene.I then told it to grow the algae on an assigned surface, which is the rock’s primary surface, and then tweaked random size and rotation.It really was that simple.And because they are instances, it has a very small hit on render time and memory usage and is fully supported by Lightwave’s GI and shaders. which is obviously great for lighting.

If you would like a more in depth description of the usage of instances in Lightwave 11, i will do a tutorial that illustrates the step-by-step process, especially if more people are interested in seeing it, as it does take time and effort to put it together :wink: These tools are easy to use and great for environment creation.

All the best to you guys,



Hello ! yes it will be a great pleasure to have a deeper view on how you used the instancing tools :slight_smile: Thanks again


Cool, i’ve compiled a tutorial on instancing in LW11, i’ll create a new thread and put it in there as it is rather lengthy and doesnt have anything to do with lighting, so i dont want to spam this thread with a 19 page tutorial :wink: I will post a link in this thread for it though if anyone is interested in checking it out.It’s great for fleshing out an environment quickly.


Hi there, here is a link to the instancing tutorial:


Hope you guys find it useful :wink:


Here is my WIP. Traditional Lighting without GI.
I use ocean shader for the water. There are artifact on the water surface. Not sure whether it is a bug or not.


This is my WIP.
Traditional lighting without GI. There is some artifact generated by the displacement map which provide by Ocean Shader.
Texture will be added later.


I’d like it to be extended if it’s possible, but of course if you feel it’s time to close it’s fine. For how long can it be extended? Thanks.


The look of my last WIP was not very realistic, so I’ve started to experiment with caustic light distortions. So far, I’ve managed to create a fog, which implies distance. What I need to do now is create a division between surface and water, which is where I am stuck. An ocean shader could create this illusion?

The overall look should be mysterious and murky when I’m done, like the green version here.


Sandra :slight_smile: