LC #36 A light before death !


First WIP. Playing with lighting still trying to figure out the story I want to tell with the composition. Its a bunch of fun not being contrained with texturing and just being able to throw some lights in and go for it. So far just 2 spot lights, 2 point lights, and an Area light.


Thank you for this. It was helpful. I’ll pay it forward. I have an updated file here for vray/max users.

Most of the grunt work is all done here. Textures are assigned as closely as possible. Most maps will need to be adjusted in terms of gamma or composite opacity, etc. Some are checked off because they didn’t seem needed but I left them plugged in so we have roughly the same inputs as the maya scene, minus procedural shaders. Those have been clearly named and marked with bright colors. I’ve instanced a turbosmooth to all the objects that seem to want it as well as setting up wireframe colors and parenting for easy adjustments to the scene. There were a lot of procedural noise overlays that got lost.

The eyelashes, skin shader, and maybe one other might be wonky because they are missing uvs or node names aren’t the same between programs and I had to guess. You might want to turn off Vray Exposure control in the environment tab, I think I may have forgot to do that. Here is the link:
Download here. (Saved down to max 2011)

For those who are rebuilding in other packages like Houdini and Softimage, I have a material cheatsheet here to make it easier to know which map to plug where, if you are going for the original look.
Material Cheatsheet



Begining now to assign textures and shaders to the set, i would have loved to be able to pose the character in the shot, but im working with Lightwave, so im having to import the objects and put the image together. Is it rigged in the Maya scene for posing?


The model is fully rigged and can be posed in Maya, but the nCloth mesh for her dress doesn’t update when I play around with the controls. Im sure theres a way to change that, I just haven’t learned much about cloth simulation.

Resetting to defaults fixed the blue screen issues (@prestonplatt Thanks!). Still wonder what was causing it. I thought it might be due to the missing shaders but even after fixing them it wont render unless I use defaults. A few of the books were missing shaders for some reason, and so was the diaphram, and needle on the record player. Also the original IBL sourceimage was missing but I googled the hdr filename and found it online. The only missing connection now is one texture map called corner4.jpg which existed on the original artists desktop. It seems to have been applied to Book1 but I don’t see where it was supposed to be mapped to, I just see the error in the script editor.


A nice subject! If I can - hopefully - free some time I’d love to join in =)


Thanks AJ for posting that cheat sheet, that helped a lot!

Got a chance to take a crack at this these past few days.

Still only one light with GI. I’m fairly new to VRay, so I’m still trying to get the results I like with VRay Sun/Sky and using proper physical camera settings.

Still not happy with the bed, it’s getting really blown out at the moment, will fix for next update.

Hope to see some updates from others soon!


Here is my environment layer so far, i am now going to be generating a Depth Channel for the camera and will be applying that ASAP.

The character will be in a kneeling position next to the bed, praying with the bible open infront of here.

I hope i can figure out how to work the character in Maya as i am a Lightwave 3d user. The cloth sounds a bit scary :slight_smile:


@nmcelmury Really loving what you have going on keep it up. Really making me rethink my lighting I love it.


I gave it a go, too. My WiP version here:


A more friendly version :slight_smile: I like this look more than the gritty one. Despite the motive being a rather dark/serious one rather than a brigt, fun one, I like the contrast of these moods. A gritty motive but a rather friendly lighting/mood.


prestonplatt - Hey thanks man, I watched the reel this came from and kind of drew my inspiration from that. Your is looking nice so far, her skin is looking great, very soft!

Cre8 - I like what you have going so far, you chose a great camera angle. Good luck with the posing, that cloth might give you trouble :wink:

Sowiedu - That looks good so far, I prefer the first render, it as a soft, yet foreboding feel to it!


nmcelmury: I love the mood that you have set in the shots :wink: If you are battling with hotspots, you might even wanna try a colour corrector in comp that pulls down the highlights a bit?
So far it feels like it came straight out of a Tim Burton movie, good job!

Sowiedu: I also prefer the first one, i think what would be a great addition is if you had a more dulled down version of the 2nd one’s volumetric light in your first render, soft and moody :wink:

prestonplatt: Lovely treatment on the character, very nice SSS going on there :wink: The only thing that feels jarring is the level of black shadowing behind her. How would you feel about getting a bit more bounce light in there?I have seen your work from other challenges and always enjoy your art :slight_smile:


Very nice scene!
Long time, since i’ve done anything.
Oh man, i guess i’m gonna have to start lighting this scene too!


greetings to all. this is a nice scene so I put some light in it. Raw render from max . Hopefully people will join this challenge, it is very nice! Cheers


Hi all,
really nice scene!! Thank you for the possibility to work on this!!
This is my first try with these challanges so I hope I am doing it right.
I decided to give it a sort of “candle lit” look with quite saturated colors towards yellow/orange and blue/purple from the sky.
In maya I gave the general look to the scene among with light direction (I didn’t want to change the shaders and I didn’t want to do too much light linking) using Mental Ray and FG; in Nuke I did the color correction and adjustments using idpasses, RGB lights, occlusion and depth.
The “fake” parts are the smoke and the god rays; for the godrays: I tried 2-3 different ways to get a render layer in Maya (they worked fine with other scenes) but I couldn’t get them to work in here… so I ended up using some shapes in comp (that is fine for static image I think).
I was also thinking to change the pose of the character but I am afraid I won’t have time for that.
Let me know what you think!!

This is the straight render from Maya:

This one is color corrected one.

Full res. here:

@ Sowiedu: I like the second one more (the bright one), the character is more visible and you can see more what’s going on.


Deadline at the end of April KEEP GOING !


I seem to be missing the bed reflection map (Bed_Spec_Map_v022) - would be really great if you have this to upload somewhere.

Thanks for the work on this!


This looks interesting. Maybe I can find some time to get my hands dirty myself. Is post work encouraged? (edit: Seems to be the case.)

@zbugja: I like the angle, reminds me of Vermeer somehow. Just as an idea.
(If someone was to give his render the appearance of a painting in post, would that be seen as within the spirit of the challenge? )
Right now, the red of the carpet is drawing too much attention, though.
(You could use it as a symbol for blood perhaps, but that would be a different scene with different placement of the character. )

@sowiedu: The second one might be an interesting direction, but right now it’s just way over the top and I wouldn’t call it friendly at all.


So a bit of feedback for this wonderful challenge
@preston great start ! can you post the lighting setup without materials ? just wanted to see the isolated light :slight_smile: I will lower a bit the “overall” light in the background to give it a more contrasted look
@nmcelmury terrific start ! in the second image the sheets of the beed look a bit overexposed and since they are the most bright part of the image they distract a bit the viewer. Try to change the angle of the illumination and to turn the light a bit down
the velvet material look great !
@cre8 try to softedn a bit the shadows related to the window. Aldo can you post which kind of light you used ? it seems a spotlight since the shadow is a bit distorted you can try also a parallel light to see if the render looks a little less “creepy”
@Sowiedu second variation is great. I will darken the light from the lamp since now it’s the focus of your scene a softer light would let observer focus more on the lady.

@All I’ve recently re-read Jeremy book and I warmly suggest anyone to read it if you didn’t already do it. It’s just an invaluable resource of tips and also will give you strong and solid fundamentals !


@ zbugja: I like the overall look and lighting; I would make the key a bit stronger and visible maybe with some rays coming in from the window (just a suggesion) ; I agree with Noren about the carpet, may be it would fit better with less saturation and lightness.
@ nmcelmury: I really like the look of your renders!! In my opinion the second image (the close up) seems a bit too distorted.
@ prestonplatt: great start, I like it, can’t wait to see the rest!