Lighting a candle light scene


Dear All,
I wish to light a scene where I have a candle and two swords.
I set up the candle light but either the scene gets too dark or way too blown out. As an addition, I wish to see those nice reflections on my swords that are not there in the dark.
I tried to pull this off with an area light with no falloff on the top, no shadow, and some tiny point lights near my swords with no shadow to get those glossy reflections, but still I am not satisfied with the result.
Can someone with experience help me on this one?
Thanks in advance.


For candle-light, you’re going to want two surface-shaded visible objects emitting light - one for the candle itself, subsurfacescattering type situation where it also emits light (photons or whatever GI you’re using), and another actual object for the candle’s flame. That way the flame shows up in the metal reflections of your sword!

Both should be geometry, although your flame’s shader of course will want transparency and/or opacity maps so it doesn’t look all geometric when you render it. Consider the flame a visible area light. Point lights and such won’t really work by themselves, though you could of course use those to brighten or fill up the scene.


Thanks for the info.
I did the following yet:
I do have that SSS shader on my candle, but I fake the flame’s light with a point light (btw I use Blender), I plan to composit the flame later on.
What is different when I use the geometry as a light and not a point light? And will that idea get rid of the darkness in my scene yet it won’t make it all blown out?
EDIT: just set up some lights and yes, the point light somehow disappears, at least when I set it to realistic quadratic falloff.
Should I experiment with linear falloff and still use that point light or use that area light with the quadratic falloff?
You are right, point lights are not that awesome, at least for me they did not do the job in this particular case.


Point lights can be useful, but if you want anything else in the scene to reflect the candle flame, you need something TO reflect. You can always just make a simple card plane or something and replace it in Photoshop later, but it would at least show up on the swords that way, you see? Point lights can’t reflect as a flame.


Linear workflow will help out a bunch here, make sure your gamma settings are right.