Lighting Challenge #13: Christmas


This is an old challenge now, this thread is archived. If you scroll down to the Challenge #13 section of the downloads page, you’ll see that the models can still be downloaded for your tests, and also that a gallery has been made of top entries. Feel free to browse this thread to see what others have posted, even though you can no longer post here.


NEW RULE: When you post your image, share a little bit about how you made it. Please mention facts such as: what software you used, which rendering algorithms (raytracing, global illumination, final gathering, etc.), what kind of system you render it on, how long it took to render, and if you did anything to optimise the scene or speed up the rendering process (rendering in layers, baking, etc.)

Your image is your own copyrighted work, and you are free to display it on your webpage, on other forums, or in your portfolio. Please include a credit to the modeller who built each challenge. This challenge was modeled by Jeremy Birn. Linking to our forum is always appreciated as well.

NEW DEADLINE: Images must be posted by January 31, 2008 to be eligible for prizes.

THREE PRIZES will be awarded:

[li]Best Overall Image (to be judged by Jeremy Birn based on what’s posted by January 31, 2008.)[/li][li]Best Use of Bokeh (using bokeh effects is optional, but this scene is a perfect test case…)[/li][li]Genius Award (for the person who posts the most useful and helpful information on this thread - breakdowns of your own work, feedback to others, clever tricks to make the scene easier to render, anything else useful you post counts towards this.)[/li][/ul]Anyone who posts by the end of January 2008 is eligible to win a prize (except for Jeremy Birn, who will be judging the contest.)


Lighting Challenge #13 is on-line, and this one really is a “challenge.” It features a fireplace, a Christmas tree, and lots of lights and pine needles. The challenge is to bring this scene to life and capture the feeling of Christmas time. You can add or change what you want about the scene in order to produce the best final render possible. If you’re ready for our most complex lighting challenge scene yet, you can download it now:


(More file formats are still needed - people with different software, please help submit those to me…)

Here’s a peak at the scene, without much lighting or any texture.



Thanks to polymess, there’s now a Lightwave .lwo format on the download page.

I know there are Max and C4D users reading this… if you’ve gotten the scene imported into your software, I need volunteers to give me a .3DS or .C4D file. I’m happy to host file formats for other software as well.



The LWO should open up fine in Modeler.

The OBJ opened as one layer in Modo, but I broke it up into six layers. The XmasTree´s needles in one of them.


Great challenge, great scene. Looking foreward to finishing this one.
Imported the obj in max ok. The scene just needs a few normals fliped.

Just to get something up here;
3ds max, MR, Photoshop.
first test renders:

no materials and no light setup yet. simple render with 4 onmi lights, no shadows.

Ambient occlusion pass.

Simple comb in photoshop.


Great challenge idea! I’m so excitied to do this one :slight_smile:


COOL ! perfect for a postcard :slight_smile:


nice challenge Jeremy !
here is my first two hour light tweaking attempt
software: XSI and Shake

no FG or Gi but quite alot lights mainly point lights
Did some grading and glowing in Shake using a half float openExr file


COOL ! perfect for a postcard :slight_smile:


Yeah. I’m in. :arteest:

Good luck everyone!


Welcome floze, jojo1975, lauras !

sick73 - Glad to see that working! The shaded view shows some of the round objects need their edges smoothed or normals recomputed. The occlusion pass looks like the lower parts of the stockings, and the mantle in front of the fire, need their normals reversed. The way the bevel is going bright between the ceiling and the walls looks like you need a higher spread angle on the occlusion too. Overall it’s encouraging to see these tests, it lets me know everything’s getting translated properly.

Fex - Great to see it working in XSI! If you’re already started lighting, everyone else had better catch up!



Hi Guys; Hope everybody is doing fine…

This is my first contribution in CGtalk challenges…
I took some time yesterday to work on the scene and this is what I have so far…

I used Maya 2008 - MentalRay rendering engine (Physical Sun, Portal Lights on the windows, and couple of mia materilas for the ground and walls)… then I took the stillframe to photoshop for sharpning…

Comments and critique are most welcomed, and Inshallah… I will carry on working with the scene this evening… wish me luck :slight_smile:


Hi, thanks for the challenge.
This is my try using the beta version of V-Ray for Maya and its straightforward GI.
I liked the shap look of the above great rendering by seedra4 so I added a bit of it in Combustion.


Hey guys, I’m new here and this is the first challenge I’m taking on.
I want to learn more about lighting/rendering so I though this challenge would be a good place for me to try out some stuff.

Here is what I have so far:


Nice start guys! Especially seedra4’s image, nice overall ambience in there. Good luck to those who participate!


Great challenge, though I can’t seem to get any of my mediocre programs to like the obj file. I’ll see if I can get it to work. :slight_smile:


@L33tace: What is the program you are using?


Jeremy, I’ve got a blender version of the file if you want.


I’ve tried Daz|Studio, Carrara 6 and Byrce. D|S actually imports it the best but even to do a test render is slow and by the time I add materials and lights … I’ll just have to develop more patience :slight_smile:
Is it just me or is an obj file of nearly 194,000kb a bit on the big size?


Hi guys! We have great challange here!:slight_smile:
Here’s what I have so far, I used maya and mray. I was played with warm and cold colors to achive nice colorful atmospere. The rendering time is about 5 min.
Please tell me what should I improve or change! Thanks!


already?! im still at challenge 12… lol

i see this challenge is off to a good start, eh?!
great images guys…