Lighting Challenge #13: Christmas


tuffmutt1 - Great work, Uday! I really like the results you achieve in post-processing, it creates a nice feeling. A few of the little imperfections in the original image remain visible, but none are highlight noticeable. I guess because I’m a geek I still notice where the hook the ball hangs from is faceted, and the mysterious yellow area where the cord connects to the back of the light, but this is trivia. The fish image is a classic. It not only has terrific bokeh, it also brings out a feeling of Christmas lights that’s only found in the best holiday photographs. I think you could put the “Christmas Fish” image on a site like Flickr, and it would be highly ranked and viewed and linked to by millions of people.

shoox - That looks great!

jojo1975 - Terrific image! Maybe some of the geometry near to the camera looks too angular. You might need more subdivision or to soften a shadow? The lights on the tree look nice, but it’s a little hard to tell if they are on or they are off, if they are on but dim, then you should see some lighting or at least highlights on them from the sun. Maybe for such a wide-angle image you could use some barrel distortion on the image?

mirmel - Beautiful image! Nice colors and light. Maybe the fireplace could have been better, if you saw flames or the logs were shaded differently, and it could use (even) softer shadows from the fireplace.

Nehak - Beautiful! You’ve crafted some terrific, evocative images in this challenge.

andystopps - Great work! I loke how glass and mirrors can extend the tree into more of the scene.

Andi2008 - Welcome! I think when you have a bright window in the shot, you could aim some lights through the window, to light the edges of the window and the tree branches near it from behind. SOme shadowing or occlusion might help the image in places, for example above the window it almost appears as if light is leaking out from the top of the window frame above the window?

RazorJack - Great work! I think people look at other parts of the image first, before they notice if there’s frost on the windows, but the frost is a nice touch!

withego - Nice scene! Populating the room adds a lot. I don’t see as much inside vs. outside lighting difference as I’d expect. It looks like a cloudy day outside, but still clearly day, so I’d expect the white of the snow outside to get at least as bright, probably brighter, than the white on the interior wall to the left of the tree. I’d think with daylight out there and daylight on the window sill inside that looks good, that we’d see a more back-lit looking tree in places, and maybe the sky reflection in the ground would go brighter than the christmas light reflection. I like the look of the wood floor overall. And thanks for following-up with all that extra info, Alex! We appreciate it!

seminalsoul - Nice image. You might fill in a little more light on some of the walls, but not so much light on the wall to the right of the fireplace, part of that should be shadowed. The blurring looks a little unconvincing (some of the gifts under the tree blurred, some not, etc.)

snoopyBG - Nice scene! That’s an interesting take on the project.

kanooshka - Looks great! Thanks for posting the extra info. The anim-gif with the pass breakdown is a clever idea, I hope everyone saw it load and move in post #473.

ARTECmedia - Great work!

KelvinChen - Welcome! I like the shadow. Maybe on the the table-top the candles could be less bright on the bottom, or the top of the table could reflect them, to better connect them to the rest of the scene. Parts of the tree or firelight could be brighter, too, to help draw attention to other parts. Probably the dresser doesn’t need to be so bright or so evenly lit.

Halford - Nice image.

Wish I had time to say more. Must get ready for work now. Sorry I got so far behind on feedback!



Thank you very much Jeremy!!
You’re right about the fireplace…I’ll try to follow your advice!

:slight_smile: m



Thanks for the feedback! It’s very considerate especially knowing how hectic your life is right now. Much appreciated! :thumbsup:


HI all!
This morning I was in time to make a little change, so…here’s my closing image!!



Hi All, Please have a look at my final image. So its a last day for the competition, but please comments and critics are most welcome. It helps alot. Dint got much time to work on this but, i really enjoyed it. Thanks Jeremy for a wonderful experience.

Link to the Final Full Res. Image

Final Image

I have used some Render elements some important elements were…



And also zDepth.

I have Used VRay 1.5 RC3 with Max 9.0, and Postproduction in Photoshop CS3

Thanks alot all…


Thanks a lot jeremy for the comment. I hope to find the time to do a last renderer this is “almost the final one” added a bit of glow to the treelights and changed floor textures

full HD


Thanks Jeremy!!. and here is my final image ,so i have used maya 2008 ,mental ray GI and FG, all shadows are raytrace shadows, for the depth of field i used the new mental ray shader “mia_lens_bokeh” and also i used “mia_exposure_photographic” for tone mapping, all materials are mia_material , rendered out in one pass :shrug:



Here is the final image of challenge I give a description posterai tomorrow, because here I am a little short of time.


nitz3D - Terrific ! I like your bulbs and lights.

tuffmutt1 - Always wonderful ! Perhaps the pine tree texture could have more reflexions.

Great jobs from all the 3D artists…


Hi everyone. Time to finish my christmas.
Here are the last renderings. I moved the camera and changed some texures and stuff.
Also please check my xmas-card version with the original camera angle
to have more space to put those messsages.
(Maya MentalRay: MIA_materials with AO, FG.
Photoshop for adding light effects and color correction.)

Thank you for the comments and this great challenge Jeremy!


Terrific Stuff! This has been an amazing challenge, lots of great images right up to the end.

I am not going to lock this thread right away, but please be aware that tonight (January 31) is the deadline for any posts that will win a prize. Things posted after tonight will not be eligible for the prizes.

I will announce winners and have new galleries on-line within 10 days.



wow! thanks for the compliment. i think i could play with this scene forever.
thanks JCBug. i really appreciate that.
now I just couldnt resist this…

By uday_kadkade


i used 6 lights to light up the room.
One spot from the window to illuminate the rug, gift boxes and the tree and ornaments.
one to fill the left side of the room.
one to fill the wall behind the tree.
one to fill the wood floor.
one omni to light up the top jewel arear of the tree.
one omni to light up the inside of the fire place and a area spot to light up the floor.
then there were about 32 omnis to light up only the pine needles wharere the bulbs are.(these lights didnt illuminate anything else but the pines, and with no shadows, and only decay on it was done before i could finish a cigarette, which is about 5 mins for the health concsious ones)
all lights had inverse square fall off on, except the floor fill and the light coming through the back lights were casting any shadows for this scene except the spot light from the fire place.

this is the render i got. with render elements activated.




rendered out separate glare passes for the tree ornaments, bulbs and the treetop jewel.

bulb glare pass

also rendered an occlusion pass.

and a Z buffer pass

just plopping them together on top of each other gave me this…

but the poor tree looked really lame and that is unacceptable because its our “hero element”
so i rendered a pass that would bring out the needles by using just one light from the right side. also a seperate render for the fire place got me some bump detail.


that got me this…

looking much better now i think. but no fun to look at.still looked flat especially on the walls and what not.
so i rendered a shadow pass by sticking one mental ray area omni light in the center of the tree. and i got this.
(this is an inverted image as the render for the shadow pass looked black .)

added that as a multiplied layer and tweaked the transperancy and hue to get this.
this added some variation to the walls which looked too flat otherwise. also pasted the fire in the fire place .

Once i got this it was time to tweak the i flattened the image and made a layer copy of the same.
used pshops variations tool to add that gold illumination feel.
then i simply took a large eraser brush and painted the areas i didnt want to have gold effect. heres the layer. blue is where the transperancy of the layer is.

that brought out the orignal colors from the back layer and created a halo kinda feel to the over all tree area.
which got me this…

eventually i used the lens blur filter in photoshop and using the z buffer as a mask i blurred it ever so slightly to soften the foreground just a tad.cropped it for the postcard…:slight_smile:

Thanks to Jeremy Birn for this great scene and to numerous others who have contributed to this challenge. and thanks for taking time to read this.

I think i am done now.:wise:


Realy good renders from everyone, i like the ideas of each one :wink:

too bad i see this post too late. i hope i can get into next challenge, when is the next one ???

Good work people!


tuffmutt1 Love the postcard you made out of that image :slight_smile:
Did you have to put that Light lister in my face… damn I miss that thing ever since I stopped using Max.



congratulation to all it was one of the best challenge I partecipate :slight_smile:


Thanks a lot Jeremy for the great challenge…I really enjoyed working on it :slight_smile:


Last but not least, I couldn’t resist too :


Hi jeremy thanks a lot for the wonderful challenge…each challenges are coming better and better each time…i did get much time to texture the set…and here is my render with the basic textures…beauty,occlution and glow these are the passes i have taken…

C&C are most welcomed even though i am too late here for this challenge…