Lighting Challenge #15: Film Noir


Please enjoy reading through this thread as an archive, but it is closed to new posts. You can still download the old models and also post your entry in order to ask for feedback here

[left]The challenge here is to render this scene in a Film Noir style, making it look like a frame from a film shot around the 1940s or 1950s.[/left]

[left]Most Film Noir is black and white, although this is not mandatory. Film Noir is not just about rendering stylish, dark images, but also making images that are evocative of dark moods and dark events.[/left]

[left]The gallery of entries is now on-line:[/left]

Click here to see the gallery.

This challenge is completed, but you can still download this scene files and try lighting it yourself:

This scene was modeled by Greg Sandor. Please credit him for his work if you use images of this scene on your webpage or showreel.[/left]



Great challenge… Good luck everyone :beer:


A note about file formats: We need more file formats supported.

Giorgio Luciano (jojo1975) has volunteered to make a 3D Studio Max version. We need vokunteers to make versions Softimage XSI, Lightwave, Cinema 4D, Blender, any other programs that are popular. Just PM me if you can do this, and I’ll host the version you make.

Even if a program can import some of the file formats that are already available for download, often a native-format version helps draw-in more participants who have that brand of software, and that provides a chance to organize or group the objects better than the way they are imported.



Cool Challenge!, Looking forward to get started on that as soon as break kicks in , in a few days.


wout ! film noir style , very good idea ! i have to download that one, thank you Jeremy for the challenge, & Greg Sandor for the scene.


great !!! good luck everyone…


looking forward to this challenge.

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your render engines!


Hi Jeremy,

I import in Blender, here:

Are all here, i hope :shrug:



Great timing! I’m really looking forward to tackling this.


lotaH - Thanks for the Blender file. It’s on-line on the downloads page.

Thanks to Spin99 for the XSI version, the XSI version is on the downloads page.

Thanks to coryc for the Lightwave version, the LWO file is on the downloads page.



I like this challange because you don’t have to worry too much about textures. I usually end up loosing interest half way through a challange due to texture work. This one was quick enough to keep me interested. Did a lot of post work though. :slight_smile:


Hey Jeremy, I attended your 3d masters lighting class at the ADAPT conference of 2006, (which was both helpful and inspiring). I feel ready to take on your lighting challenges, count me in for this one.


hii jermy

Pls answer some of my question

is film noir style may have colors or black n white only ??

it should be dark n moody always ??

what else it should have ??

I am not aware about this term pls give me a brief.



A lot of it is black and white, a lot of it is dark and shadowy, but the “darkness” (noir means darkness) is also thematic. Film Noir are movies about crime and murder and betrayal. Often in a Film Noir you don’t know who the good guys are, you don’t know who to trust, there’s lots of reversals of fortune and plot twists, and even the “hero” is usually morally weak or not purely good.



thanks jermy,

i m getting idea now…

As this thread progress idea will be more clear.


Hello Jeremy and everyone!

I’d love to try this one! It is a great opportunity to use creative lighting and set the mood!

Have a great start everybody. :beer:


Gluteus Maximus - Congrats on being the first entry! I like the small amount of rim light on the hills right under the moon. The big kick of light on the hills to the left seems too harsh to me to come from the moon, maybe something more subtle there could bring out the shape. I think you could do more with rim lighting on other forms in the scene. The wet ground can be an interesting area to show reflections and highlights, you might do this all with specularity on a bump mapped surface, but something that looked like a reflection of the moon, and something that looked like a reflection of the light on the side of the building, would help a lot!

Thanks to jojo1975 there’s now a 3D Studio Max version on the download page!

Thanks to mesutcapkin there’s now a Cinema 4D version on the download page!



Hi everyone, fun challenge. here’s my first take on it…may be a bit bright but its a start:)


And we’re off to a fast start it seems! :slight_smile: Nice one tuffmutt1 - looks like you’ve nailed the mood to me. The scene itself could do with some refinement; I’m always fond of realism, and right now it’s a bit CG-looking, particularly in terms of texturing. Then, there’s bit more that could be done with the black-and-white treatment to give it that beautiful dark-yet-luminous and rich film look. Try playing with a curves adjustment in Photoshop (or your image editor or choice), particularly increasing contrast a bit in the areas with the best subtle lighting.


tuffmutt1 -

Wow! Great image! You’re already kicking on this challenge! If you’re ever applying for a job at Pixar and want a recommendation, let me know.

I don’t think it’s too bright over-all, but some specific parts could be darker. The under-side of the roof (with the wood texture) seems to be getting too much bounce light. Maybe the front triangle of the roof, facing out towards the darkness, could go even darker, and maybe part of the side of the station behind the camper could go darker as well. The front of the car, not the headlights but near the center, seems to be getting a lot of light. The ground around the under-side of the camper might go darker, but the pool of light coming out of it onto the ground could grow into a softer pool of light. You might fix-up the lighting we see through the windows of the camper as well, the back window looks like there’s an unlit interior wall or something.

There are some patterns on the white ceiling of the station above the car (some dark circles near the far edge, black and white stripes along the near beam with lights coming out of it) that are a bit distracting, I don’t know if they are a part of the lighting or the texture. The hubcaps of the little car don’t have completely convincing reflections on them yet, they look a little like what you’d get using an environment map instead of raytracing.

Car headlights sometimes project a nice cookie pattern with little stripes running different directions, you might try to throw a little of that onto the ground in front of the car.