Lighting Challenge #17: Natural History


This is an old challenge now, this thread is archived. If you scroll down to the Challenge #17 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.

Challenge #17 Deadline: Monday, January 5, 2009. This will be the final deadline for your work to appear in the gallery. Start early, this is a big scene! The sooner you post a work in progress, the sooner you can get feedback and improve your work.

The goal here is to bring this scene to life, adding convincing lighting and depth to the space. You can use whatever software or techniques you want to create an original, well-lit 3D rendering of this scene. You may add or subtract or change the models, create textures, arrange the shot as you please, or do whatever else you want to realize your vision of the scene.

PLEASE: When you post an image, also post what software you are using, your render times, and any special settings or techniques you are using. For example, if you rendered the scene in different layers and composited, if you used occlusion or raytracing or global illumination, settings like this are interesting to other people doing the challenge!

This scene was modeled by Alvaro Luna Bautista (who did all the architecture and displays and everything except the dinosaurs), and Joel Andersdon (who made the dinosaur skeletons.) Please credit Alvaro Luna Bautista and Joel Andersdon for their modeling work if you use images of this scene on the web or in your portfolio or showreel.

Here is the link to download the files, and a few images of this huge, complex scene we have to work with!

Download Link:



Thats Nice ,

Will start working on it ASAP.


Hello all… this look like another fun challenge … heres my start on it :slight_smile: default shader only lighting for the moment (need to check normals and add some texturing for sure … ) but is a start … hope u like it :hmm:

1k render

a desaturated version

1k render


A very nice challenge indeed, but my computer takes longer calculating all
the empty uv’s than actual rendering… :wink:


wow, big scene. This might take some time for me to plan! Nonetheless, look forward to great renders from you guys! I have never did interior lighting before so this might be first real go!


I don’t know if anyone has already looked, but I searched “natural history museum” on and found some great interior shots at different times of day. Could be good for lighting and texture reference.


Hey everyone! I came across this photograph while searching the internet for some reference images and guess what? It appears to be the same museum that our 3d model has been based on. Check it out:


Here is my first go. I am focusing just on the lighting at this point; texures and materials will come later. Tell me what you think.


Quite right. This challenge idea started with when Joel Anderson (Joel3D) created the Dinosaur models. (I got the spelling Andersdon from his cgtalk profile and posts. His website uses the spelling Anderson, so I think that’s probably correct.) When he first posted the skeletons last year, I asked him if we could use them in a lighting challenge, and he said yes. If you check his website, he has them textured and rigged by now, too, but back when we talked he only had skeletons, so we needed a complete environment to create a challenge scene out of the dinosaur skeletons.

Alvaro Luna Bautista (Samo), who also modeled the Local Train challenge, put about 40-50 hours of work into building a model of the Natural History Museum in London, using Blender. You can look through and find more pictures of the real thing at these addresses:
By coincidence, this lighting challenge is based in the same famous hall that was also used on cgtalk for a matte painting challenge, you can see here:



hi guys iam with you{first time} :cool:


hi all,
this is my first try usin Houdinis PBR renderengine… need correct decays


He’s my first lighting render.


I see that in the downloads-section of this challenge Jeremy listed all the former publishers of the different 3d programs which have now all been assimilated by the Autodesk juggernaut.

This 'll be my first lightning challenge. Pretty ambitious one to start with, I know :wink: I started on the lighthouse 2 weeks ago but the deadline was just too tight for me to make it.


Hi I’m starting to love those challanges…
This is with C4D+VRay sun and some photoshop action:rolleyes:
:curious: why there’s no C4D file format this time…???


hi guys
downloaded the model this is going to be a fun challenge looking forward to see all the posts and brilliant work that people come up with


The scene is huge and my computer at home isn’t handling it very well. But after some cleaning up, should be ok. Looks like it could be the most fun challenge so far.


wow this should be a great challenge. been looking forward to one, but have been so busy. Will try and make time. Here’s a quick test, after cleaning up max file, and testing out some sun positions. Quick adjustments in photoshop.


This scene is just amazing, big thanks to Alvaro Luna Bautista and Joel Andersdon.

I have also started cleaning up normals etc. so you guys can count on me in this challenge too :smiley:

The pre-renders so far is looking good :slight_smile:


Draft one, maya/mental ray:


Look great peeps. So after the lighting draft, the next step is to add textures and shaders?