Lighting Challenge #29: Pixar Tribute: Gusteau's Kitchen (Ratatouille)


Hi! my name is Anibal! Im studing Digital Animation at Veritas in Costa Rica Im just learning how to light scenes in my animation class. This is my first entry to the challenge, im still playing with the lights!, So cool the works around here! Enjoy the challenge You all! :wink:

By tiranodragon at 2012-01-30


Still working with the lights mainly - apart from some materials.
16 lights, no GI, 6 min rendertime @800x600



Here is the updated version of my render. Getting close to the reference pic but still too far. As compared to my previous version, this one has a more smooth fall off on all the lights so that I can get these darkening in the corners to match more. Also, made the changes that Dan asked for. Don’t have much free time on my hands right now but soon will be up and running. I would love to comment on all the other images but I got to rush. Everyone is doing a great job and I am loving all the renders. :stuck_out_tongue:

Changes made: Water geometry | Added Steam & Fire | New texture on the pot | Hotspots on the pot, ladle & rod on the shelf | Added lights

About scene: Total 21 lights, render time of 40 mins at 2k. Render time went really high as I increased the blur in reflections. Will be debugging that soon. For now, this is what I have.

Would love to hear from you.


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Wow, I’m glad this challenge has become so popular!

niravsheth: Excellent updates! The brass bar material is getting a little dark in the shadow areas. Giving it some more reflectivity may help with that by reflecting the brighter wall underneath it. The ladle still has some bright light hitting it form the right which feels very unmotivated. The pot could use a little more yellow in it’s coloring. The counter top could be brighter overall, it’s extremely reflective in the reference. The burners could have some more diffuse illumination from the flames. Also, I’d like to see the wall above the shelf to be darker as if it’s shadowed from the burner’s light. Do you think you’d be able to post a link to your reference image each time you post an update? It’d be easier to critique without having to go back to your first post to find it.

runejw: I’m having a hard time understanding where your light sources are. The back wall is too consistently lit. Try thinking of it this way. The top of the wall could be darker because it’s above a light source, Under that it can be brighter because it’s next to the light source and then the bottom of the wall can be darker because it’s further away from the light. I’d recommend simplifying your light rig and try to control the way your light sources are illuminating the scene. Keep at it, it’s a difficult scene!

nibogt: Welcome! First off, don’t forget to smooth some of your geometry. The pots and pans are difficult to critique because they’re faceted. Try to focus on one key light direction to begin. After you really nail down how that key light is looking, then start putting in some bounce light. Build up your lighting like a painter painting on a canvas.

novuh: Welcome! Wow that’s lots of images you’ve posted. It’s difficult to post about all of those, especially considering how many participant’s work I give feedback for, it’d be helpful if you posted just one or two images instead in the future. I’ll give feedback on the 3rd image you posted, since that one conveys the lighting the best. Compositionally, there’s a lot going on in the right portion of the image but the left part is very empty. If you zoom in closer to that area, it could help make it more interesting. The side of the stove could use some darkening. You might have to move your sunlight or create a shadow object to achieve this. The darker objects in the foreground work very well and would look even better with some bokeh. The left side of the image in the background is looking too consistent and barren, but you might not have to worry about that if you end up using a different composition.

jeloh: Welcome! These are great colors, they’re very reminiscent to the horizon in this image The wall the window is on seems to be glowing as if it’s translucent, I’m not sure what could be causing this. Materials will really help out with this image. On the right stove in the foreground it could use some warm kick from the window. Same goes for the left stove, just not as bright. Make sure to smooth the legs of the stoves, especially the one in the foreground. This composition caters well to some bokeh with a focus on the bright area near the window and very blurry near the camera.

ayomc: Welcome! The cooler fill light doesn’t seem to be very motivated, is it supposed to be skylight? The pots hanging from the image left stove are getting lost against the wall in the background. The area in the background lit by the cool light could use some more warm bounce light from the foreground. That should help make the two more cohesive. Also it looks like the bars attached to the vents could use some smoothing.

rafacr: Welcome! It’s hard to critique the images when they’re so small and there’s so many of them. Try to choose a camera angle and render at a higher resolution. Overall you’re off to a good start!

Restrife: Welcome! Nice color choices. I’d like to see more of a transition between the two colors, it’s really splitting the image in half. Don’t forget to smooth out the round geometry, especially the pots and bars. Materials will really help push this one to the next level, good work!

alfarocynthia: Welcome! Overall the scene is extremely bright. There are some harsh lines on both the floor and walls. I’m not sure if this is the edge of a spotlight cone or a very hard shadow. Make sure your lights are casting shadows, a lot of areas are missing contact shadows. The reflections don’t seem to be receiving shadows. Make sure your shadow trace depth is high enough in both your render settings and your light sources.

neinneinnein: Welcome! Good job for your first lighting attempt ever. Make sure to smooth the round objects in the scene. The wall and floor are too consistently lit. The top of the wall could be darker because it’s above a light source, Under that it can be brighter because it’s next to the light source and then the bottom of the wall can be darker because it’s further away from the light. Looks like there’s some odd stuff going on with the vent on the right stove. That geometry might not be okay to smooth. Keep going!

asinn: Nice work! The sunlight could be warmer colored and brighter as well. Don’t forget to smooth the round geometry. Looking forward to some materials so you can get into some reflections and highlights.

Keep up the good work!


Hi this is my first approach to the image, just focusing on the lights and mood for now.
Some feedback would be awesome, and helpful. Hopefully I can achieve a great result in this challenge. :stuck_out_tongue:
Some of the images already posted are pretty nice.


Starting the challenge.


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hi there, good to see a lot of participation on this challenge, is the first time I ever participate so here it goes.
The scene is at lighting setup, using basic gray shaders to get the idea. I hope to get a lot of feedback.


Hi all,

Many new updates here, nice to see so many people.

niravsheth : great update yeah, waiting to see all the rim-light on the vegetable !

Again a mini update for the copper, this one give me hard times (I did the trick with the color in specular), and renders times got very long (4h in 5k). I cheated a bit with photoshop on this one. I Think I’am gona redo all the lighting in the scene, some time I have to restart from zero to get what I want.


Hello my name is Warren Acuña, I’m a student of Digital Animation carreer at Veritas University, Costa Rica
For one of the classes will be doing this incredible challenge.
This post is my first step in the challenge … I appreciate your criticism.

Thanks :thumbsup:
Wa Jr


kanooshka, thanks a lot for the advises, I’m looking forward to apply them. And also I’m sorry haha, this is my very first challenge so I wasn’t sure how much information about the process was enough. Again thanks a lot and I’ll keep uploading some progress in the comming days.


If this is supposed to be a lighting challenge why is nearly everyone adding shaders/materials to the scene then? Just wondering.


Hi feed3r,

Lights and materials really go hand in hand. Highlights, reflections, refractions, translucency, etc… are all important parts of lighting and rendering.

Good materials can also make lighting much easier. In larger studios, lighters don’t necessarily set up materials. But with these scenes that are provided we don’t have that luxury and it’s up to the artist.



Because texturing and materials are integral to lighting.


How Do artists in larger studios usually setup materials?


Another update. 8min 35 sec render @ 800x532 in Modo. (Only spotlights and a couple point lights. No GI. 19 lights in all. )

Some really nice lighting setups and materials from several already

Myself, much to do yet… :wip:


runejw: Looking much better! The black areas of the stove could use more reflectivity, especially at glancing angles. The archway in the background could use some bounce light from the foreground. The wall underneath the back stove’s vent is getting too bright. The copper pans are getting too dark. it could be a trace depth issue or you may need to increase the reflectivity of the material. The plates on the right look very grainy, looks like you need to turn up your samples. The window could be integrated better with the scene it’d be nice to see the sky more visible in the reflections in the scene.

jobim: In larger studios a lot of the development is don’t by shader artists. Some studios even use state of the art equipment to measure different surface properties.

waJrAcuna: Hi, you’ll have to put your images up on a hosting site like photobucket or imageshack if you want to put the url in [IMG] tags.

FeD: The copper is looking better, especially the ones on the stove. I’m not sure if changing the specular color would have caused a change in render time. I haven’t had that happen to me before. The hanging pans seem to be much more ref than the pans on the stove, I’m not sure what would cause that. It looks like you’ve desaturated a lot of the scene and in that process lost a lot of the nice warmth you had going on. The brass could definitely use some more saturation in the specular color, it’s starting to look more like silver. Keep at it!

AlejandroBonilla: Welcome! Off to a good start. I’d like to see a little more focus to your keylight, brighter on the top of the stove and darker on the side/ground, brighter on the top of the rack and darker on the bottom, similar to what’s happening with the left side of the rack. I’d also like to see the wall the window is on to be darker. The left side of the rack could also be just a little bit darker. The object in the foreground on the far right of the image could be darker to set it out from the background and also could use some bokeh. Also, some of the geometry looks like it needs some smoothing.

chapopote1988: Welcome! I’d like to see some more focus from your lights. Try to direct the view to a certain area of the image. Maybe you could try The ceiling looks extremely bright, try darkening the ceiling to help create some of contrast and at the same time some of that focus.

andreshs: Welcome! First off, make sure to smooth the geometry that needs it. You have the dark and midtone values, now you need brights and highlights. There’s a lot of black areas that could use some brightening. For example the inside of the hanging pots are black. They may need something to reflect that is off screen.

AndiClockWise: Welcome! Very nice colors. Make sure to smooth out the geometry that needs it. I’d like to see the right side of the image have darker shadows, really bringing the focus to the stove on the left. The object that’s closest to the camera in the top left of the image could use some adjustments. Overall it could be darkened some more as well as have some Bokeh. Besides that, I’d say you’re ready to start with some materials, then you can get into highlights etc…


Hi everyone, my name is Yazmín, Im studing Digital Animation at Veritas University in Costa Rica and this is my first CG Challenge, which really will be a challenge for me, because the lighting is something that it’s very difficult to me, so this is just a beginning, my idea is make like a night ilumination but I need to learn some light shader for the effect that I want, so this its just a test, I hope that soon I can upload a new render. :slight_smile:


Awesome challenge! I’ve tried to match pixar’s look as much as possible (a true challenge), and also by using occlusion plugged into each material’s ambient colour, as an alternative to using Global illumination. This is my main reference:

Here’s my attempt so far with out using any GI or FG:

Looking forward to getting some advice on making it better.


Hey all,

Looking forward to getting started on this challenge! Already seeing some good-looking images beginning to shape up. I do have one question about the rules which I’m hoping to clear up before I start posting. In the guidelines, it says not to post any images or videos from the film or they will be removed. I was hoping to use a reference image to post along with my renders which I’ve noticed a couple people doing. Is this OK?