Lighting Challenge #6: Candle Light


Great Work Guys :slight_smile:

Need to jump in with this shot i did over lunchbreak.
I will work on this (flames, procelain) and an Night scene if i get some more time.

Critique welcome.

EDIT: some retouched one.

Edit: another retouch … just brighter … goal was to archieve “artifacts / noise” from the CCD of a digital cam.


Sweet, newcomers =) Welcome and hail to all.

Fighter – I think your render looks really nice, low key and all that is really good in terms of “global lighting”. I find two aspects that could be worked on though. First of all I’d say your candles lack candle feature: dont forget the glossiness :wink: Indeed, specular is one thing that determines that it looks like a candle but dont forget that wax melts, and therefore the top should appear pretty glossy. This especially with the light of the candle illuminating it. Secondly, I find, this being my own opinion only, that the color scheme isnt quite defined yet. I think you could accentuate your palette cause right now it looks as if their were too many colors. Maybe the flower in the frame adds to this feeling I have. The flower being a good idea, but maybe not that color. Or maybe less saturated.

Barry – I think I much preferred your first approach of this scene. Indeed, here I think it looks as though all is a bit overlit. Whereas when you look at your first approach, the mood was nicely set. Furthermore, I really like the feeling that was added with your old background, and all the “color spots”. Yet if I had to comment on this render I would also say this: I like the water you added in the plate and think it was a good idea. The candle holder however, looks knda oily, I think maybe your glossiness is set too high. Last thing, try setting your omnis for the candles in inverse square decay, youll see it is much more comfortable to work with when dealing with candles, or so I hope :wink:

glebe digital – I really like the “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”-feel in your image. Especially the fact that it glitters and all, yet it doesnt look kitsch :wink: Thanks to your lighting. The insense’s reflection looks great and adds a lot of strength. You palette is realy nice. Only advice I could give you is to work on that flame. When u look at a candle light, you’ll see you dont see only 2 colors, indeed you also see some bluish purple at the base and the colors arent linear. I would suggest using a gradient ramp, and a falloff mask in self illumination in order to have the feeling that it burns more naturally. Other then that, nice job =)

Rambow – The general light of your scene looks more like artificial light I find. This might be due to the fact that white is the color of your key light. The depth of field is nice though really adds “concentration of the eye” and your textures for candle holders work well. For the candles and their falme however, I would suggest working more on the glossiness for the candlestick, and adding some color to your flame. Right now it looks more like the fake candles u see in shops where the flame is actually a light bulb. Keep going =)

Good luck to you all, Ill try to find time to rework my scene during the night.


Done with C4D area lights, no GI.


i’m lovin your vase material Triker… and the fabric screen in the background. nice touch!

nice render. how long was the render time?

why area lights and not point lights with a large radius may i ask?
more control?

many thanks



Thanks for the critique kadazil.

My goal was to archive a daylight scene.
Where the candles just got a littlebit influence to the lighting.

Used a rig out of ~30 Lights and seperate lights just to lit the candle
to avoid them being too bright when using translucency.
Reflection is a simple spherical mapped photo of a room.

I did some more experiments.
Need to fix some problems with the flames and DoF.


What renderer are you using ChrRambow… Looks sooooo real!


@Seggy … overall wonderful image and color balance. The Blue one is my favourite! :slight_smile:

@lazzhar … Great light … nothing to crit! :slight_smile:

@kadazil … i really like your idea.

@Buka … light is good so far … you should work on the flames …they look a littlebit “blobby”

@glebe digital … your image got a wonderful mood … the translucency on the candle need to be a littlebit more subtile and more falloff.

@barrymcw … you could try to lit the scenes completely without GI … a solid light rig will
save a lot of rendertime and will provide much more control because you can exclude or include objects to lights.

@fighter4d … a solid start … the candles need some “waxy” material. If your 3d program is not supporting translucency you can easy fake it with a gradient in the luminance channel. This would add a lot to the scene.
The glass is looking a littlebit weird … maybe the refraction index is too high.

@ALL … have fun :slight_smile:


Thanks Kadazil / Christian, yes I’d need to work on the candle SSS and the flame itself…if time allows I’ll give it another roll of the dice. :slight_smile:


If you get that lwo version cleaned up be sure to post it!


I really like this. I agree, the sss needs a bit of tuning, but I love the mood.



Thanks for the comments.

Render time was 1 hr:40 minutes at 1280 x 1024 on a Quad G5 Mac
And I did use point lights with area shadows for the candles, sorry for the bad info. I used an area light above to simulate the bounce light.


It might also be because I neglected to put any texture on the incense. Yeah, I’m cool like that ;). I’ll put something on it and then check it out.

@ ChrRambow - I got that render in about 40 min., mostly by dropping the prepass to 1/2. Well, I think that was the variable that made the most difference. I don’t mind that long of a render but I agree that it’d do me good to work on building good bounce rigs. And I do think that some of my candles may improve if I did exclude them from some other lights.

@ Kadazil - I too liked those spots but they were more “happy accidents” than intentional. They were due to having too few samples in my GI settings and, while I agree that they were kind of neat, I want to focus on getting a clean GI render first.

@ ChrRambow again - super clean renders, very nice. The crispness of the metal mats on the candleholders is beautiful. There is something about the DOF and maybe the quality of the lights that makes the back panels look almost as if they were composited in and not a part of the scene. Just a little bit, but it’s the main thing that jumped out at me.

Hopefully I’ll get another up this evening but more likely it’ll be a day or two. Cheers.


Thanks a lot.

@Seggy … i am using Cinema4D … the renderer is Advance Render 2.

In post i’ve added some “bloom” effects and a lot of color correction.
One of the most important effect for me was the blueish rims.

I put together a “small sheet” to discribe what i’ve done.

Then again a lot of post … adding grain … and blur it just very subtile
then grain again.

@barrymcw … oh 40 min is a lot … my rendertimes are about 5-9 min depending
on what AA i am using. What program u are using? in C4D “quality” is a huge factor
for rendertime … also the bounce depth.

Thanks … Yes i forget to light the BG with a littlebit more patience. Thanks a lot for the
hint … i will fix it. :slight_smile:

@Triker … wow 1h 40min is heavy … are you using area shadows too? Maybe you could
use a littlebit more less samples or soft shadows where you will not notice them that much
to boost up the rendertime.

@glebe digital … can not wait to see the next image … btw. the smoke and glow is turning out great.


Thanks Kev, Christian!
Yes I’m cooking another one…subtle differences but hopefully an improvement. Thanks for the encouragement.


Thanks for the relatively easier challenge following the underwater one Jeremy.
Looks like there is going to be some good images coming out in this one, I like what I’m seeing so far.

My first entry this round (sory fo the jaggies, wanted to get a quick one out so no AA)


Happy to join in this Challenge, Thanks to Jeremy for the effort

Please give your Comments and suggestions,

@ ChrRambow - very realistic look, you got the right candle flame shade, i love it, how long it takes to render ?

@ glebe digital - cool dark shot, i like the smoke very much, it will be more believable if the fire is on the other end

@ barrymcw - good lighting, i like the table and candle holder shade, i like your first camera angle very much

@ fighter4d - i love this render,cool shades, i think the candle and flame shade need improvement

@ Buca - I love the Silver shade, the candle glow is too much for that exposure

@ jeremy birn - thanks for the candle reference photos

@ kadazil - i like the blue mood very much, expecting some improvements on shading though

@ Seggy - great work, i like it very much

@ fulg0re - i agree with meanlebh, nice start, an occlusion pass can solve the problem,

@ MasterZap - Wow, i like the realistic look, nice candle light feel

@ lazzhar - nice cool colors, I like it


BarberOfCivil - nice candle light feel, cool textures, the theme suits the image very well


@ Christian,

C4d as well, AA set to “Best” and “Still Image.” 3 bounces in my GI. Also, I have visibilty turned on for each of the lights in the scene and volumetrics apparently make GI renders rather slow.

Now, I’m a GI newbie, but from how I understand it, I don’t know why I’d go under 3 bounces. I’d imagine that would take away from the color bleeding effect and the gentle lighting in the places that aren’t getting direct light.

I’ve seen posts from people who use only one bounce, but I’ve not been sure what that does really (the posts were all old, so I didn’t ask in them directly).

I’m going to duplicate the scene and try one with some bounce lights added.

Thanks a ton for the color correction sheet you posted. Very interesting to see what others are doing.



@BarberofCivil … Wonderful lighting

@ sri: I like the lighting a lot. Just the wood texture and the confusing image at the background wall could need some work.

My rendertime was about 6 minutes in 900x591 with best AA because only used omni
lights with soft shadows (500x500 samplesize: 14).

@barrymcw: With the diffuse depth you set how many steps the light will be remit from
the surfaces. This can slowdown the rendertime with GI a lot when you have to render
complex geometry. Choosing the steps of the diffuse depth is depending on how you
are using GI in your scene. for example … are you creating serveral lights and using GI to enhance them then you could stick with one.

I did a fast sketch and some examples.

hope i could help a littlebit :slight_smile:


Using area shadows, lots of samples in SSS, and lots of other render intensive stuff. If it was commercial I would just do most of it in post, but what the hey, it is for fun…