Lighting of a night scene with lightpools


hi there, since i want to get better in setting up good and fast lightrigs, i’m in need of some feedback.

i want to achieve a look like this in the lower right:

and here is my attempt. the scene looks dull i know, but perhaps you can give me some tips to the lighting.
i only want to use scanline renderer with no advanced lighting solution but selective lighting and shadow only lights and so on…
the current scene renders in 10 sec. and has a couple of gi fakes and so on in it.

here a viewportscreen.
does anybody has some tips for me?


Great work dude, fascinating setup! And 10 seconds per frame is awesome too. But why not to use mental ray with the same setup, just curious? Will the sampler work slower?
About the looks you want, I see the difference in intensity, color and a bit of glow in the original scene. You definitaly need to increase the bouncing lights intensity, and tint them in something like green, or whatever. You ca nadd a bit of glow in post.


hi alexander, yes mental ray is slower. with same setup in 800x457 its 54sec. (scanline is 1120x640 in 10 sec)
it looks the same in mr although “adv. ray traced shadows” do not work there, for transparent shadows…but for that is mr shadow map.

anyway thx for your input! what you say is right, i will try out some glow and some more bright and perhaps greener lighting. but the overexposed effect due to long shutter times is a bit too hefty for a cool night rendering. i fear its difficult to make this overexposed look show up right in a cg render.

i think i will also pimp up the modeling :slight_smile:

edit: do you know, if i should do the glow in post, or in effects?


That’s interesting, I didn’t touch scanline for ages taking for granted it’s slower in all instances.
Make glow in post, but you will need to track the lights, I don’t think it will be a problem. Funny to hear this question from you, considering you are a definitealy advanced user. The same with overexposure: you could do it in post, though will need to render bounce lights separately.


Nice job! Impressive what you can get in very quick renders.

I think the lights aimed down at the wall could use a little bit of fog below them, creating a faint glow beneath the light.

The light hitting the wall cuts-off in a very sharp edge, I’d like to see a bounce light around that area to help simulate light bouncing off other parts of the reflector, just bleeding a little bit above and outside of the area being lit.

If the wall segments had different textures, or the texture didn’t line-up the same on each segment, it could add to the realism.

I like to do blooms and glows in post. You can get render a very quick pass of just the bright lights themselves, then screen blurred copies of that pass over the beauty pass to add the glow.

Some of the light colors could be richer, especially around those red lamps. You could take more advantage of specularity and reflections – imagine if the red lights cast red specular highlights into otherwise-dark parts of the fence, or how neat it would be if the sidewalk were darker but had some wet spots and puddles on it…



hello and thank you all for your tips!
here is what i made of it so far… i tried to use the fog some subtle, since it looked cheap, when i increased the value.
yes the glow is still missing…simply because i do not yet know, how to do it in video post inside max. :wink: but i’m working on it
@ jeremy: thank you for your great feedback. i will try some wet ground and puddles, like in the movies :wink: but i have to take some time on a puddle decal texture…perhaps some other kind of decals, like dirt or tiretracks or so
but i see the problem of lacking speculars…

 btw.: the rendertime increased to 25 sec with the fogs

is the picture too bright now?

how about the backdrop. ist the cranestructure too bold?
should i shift the ambients more to blue? oh…err…in fact i just get aware, that i completely forgot environment ambience …g…so there is not even a bit of blue inside the scene…
i think that is, why it is still looking so artificial.

oh and i want to exchange the still ugly mooring bollard by a more stylish one :wink:

 (edit: removed picture, see further progress [here](


hello again,
here is a version with some more blue ambient light.
but still the scene suffers by boringness.
does someone know, how i can give the scene a major kick towards mood?

(edit: removed picture, see further progress here)


Looks good imo.
What kind of mood? You can try different colors, contrast, camera position, weather effects, wierd shadows, endless possibilities.
More wetness, stronger moolight, distand projectors, burning barrels, alarm lights, some lights more dim and flickering or swaying.


hi mister 3d, yes you are right. there are so many possibilities. i tried some things now, but i think mainly i wanted contrast.
for not spamming the lighting forum, i took this picture over to the WIP thread.
thank you for your replies so far!


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