Tips for a water light setup


Hey guys, i’m in the process of trying my hand at a underwater city, i haven’t touched cinema in a good while and this is a little project to get me back into the swing of things. Does anyone have any tips for a good underwater light setup?

I’m doing this project in pieces:

My original light setup that i’m not satisfied with, working with still.

The landscape is a basic picture of my original design from paper to computer, something i’m still working on and i’ll update you in the as progress goes. On the left is the power generator. I’m also still molding the landscape, as i’m block modeling it to allow me some more flexibility.

The tubes picture are of transport tubes, shooting people through. :smiley:

C&C guys would be awesome. Would be great if I got this WIP to have a following, it’d help me out a ton.


Here’s a picture of the generator at work. Its dark, i know :rolleyes:


aww…c’mon guys, little love?


i have done some underwater tests myself. in this thread you may dl a scene i’ve some time ago.

personaly i think all renders are a little too dark.


volumetric light…gell on the light…eg noise texture in transparency…probably sema noise…always helps convincing…then dropped on light tag.

also noise/particles in water…floaters…heh heh.

other than that keep going…and beware your render times will rise big time with volumetric lights.

little hard at moment to imagine it all together as its lots of components etc.


one last thing…on the landscape parts they are very smooth…eg maybe silt build up or whatever…but then the buildings or square block parts stand out as very angular and pristine in that case when contrasted against the smooth landscape…i would say go with more one of the other rather than large difference in surfacing…that said…if you intend to carry it in the texturing then i guess it would be possible…so long as its clear what is organic and what technological.


well the buildings i have placed is just where i plan to put in my modeled buildings. A blueprint, if you will. THe buildings will be smooth and sleek - futuristic in a way. And yes, volumetric lights as i’ve noticed, are beginning to kill render time.


You mean…i can have light project a texture? as in, create a texture and place it upon the light?


Light is an object and can take a material.
Quick example: spotlight on Meg’s head.
Material applied to light is checkerboard in alpha channel


yeah basically as illustrated.
just make a material…coloured noise in transparency or something…or i’ve used it before for leaf patterns which worked well…then drop that on the light object…maybe play around with the outer distance and add a little dirt…and voila funky look.
sema is pretty good at giving that caustic look…or you could try messing with this freebie to come up with something.

the problem is that your scene would be deep and fairly large scale so might not suit it…but worth noting in other cases.


Hey guys! 2 light setup pictures. The buildings are still all in the modeling process…i got a small little speeder coming up soon, as well as the particles for the scene. As well as plants, etc…

Its supposed to be deep water, ocean floor deep, therefore we’re low on light. :smiley: What do you think on the setup?

I can already feel the render times creeping up on me…:eek:

BTW:: i appreciate all the criticisms you guys give, don’t be shy.


Yeah light gels are great. If you could aford the rendertimes (ie. a lowres still image) you could use caustics hypa has some great demo vids. If not animated lightgell there are a few tuts on lightgels one on the maxon site i believe. Your visible light needs more contrast from the rest or the water. right now is looks like fog. If only the guys from pixar used c4d and not renderman then they could tell us how they did the water in nemo :love:


you may also use an environment object to add some depth. i don’t use light gel, but a visible volumetric light (paralele spot round) and noise set to both. then, depending of your distances playing with the values.


thats a good tip iladi i used visible lights on an abstract piece awhile ago and worked a treat without the killer render times of previous volumetric attempts…but just wasn’t sure whether it would in this case…but your render proves my doubt was really unfounded. it also allowed me to use more lights…but it was kinda relevant to the scene i was doing at the time.

i wonder whether any of you guys have been messing with environment and maybe 3d noise on that also?


i do have an environment object in the scene:

color: white
strenght: 0%

fog: enabled
(a very dark blue color)
strenght: 15%
distance: 1700 meters

that’s why the upper capsule looks like fading.


in this test i used the pelhalm exponential fog aplied to a sphere to simulate some distance fade.


i usually get rid of the fog…and just add the pdshader…but the options are many and various…the expotential one is pretty effective gotta admit.
well you beat me to it really…bud those shaders are great…i often use them to just help in creating a little depth…like that one…btw.
i was also thinking sort of larger floating chunks of debris…maybe clip the noise slightly…so its a sparser distribution keep it smaller and scattered…but might help a little dunno.


Yeah the color fall of is dificult to mimic and very important. Also the ocean apears blue but the light that hits the botom has lightle to no tint.


Hey guys, i’ve already been using fog. I added some “speeders” to give depth so far. Buildings should be on their way. The fog i’ve impleneted, well, i decided to keep it off of the buildings alot.

What do you think? The ships are quite basic, but i appreciate all this help.


apart from the organic to sharp things i mentioned earlier…i think you need to think about scale a bit more…eg how big is a ship…how big is a building…how many ships to a building…what are those posts…how do they relate to the rest of the scenes scale…other than that keep it up.