FEEDBACK: Post here your take on the old challenges!


@jeremybirn - thanks!!that really helped clear up the confusion…wonder why i was confused at all…so here is the refined version and i do like it better now :slight_smile:

here are the passes jeremy…hope this satisfies ur request too hgagne…









i used luminence for faking depth of field and i also had an ambient light with very low intensity placed opposite to the small window for a global fill light…



Very nice!

Quick question; what is the different between OCCLUSION1 and OCCLUSION2? Did you apply both? Is one the Diffuse and the other Reflection (checkbox enabled on AO)?



the different between OCCLUSION1 and OCCLUSION2, as you can see is that occlusion 1 gives tighter wall corner shadow.I find that using both gives a better result. So yes I used both. And no, both are the same… I just kept the Spread=1 and changed the max distance for both…for occ1 =3 for occ2=40.


luminosa -

Thanks for posting your passes.

The key looks good, it just needs to be softer if you’re trying to match the very cloudy, foggy day I see outside the windows.

Fill light needs to cast soft shadows – it’s too big and bright and directional a light to get away with just using occlusion to darken parts of it.

The fill light should light more of the area around the window – why isn’t it hitting the sink at all? Imagine if you put your head right where that sink is, and looked around: the sky up through that window would be the brightest thing you saw, wouldn’t it? Why wouldn’t the sink and counter be getting lots of light coming through that window?

You need some soft fill light coming through the side door, too, lighting the floor right under the door – that floor near the side door is a problem area because the floor looks reflective where it reflects the trash can, but it doesn’t seem to be reflecting the exterior sky or glass door at all, which should be brighter than the transhcan. If one of your layers is the background image, then make sure that layer includes reflections onto the floor (through side doors) and sink and sink faucet (through the back window.)

Your occlusion 2 looks like a good occlusion pass. You can multiply that with whatever pass you have your interior fill/bounce in. I just think the fill light from the outside needs its own shadows instead of occlusion.



I see luminosa posted a specular pass for the FILL as well as the KEY and I’m working on the assumption that only the KEY light should have specular. Is there a loose set of rules/guidelines as to when to apply specular to the FILL pass?

Most of the books, tutorials, and online searches don’t seem to go into detail when it comes to the topic of specular usage other than key. Is there any information that you can send me to for further reading?

Advance thanks,


You don’t usually have any reason to split out a specular pass for a light, it’s not as if people are rendering separate specular passes for each light in most movies or anything. I guess one time you might need specular highlights as a separate pass would be if you were going to post-process the scene and put a glow around bright highlights, then a separate specular pass might be handy. Or, if you weren’t really sure how much you’d want to remove specularity from a light during a composite, you could render a separate specular pass just to play with it – I figure in this case it was a specular pass just to allow for tweaking in the compositing program, so doing it for all the brighter lights could make sense.



[left]here i tried lighting Fruit Bowl,plz feedback how i had done



Sorry ill upload on new post


Hi Jeremy,

I have tried to organize this post as best I could as I recognize that your efforts to review, critique, and respond to questions are likely done on your spare time.




Here are my thoughts while creating the scene.

_____NICK staggers into THE KITCHEN, squinting to shield his
_____eyes from the morning sun.


_____PUKE IT UP.

[ul]Wanted the light coming through the window to instill a feeling of squinting[/ul]
[ul]Added lighting (‘rainbowish’) effects to slightly distort some of the colors in the region of the bottle/window[/ul]
[ul]Applied Depth Of Field to simulate visual blur; did away with the offsetting a 2nd image instance[/ul]
[ul]Added a vignette, slightly tinted green, to simulate tunnel vision[/ul]
[ul]Slight camera angle to instill feeling of uneasyness[/ul]

Review of Critiques/Comments from Jeremy/luminosa

Occlusion: shouldn’t create gray lines tracing corners/edges; should contribute to the definition of scene
Occlusion: alcove above kitchen counter & below top cabinet should be shaded darker in occlusion pass

Reflection: needs more reflection on floor
Reflection: more shaping towards cabinet edge
Reflection: close attention to what is visibile in reflections (window color, dooors, shaping, etc.)
Reflection: harsh line between flat shadow-tone & flat sunlit area; no shaping/shading

Texture: Trash receptacle too reflective; needs more bluriness
Texture: More variation on the wood texture required

Lighting: too much interior fill/bounce light, insufficient fill light from exterior
Lighting: shaded windowsill area darker than shadow on floor in front of cabinet

Composition: too flat and uniform


I’m still having some challenges on the transition of the shadow on the floor and what is visible in the trashcan. I still find the transition line is too sharp (hard) but I’m unsure how to address the issue on the floor and in the trashcan reflection.

I’m also having an issue where the floor doesn’t seem to provide sufficient reflection. Looking at my full room view however, leads me to think that I have sufficient reflectivity on the floor.

Here is a link to the Camera View that I used while testing the lighting for the final scene.

Overall Room View:

Light Placement

Light type and purpose.

#01 key sun directional, raytrace shadow), #02/#03 bounce ceiling (area, raytrace shadow), #04 OpticalFX Glow/Halo (point), #05 fill sky (area, raytrace shadow), #06 fill living room (area, raytrace shadow), #07 fill hallway (point), #08 bounce window frame (point), #09 bounce wall sun (point, raytrace shadow), #10 bounce table/counter sun (point, raytrace shadow), #11/#12 sink (point), #13 bounce kitchen wall (area), #14 bounce hallway wall (area), #15 bounce living room wall (area), #16 bounce floor (area), #17 illuminate under fan, table, seats, top cabinet (area)

Light Placement:

Final Composite

Third attempt at lighting script #02 of second Lighting Challenge.

Breakdown of Rendering Passes

I rendered each pass as a separate image in the hopes that it may help me better understand which pass I need to improve. Ordered from last (top) to first (bottom):

_____Vignette+Sun+OpticalFX (Screen):, OpticalFX Only:
_____Sun (Screen):
_____Ambient Occlusion (Multiply):
_____Fill Sky (Screen):
_____Bounce (Normal):
_____Z-Depth (for Photoshop Lens Blur):


Looks kinda kool, I’m not feeling that chrome bin though.

I guess looking at this.

Chrome bin I’d blur a bit more, miaenvblur, or change the material, or blend it with another material.

I’m not really feeling the wood textures either. so maybe a bump or something, just seems kinda flat. Oh and the wine bottle, I think too reflective…

As far as lighting setup I have to review it again, I was sure it something with the fill light but I gotta look again.


hgagne -

For the fill from the sky, try using an inverse square (quadratic) decay. If you’re using a linear workflow then a true inverse square shouldn’t appear too harsh. This will make the area right near the window brighter, and it won’t light the back of the room so brightly in reflections.



Sincerely appreciate all comments/feedback to date; it is helping to fill in knowledge gaps and answering some of the many questions I had regarding some of the results I’m obtaining using Maya.

Starting with the next lighting challenge, I will be looking to use MR based lighting/textures.

Hi Kysg,

Appreciate the feedback.

Other than the wine bottle labels and window image, the remainder of the materials are all procedurals using Maya (not MR) shaders. That said, I’ll make some time in the next few days to experiment some more with the current materials and try to incorporate some of your comments.

Much appreciated Jeremy.

I’ll change the Fill light from No Decay to Quadratic to see what that yields.

I’ve been struggling with the Linear Workflow as all of the output renders are coming out too dark. I’m experiencing a fair amount of clipping on the white/black ends and I suspect it has to do with my building the scene using Maya lights and Maya materials. I currently work around it by exporting the renders using the Color Managed Image (CMI) option … which I realize is not the proper approach.



Please give comments:bounce:


Set things up with these instructions:,topicNumber=d30e685712

This fully works with Maya lights and materials, those are totally OK. I’m assuming you’re rendering in Mental Ray? If you’re getting clipping on the white end, you should switch your output format to Open EXR and under Framebuffer settings set it to Half floats (Half is 16 bits per channel, but it’s still floating point) – then you need to convert that to 8-bit sRGB after you render, but I assume whatever you’re using to composite can do that.

Once you set an area light in the window to Quadratic, you’ll need to increase the intensity a lot, sometimes into many thousands, just keep adding zeros to the intensity (if 10000 not enough try 100000, etc.) until you get it to show up, but with a correct linear workflow it will look natural, like a real panel of light, and it’ll decay correctly. If you didn’t have a linear workflow, then you’d be viewing the light at the wrong gamma, and Quadratic would always look much too harsh and the light would get blown-out too bright near the window before you could get it to fill-in the rest of the room at all.

Don’t worry if there’s still some pure black in your scene, if you’re rendering with just the sky fill and no other fill lights (and no final gather or GI or anything), isolating one light like that should give you some black areas. You can use other lights for interior fill or bounce.



wuyuzhu -

That’s a wonderful fantasy scene!

I like how the light bulbs look on the ceiling of the carousel – the ones on the ceiling above the horses look bright, and have a glow around them as if they were really lighting the area up. The light bulbs on the outside edge of the carousel don’t look as bright, and they don’t seem to really be lighting anything, maybe you could make them brighter, and create some lighting around them onto the side of the carousel, or at least add glows around them? The same could be done with the lights on the Ferris wheel – try to get the lights to look more like the ones in this picture, bright with glows around them:

The water is nice. The horizon (where the water meets the sky) could use some more haze over it, or else the sky could get brighter near the horizon, to blend the water and sky together more naturally. Maybe the water needs to extend further out, so there’s water going off into the distance beyond the circus tent?

Great work, anyway! It’s very imaginative.



Just started the lighting challeges so I’m going back and trying to tackle some of these awesome scenes. Did the still life today.


Thank you for your appreciation, my English is not very good, may mean not very clear.

I really can’t believe you can see my work, and give advices, I will think about these proposals. I have read your book, it really is a good book, and I learned a lot of knowledge from this book. I am a college graduate, is looking for a 3D animation work, can you tell me what technology companies like Pixar is used for lighting and material design? What do I need to learn to become a good 3D artist?


Going back through all the old challenges. Learned A LOT on this one. Mainly that I hate sss in vRay because the results were always random. Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the final in any case :slight_smile: Cheers!


Hi deijardon,

The window reflection in the cherries helped “sell” the sun/shade over the remainder of the plate. The grapes look great and IMHO, the SSS works really well. There’s a nice feeling of depth without looking to “bump map’ish” and the textures on the fruit and plate also look amazing; I’d say the pear followed by the cherries are probably the least convincing for me but as an artistic choice they most certainly work.

I also like the slight depth of field; adds just the right amount to make the overall scene feel real for me. It would be interesting to see how the scene would look with a bit more “play” of light on the backdrop. There’s some hints of a nice looking backdrop but it’s a bit too dark to make out - which is a shame, as it looks like you put effort creating it.

Looking at the shadows, it seems like the shadows are in the same direction as where the sunlight is coming from (ex: cherries, smaller orange) - I would have expected them to be on the opposite side of the fruits. I’m assuming the shadow of the banana on the plate is being cast by the same light as the sunlight; however, the brightest spots on the fruit make it feel like that isn’t the case.

Not sure if you were interested in feedback, but that’s my 2C’s worth.

Nicely done!