FEEDBACK: Post here your take on the old challenges!


Once again,

Appreciate all of the feedback provided to date. The purpose of posting so much detail is not only to help me improve my skills at lighting but to hopefully benefit others who are looking to build their skills at lighting - it’s truly an art form!

Added a bit more ‘MI Relfection Blur’ to chrome shader, reworked the table/chair wood shader, increase bump on trim shader, reduce reflection on bottle shader. Changed Fill light decay rate to ‘Quadratic’.

Review ‘Linear Workflow’ link provided by Jeremy (much appreciated!) since I am using Mental Ray (MR). Applied setting I had missed. The final composite is done via Adobe Photoshop CS6 which does not natively support OpenEXR so I have been using Maya .IFF with a 16-bit Short (4x16) Float Framebuffer as Maya throws-up compatibility errors in 32-bit.


As of this note, I haven’t yet researched the cost of purchasing the OpenEXR plug-in.

Starting with the third lighting challenge, I’ll be looking to configure my Linear Workflow, switch to MR shaders and lighting, and apply the Gamma utility nodes as per the Maya documentation.





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/kysg

Occlusion: shouldn’t create gray lices 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
Reflection: bottle too reflective

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

Reference View

Here is a link to the Camera View that I used while testing the lighting for the final scene; changes noted above not applied.

Overall Room View:

Light Placement

No change from previous scene; 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

Fourth 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):



I like a lot the colors of the image. The mood is very dreamy. I will adjust the shaders of the circus tent and also I will add a bit of noiuse also to all the shaders in general (the shaders of horses look very good and “noisy”) I

Keep Going

@deijardon the smoke no smoke is a wonderful start. Add a bit more dirt to the shaders to make them look a bit more realistic.
About the final fruit I I love it. The camera angle make the fruit look a bit small, but the shaders look very very good. I will just change a bit the texture of the apple. Did you unwrap it ?

@hagne. Jeremy is the master so I just will only add a small suggestion about the shaders. The wood texture seems too big for the table and also for the chair. Also the bin is quite too reflective :wink: Keep going and posting



Appreciate the feedback Giorgio!

I’ll experiment some more on the wood texture; I had decreased the age and increased the spacing as I found it was looking too busy. I used the Fit To BB on the Place3D nodes to encapsulate the chairs and table.

Are you saying that I should increase the blur of the visible reflection in the bin?




Thanks for your critique! I really do appreciate it. I never thought to look at the reflections to make sure they aligned with the key light. Great eye on that. I see now as well that the BG is really sad looking. I can definitely spend a little more time on that and balancing out the whole image. I’m trying to push through all the old challenges but will revisit this one with your notes soon. Thanks again!


Here’s my current wip on the eye. Comments and critiques very welcome!


Hi guys:

Being a CG hobbyist who is interested in lighting and compositing field, I noticed the easy-to-digest mini lighting challenges few years ago. But not until recently do I encourage myself to do some serious study and practice. So below is my first attempt, old school fruit bowl:

Direct lighting w/ simple shaders approach:

Indirect lighting (GI on) w/ SSS shaders approach:

HDR, SSS, and GI on:

Welcome comments and critics!


Well here it goes.

It is very easy to slap and hdr on something and think you get the desired result. Just because you hit the HDR/FG button does not mean it will look correct. I’m learning this the hard way.

HDR setup: Fabric seems to be too glossy. Apple too reflective and missing specular highlight. Although true reflection seems like the correct move the spec highlight should be there.

The specularity on the grapes needs to be broken up. The grapes also lack translucency. Fuzz might also be helpful. Can fake via procedurals.

Your plums go very flat and the fresnel seems too high.

Also the bowl that fruit sits on needs to be smoothed.

Also in all your shots the fruit layer seems very flat and cut out against the BG. I don’t know if you are comping this but you might want to add a rim light to help break that up. Or if you are comping this use lightwrap and/or edgeblur

Finally I don’t see the SSS effect as you describe SSS should create translucency you put a light in front and a light behind your subject. Or maybe I’m wrong.

Your direct lighting interests me the most: Do be aware that you want to have specularity on for just your key light. Your banana seems to blow out so you need to reduce the specularity in the shader. Or reduce light intensity. Your also missing a ground shadow here for some reason. Also break up the color a little bit, don’t apply just a base coat, break that color up. And the leaf on the apple needs a bump map and translucency.

I would just concentrate on a studio light setup and skip HDR and SSS, or just use SSS and skip hdr. Just focus on a good Key light with a good color, the fill, and rim lights, once those are in place use kickers and bounce lights to simulate indirect illumination.


Wow thanks Kysg for the detailed analysis. Really point out things I miss on my self-teaching journey. Honestly I thought I am kind of stuck in the middle not knowing go to more painting-look side or photorealistic side. But seems there’re more fundamental requirements to be accompanished in terms of CG lighting. So next I’ll go back to fine tune the shader and give some try from your comments.

Cheers! :slight_smile:


I’m in the same situation; in that time, location, and financial constraints add to the challenge of learning.

If it’s of help …

I made time to review (read) all of the posts in past threads on a given challenge while working through the lighting. It takes a few days to do but the knowledge you gain is indispensable.

Additionally, it’s worth it to pick up a few good learning resources (books) on lighting if you haven’t already. A few that I have found very helpful are:

  • Digital Lighting & Rendering, Jeremy Birn
  • Light for Visual Artist, Richard Yot
  • Color & Light, James Gurney
  • Advanced Maya Texturing & Lighting, Lee Lanier
  • 3D Lighting Concepts & Techniques, Arnold Gallardo



Redid an old challenge - LC #21 - by using light emitters (invisible objects emitting light) instead of area lights. Rendertime down from 1 h 30 min to 13 min
One volumetric spot for the window.

Benefit: Less rendertime and cleaner result (area lights in Modo gives grains that need many samples to clean up), however less control on light distribution (watt and color only twekable parameters for eash object)


Rune J. W. -

Nice bedroom scene. I don’t really feel as if most of the light is coming from the window, though. It looks as if the room should be lit by the window, but is being lit mostly from above the bed?



hi guys,

I also gave the fruitbow a try. just basic materials right now. basic settings for sss right now which later will be combined with textures f.e. on the bananas and grapes.

scene is lit with 3 areas. hope u liek it this far. cc is welcome



Thanks for the comment Jeremy, and right you are. In my eagerness to make it well lit there’s a point light in the ceiling at the position of the ceiling lamp (quite strong), plus a little too many watts from some lumigons. Will work on it further.


Important oversight with lumigons on my part. Of course I configured them to only be visible to indirect rays… however that means they also block indirect rays from other lights, so today I took care to make them visible to refractive rays and 100% transparent.

That gave a significant difference and was able to reduce number of lumigons further. However that refractive depth now had to be increased gave a higher render time.

The first here 19min 30 sec

The above was still a bit bright in the ceiling, so changed the top material of the lumigons to give less bounce light to the ceiling. This render with less antialias (64 AA samples) took 16 min 49 sec
…and more importantly it looks like it is more lit only by the sunlight from the windows

Probably a bit too “hot” around the window frame though…


I’m still a rookie in lighting…so this is wat i have come up wit…Plz do giv feedback and suggestions



:bowdown: :bowdown:


I’m still a rookie in lighting…so this is wat i have come up wit…Plz do giv feedback and suggestions

#1098 Hi…I’m still a rookie in lighting…Plz do giv suggestions n feedbacks!


@ Mylifemywish pls include the images in the post. and keep going :wink:
@ Amit, waiting to see the model with new shaders :wink:


@jojo1975 i hv giving the direct link of the image in the previous post…tis image is a bit of low resolution…plz check the final render in the link on the previous post for better details…!!