Lighting Challenge #17: Natural History


Going away for the Holidays tomorrow which means I’m leaving my Maya nooooooooo, so I whipped this up today. Critiques welcome, I only focused on lighting and didn’t mess with textures as I only had a few hours so forgive me.

 Maya, Mental Ray, no FG just a combination of area and spot lights with raytraced shadows. After effects with Sapphire plugins, and photoshop. 
 Render Time: 12:48


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Hi jermy this is my first upload and expecting u r valuable comments…


Gr8 renders Infectedbo and Bispo3d, i really like them all.
So far i done:


hi friends, my first post in this challenge…

i done the different moods of lighting without texture…

Render is done using maya & mental ray with different light passes, final composition is done in photoshop.

all c&c are most welcome


This is my very first post towards lighting and rendering challenges,though i am following the challenges since fruit bowl.
I have tried to it give a mood of anxiety and anticipaction.Its software lighting and rendering,in Maya2008,render time approx. 2mins 38 secs.
Hope you guys appreciate.
C&C are most welcome


this is my first post,
Completely done in software lighting and rendering using Maya08.
Render time;2:38secs
C&C are welcome.



Hello everybody,
My latest post towards the challenge.
I tried to create a drama.I did it in software lights and renders,no plugins.
C&C are welcome.
Hope it will be appreciated.


:wip: C&C will be grateful to hear… no ideas how to improve it


Slazzo - Welcome! Good start! From your last post, I think the reflections on the glass in the lower right are a very prominant part of the shot, but they are confusing. Why are the window reflections upside-down? Why do the reflections on the upper glass get cut-off when seen through the lower glass? The t-rex could use some rim light from the windows behind him, glancing off his back. Those rear arches could use some fill light, they look like black holes that no light has bounced into.

Antfarms - Welcome! For a night scene, try to get a lot of contrast, with dark shadows, less overall ambient light, and more control over selectively lighting certain areas while leaving others dark. Maybe you could pick and choose which of the lights you’ve got now are really needed in the scene, and start just with those?

shadowcrew - Why don’t you focus on the 04hv5 one as a starting point. Make sure your objects cast shadows onto the floor, and add some reflections.

- Welcome! Try to be more selective about which areas you light, and make sure all your lights are casting shadows. Maybe you could simplify your set-up by using fewer lights, and testing them one at a time in isolation to make sure you know what they each do.

- Welcome! The upper left looks terrific! The t-rex is fairly well defined. The right wall looks much too bright to be lit by the lighting in that room, and the shadow of the t-rex hits too high on the right wall to be light from the skylight. The left wall has a funny airbrushed-chrome thing happening in the archways. If you didn’t add an environment map for that, then it might be caused by raytraced shadows with a ray depth limit of only 1, meaning that your shadows don’t appear in reflections. The trace depth problems also seem to appear where the lighting on the floor looks brighter where you see it looking through the glass, there are probably raytraced shadows there that don’t appear through any additional levels of raytracing.

wiz4rd - Welcome! That’s a good start. The t-rex reads well. The base of the columns and displays lit by the orange light don’t look connected to the floor, to fix that, either the floor needs the same orange light, or else the orange light should fade out before it reaches floor level. You could also use reflections and shadows on the floor to give the floor some presence and tie it together with what’s above it. The key light on the left dino could come more from the left side instead of the top, you could put some light on the stairs behind it if the right profile loses contrast because of that.

infectedbo - Those are great! Nice texturing. The cool colored background area contrasts nicely with the warmer foreground. In the area around the two doors, the contrast seems too abrupt, as if the blue light might spill more naturally through the doors into the foreground more. The shadows of the dinos look very sharp, and there only seems to be one shadow as if it were lit by only one light. I’d like softer shadows for the overall fill, and if there are shadows from spotlights there could be several of them. For the light from the spotlights onto the walls, try adding a soft glow outside of the beam, so that in addition to the focused beam there’s also some softer illumination cast from the light that isn’t as perfectly focused.



Thanks Jeremybirn, reflections are from the door behind the camera, and yep they are cut off a little bit :)…

one more… ))


thanks jeremybirn, i’ll try to improve .


KurtS -

thanks for coment, i will epen crop area !!! next week i will post a new Render . i think i need improve the bones of Dinos because luck like chocolate.


Hello chalangers! Thanks Jeremy.

I didn’t know that this had been going on, What a pleasant surprise. Seems like a long time ago that Jeremy wrote to me about wanting to set up this project, nice scene you put together.

Alvaro, Great job on the architecture! I visited the NHM last year.

I really am enjoying seeing all the good work from everyone, it will be fun to watch the progress.

Happy Holidays everyone.


Hi Joel! We love the dinosaurs you modeled!




Slazzo - The walls seem very evenly lit, big areas the same tone, see if you can get more variety and shading there. The glass is getting better, maybe add highlights and make it lighter? The lower architecture could use a little bounce light.

- Good start! If the sunlight is aimed towards the left, then the fill light should probably be brighter around the sun direction, darker on the other side. In some places the walls/columns don’t seem to have well-defined contact with the ground, shadows, occlusion, and reflections can all help with that.

TubbyBear - Good start. Major surfaces (floor, side wall) look very flatly, uniformly lit. Try adding shadows, reflections, and controlling the light so some parts are illuminated more than others.

reinhart82 - Your night scene looks good. I think the t-rex head blends into the murky background too much, I’d like to see some light on that. The day is off to a good start. The rings of flare around the two spotlights at the base of the t-rex look unnatural, they have banding issues and are bigger and brighter than you’ve expect for the glow around a lightbulb in daytime. Since you have a sunbeam hitting the floor, try adding the softer fill light from the sky that surrounds it, more blue and hitting a broader area than the sunbeam. The lighting on the t-rex, especially the head, looks really good in the day scene.

- That’s great! The texturing is nice. Right in the upper center, near that lamp, there seems to be some texture stretching, though. That’s a place you look right away, to the left of the lamp, so if you could put some other texture on the side there it would help. The dinosaur lighting is good, I’d like to see more light on the top of the t-rex head, since there’s a light right above him. You might put a little glow around the footlights surrounding the dinos. The glass could use more presence.

Bispo3d - That’s great! I think both dinos, but especially the one on the right, could use some more top-down light. The one on the right could also use some light coming from the direction of the bright doors onto the front of his nose. The glass along the bottom edge of the shot seems to cut-off the reflection of the doors, maybe this is a trace-depth issue? The rear of the t-rex is getting a bit lost compared to all the background stuff happening behind him. Maybe there could be more rim on the t-rex?

- Only a gig of RAM? I doubt many people working on the original movie Jurrasic Park had a gig of RAM in their workstations. You can do a lot with a gig of RAM. (Not that getting a little more would hurt…)

visua - That’s looking magnificent. I think you’ve got a very wide-angle view there, and you could look into options adding a little barrel distortion in post. The corner between the left wall and the rear wall has a very abrupt lighting change, as if the edge of the sunbeam and the edge of the wall just happened to line-up perfectly. Maybe moving the sunbeam to the left or right could make that area look more natural? The white windows on the left side look a little too bright to me, as if they are even brighter than the sky seen through the skylight above, but not adding as much blue fill light to the area around them. On the stainded glass windows on the back wall, maybe you could get rid of the white boxes near the base, and just have the colored glass all the way?

- Your scene is very brightly, evenly lit. Why not start with just 1 light source, such as a window or lamp, and set up a light with shadows that really represents illumination from that one source. You can build from there with other lights if you want, but think about their motivation (what you are trying to depict) as you add each one, and test each light separately with a test-rendering that has the other lights hidden.

- Good start! The scene seems very brightly and evenly lit. Make sure there are shadows on the floor, and light is only aimed at the parts of the set that it would really reach.

kerosene - Thanks for the Max file!

casagan - Nice shaping on the dino.

octane52 - I don’t know why the lighting on the back wall doesn’t match the side walls, maybe you could dim down the back to make them look more connected in the beauty pass? I think you’ve put a lot of effort into the glows from the back windows, so now you could do a little more with the skylight, like a brighter sky near the sun or some glow from those upper windows?

- Welcome! Keep going with that!

kaceface - That looks great! The lamp in the lower frame looks transparent or something, maybe it’s just the reflections making it look that way. A little bit of that blue light could kick off the tail, filling in some of the black parts.

- Looking good! Your image looks like the point-of-view from a car with two headlights lighting the scene…

- Great job! You need to get the glass working still, but the materials overall look good. I think the under-side of the stairs in the center of frame are too bright, especially with the contrast with the black support bars, you could bright those two to a more similar tone so the area doesn’t attract attention. The lower teeth could also go darker and be more back-lit looking.

d2fan - Nice scene. Thanks for sharing your settings. Maybe you could get a little more light and shaping onto the dinosaurs, and darken the foreground railings, in the lower one?

Sjeet - Welcome! Those are good starts! I wonder if you could give more of a sense of depth to the scene making the foreground darker, and then the far wall lighter with less contrast?

MartinRomero - Looks good! The lighting seems very uniform now, I wish some directions got more light and others less…

Cybergooch - Those are great! I think the top one is best. Maybe it could use a little more fill/bounce on the right dino to fill-in the blacks, and the t-rex could use some light.

Kazbekio - Welcome! That’s a good start! I looks very uniformly lit. Try to make some areas brighter and some darker.

punytjoshi - Nice job! Looks like that matte painting challenge…

fuzzylizard - Good job! The set looks very evenly lit, see if more sky fill can come from the bright side around the sun. The dinosaurs could use some more light and shaping.

Nehak - That’s great! Nice shading. The long wall looks very ambient-lit to me, maybe that could be toned-down if the light’s supposed to come from behind it. The dinosaurs could both use some top-down light.



Just a try with Ivy and volumetric :

Next step : caustics…


Thanks again for critique. i’ll take it in mind for the next wip


thx Jeremy,
Just waiting for ur critique…i m working on the texture… will update the render in a short while…
will concentrate on ur comments…
Thx again…


Thx for the feedback, Jeremy.
I think the lighting in the background in general needs improving, since the stairs really almost disappeared. Wanted to fix this anyway. This might reduce the impression of things hanging in the air.
As for the lighting issue on the Triceratops, this will be definitely changed.
[edit] Actually, I had set up the key light to come from the left, but forgot to tune down the intensity of the light coming from above… :banghead: [/edit]