Lighting Challenge #6: Candle Light


@behrooz, I can only Say WOW about those flames reflections, the background is not as good as the rest of the image, But from the quality of your render I can tell you that’s propably because you didn’t have much time.
Hope to see your work on challange 7.

@fulg0re, first I must say that I like your attitude, you’ve been working on this for quite a while now, but still there is a problem with the reflections.
-Try mapping a hemisphere with a “dim room” panoramic image and place it behind the camera. the reflections on your vase give away the fact that there’s no enviroment around the scene (it reflects pure black in parts where there is nothing to reflect)


Hi, greetings to you all. I’m a new member and I just want to say that this forum is a great way to learn lighting. This is my first rendering on the candle challenge using XSI. I composed the passes using digital fusion and make the final image to look like an old and mystical place. Please feel free to comment it and any advice is welcome.


MinaRagaie - Thanks for the breakdown, that’s great! Your image looks terrific, too, although if all your DOF was done in post it would be nice if the framed photograph were in focus, seeing the picture (is that you?) a little soft looks like the camera wasn’t focused on the main area of interest.

fulg0re - Nice update!

isdanny - Great scene! I like the subtle lighting around the vase, and the candles and smoke look even better in the animation file.

vtcgman - Nice scene! I think you are having shadow trace depth problems, with shadows not appearing in reflections, and that might be why the reflections of the candle holders you see in the table are brighter than the holders themselves. I might like to see it with a less blank picture in the frame, too, but overall good job!

behrooz - Wonderful! I love the rich, ornamental textures. Really the whole foreground is looking great. The background, the asian screen seems to just be cheap formica or some other fake wood, and plain paper in between without any real print or pattern on it. If you don’t have maps for the wood and canvas of the screen, then at least consider darkening it way down and maybe vignetting it so it’s darker at the edges than the center.



here is my work…i took about 6 hours to do this…i think its not really good…but anyway hope can hear comment from u guys…

tq :wink:


This is my wip rendering. Im still working on the overall lighting and feel for the image. Please feel free to give me comments on improving it. Thank you alot.


titanwong31 - That’s actually a good start. Try to get more illumination from the candles onto other surfaces like the table. There should be a pool of light with the table getting warmer and brighter near the candles.

chikoritaKun - That’s a nice image. The girl is cute, is she a pop star or actress? The table looks very brightly and evenly lit, as if it were lit by a unifom light source a distance away instead of all the little candles. It would be better if there were pools of light around the candles and it got darker with distance. The texture on the vase looks very procedural, I hope you can find something more natural for that. The plate and incense are good by some shadows or maybe reflections would help connect them better.

neonbulbs - Welcome! Good work. I think the “old photograph” look would work better if there weren’t so much green in the candle flame color and the picture frame didn’t go that black. It would be great if you could soften the candle shadows and add a bit of a warm glow to the top of the candle wax to make it look translucent.



Hi again. Alright, this is an update of my rendering, I’ve fixed the candle translucencies, the glow colors, and also smoothed out the overall shadow. I decided to decrease the depth blur and the particles to make the image less blurry.

Anyway, feel free to comment on my latest rendering. Oh, yes, I just want a little bit of advice from you guys. I’ve used standard lighting method to light the scene, but when I tried to render it using Final Gather, the Fast SSS shader on the candles just went crazy. All the surface was covered by white diffuse only. Can anyone give me a tip how to tweak SSS when using Final Gather please?


hi…all of you!

I know ths is too late…but i will post for this challenge…:slight_smile:

so far all images are to good…!:thumbsup:

This is my first post to this Site…!

Thank you,
[left] [/left]


Thank you for the comment. Here is the image after those changes. I change the attribute of translucent and specular for the candles, the particles of smokes and also the decay of light to quadratic.


I was given this in calss to light and only after I finished did our teacher tell us it was a challenge on CG Talk. So, I dont really know if this is late or whatnot but here’s mine. All we had to do was light it. Our teacher put on the textures and gave us the scene to light.

I would really like some critiques, more along the lighting side of things. We haven’t really learned too much about texturing yet, so I’m a little illiterate when it comes to that.


Dear Jeremy Bin, I have always been learning from your tutorials and challenges, ofcourse the candle scene was a challenge and I did that…I am posting the final composite image which I have done and is keen to hear from you about it. Thanks for the online help you are providing…it’s great to have you here:)



this is what i got so far… ill probably change the picture and add raytracing next… a lot of work to do ill keep posting k.

-im havin some problems with SSS so is disable right now
-shadows are not giving my good results … i dont like the circular shadow around the candles… i like the long shadows casting from the pointlights in the candles … ill try to work on that

  • ill try to do somethin with the flames rigth now there are a ramp shader but im not really happy with it… im working on render layers right now one for the flames only and another for rest of teh objects including lights …

Thanks for the challenge



Well i added Raytrace Reflection adn Shadows …it takes all afternoon about 7 hours …before it was a minute render :sad: my settings are very high quality mno jjagies … but i want to improve a lot of thins including rendertime … i cant stand past 20 minutes renders :wise:

I know my flames suck stop buggin me :scream: no smoke yet … are the reflections all right?
i wanna go minimalistic in my next render if is goint to be raytrace so …i need specific values for raytracing reflections and shadows … hmm i dont like my shadows im not getting the long shadows taht i ilke . just the circular ones in some candles … in others dont show at all
I would like some feedback … oops i didn change the picture :slight_smile:


hi all,it is a very funny experience to do it.
I used MAX scanline randerer for this scenes.Each candle has 3 light ,one omni lighten the other object and cost the shadow :one omni lighten the upside of candle:the last one at the button of the candle ,to make it a little dark:)
hehe,the photo in the frame comes from my home town,i take this photo at 2003 winter.

Holp you give me some advise to improve this works .
Any comments is welcome:)


@croonstreet: Nice start. I think you can improve your image realism by toning down the lens and glow effect, because candles have more subtle glows on the edge of the flame. And again, great work, keep on doing it.

@xiaojun: It’s a great image, but I think you should put more contrast on the shadow, because I think the some of the object on the table, seems floating on the table. Maybe you can add some negative lights to add the shadows or using ambient occlussion to darken up the overall effect. Again nice work.


Here is my first attempt. I use maya software render to render whole scene. Mental Ray for A.O., and then composite in Photoshop. I’m trying to learn more about SSS to improve my candles.
Comments are very welcome. :slight_smile:


Hello there everyone…first of all i m really elated to be here…n it feels nice to be a tiny molecule of a droplet amongst this vast ocean of talent dat we have here on CGTALK.Im new to dis forum n this is my very first post…n i must say dat this is one great site we have here n its a great platform to learn n improve on our work n am really thankful to Mr.Jeremy Birn.i ve just finished a course in 3d working on my portfolio,n am an ASPIRING lighting artist,lookin out for openings in the animation industry. . n this is my very first lighting scene in progress.n this is the only scene i ve EVER done besides my academic project!so i really need help n hope to hear comments frm people frm the animation industry.I did this scene on maya n wud like help to get the reflections n shadows rite.n i wanna learn rendering n compositing widout dat i m kinda stuck rite nw…do send me comments on hw to reneder n composite it better so as to make it look more realistic!so all u lighting/rendering/compositing artists!!S.O.S!


Here is my asian prince altar. :slight_smile:

Rendered with RenderDrive in Maya (no sss unfortunately :cry: ).

Did a bit of cleaning up in photoshop.



hey some really nice entries people! I’m learning a lot of colour schemes by watching such varying styles (in itself the variance is interesting too).

I had to get back at it, didn’t like the results of previous arduous attempts and it didn’t feel right. I deleted my previous lights and camera’s And reworked it.

I’ve taken time to set it up for a wider range of exposures as well, Brazil has an option to exceed white (by alot in floats) which you can use for hdr and also different exposures. Puts materials through a rigorous test as well. (basically this is the same render, just in case, onyl exposure tweak. I’m going for realism on this one so thta’s why I spose))

first Brazil exposure preview control at 1

and exposure at 0.33

and exposure set at 3

(bit of a shame about the bright base of the candle, don’t know how that happens, must be an intersection of sorts)


Hi ! Maybe it’s too late but here is an evolution of my picture.
Of course your comments are welcome :wink:
I’ve learn so many things. Thanks to all !