General lighting tips

16 Feb

Choosing an Appropriate Lighting

It is important to make conscious decisions about emotions and design ahead of time , so that lighting is chosen and edited to enhance the overall goals for the scene. Here’s a partial checklist:

  1. What is the mood of the scene and what overall brightness (intensity slider) is appropriate? Which type of light will best fit the scene’s sense of time and place?
  2. How do multiple lights in a multiple light arrangement relate to each other in intensity and contrast? How will this ratio affect modelling and shadows?
  3. Should light come from one source for a hard edged, dramatic look or have multiple points of origin for a softer, more diffused feel?
  4. How rapidly will the intensity of the light fall off?
  5. Will light travel in one direction and stop or bounce from surface to surface?
  6. What colour is the light? Should the colour convey a specific mood? Can the warmth or coolness of lights be used to articulate space or establish time of the day?
  7. What kind of shadows are appropriate for the mood of the scene?
  8. Will the light be animated to move, flicker, surge, or changein intensity or colour over time? Will the light have shadow patterns moving through it?
  9. Is the light visible? Does it honor the mass of objects in its path? Is it clean or is it filled with dust?

General Tips for Lighting

  1. Name lights by the function they are performing in the scene. Names like 70 percent Main, 40 percent Fill, Backlight etc. say so much more than light1 and light2.
  2. Set up lighting in regard to the active camera.
  3. Shift-click to select multiple lights for simultaneous editing.
  4. Use Gouraud shading for feedback on how the lights are affecting the scene.
  5. Use the gray visibility switches to turn the lights on one at the time to see the effect each light is having on the model.
  6. Model for lighting. Sharp corners have no surface to catch light. Create fillets, roundings and bevels on your models to show off the highlights.
  7. If the scene calls for multiple lights, check the No Illumination check box for most of them so the dominant light still comes from one direction. Not only will too many radiating lights quickly overexpose the scene, but light from too many directions can be visually chaotic. Set up a strong basic structure of light and shadow, and then add puffs of visible colour that add interest but contribute no illumination to the scene. Think of it as painting with light.
  8. Turn off textures temporarily to see lighting effects more accurately.
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