3D in Depth: Lighting, Part 1. | WebReference

3D in Depth: Lighting, Part 1.

3D in Depth: Lighting, Part 1.

A Lighting Workflow

When designing a workflow in 3D, here are some steps to observe:

    1. Plan out how you want your scene to look and how the light sources will interact in your scene.

    2. Create the necessary light sources and set the characteristics for the light as necessary (such as hotspot, falloff, color, intensity, attenuation, etc.).

    3. Move light sources as necessary in the scene. If precision is important, use tools such as the Transform Type-In (3DS Max) for precise positioning. As you move lights in your scene, it's a good idea to perform test renderings as you do so, to make sure you're getting the effect you're after.

    4. Turn on Cast Shadows in your scene and adjust them for the desired effect.

    5. Once you've applied the above steps, you're ready to introduce optical light effects such as glows, halos or lens flares.

Note: Use of ambient light is most often used for exterior scenes, when the overall light of the sky creates an even distribution of light. This is not the case with indoor scenes, where multiple lights are in use. In this case, try setting the ambient light to black. If you choose to use ambient light, keep it at a low value such as RGB 6 and no more than 12. One common mistake is to use too much ambient light, which can wash out the scene.


Next month, we'll explore lighting in more depth and look at various lighting setups, such as 3-point lighting, key, fill and back lighting, etc.


Digital Lighting and Rendering, by New Riders.
The Art of Maya,The Art of Maya, by Alias Software.
Adobe Photoshop. Industry standard image manipulation software.
Discreet 3DS Max. 3D animation software.
Alias Maya. 3D animation software.
CG Talk. Digital Visual Effects Professionals.
3D Café. A source for 3D imagery, tutorials, textures and more.
Highend 3D. 3D Resource and Community web site.

Created: June 5, 2003
Revised: June 4, 2004

URL: http://webreference.com/3d/column13/1