DigitalEro Offline

Lighting and a bit of camera - tutorial - Moneyshot

Tue, 05 Nov 2013 22:31:53


Very well explained, two thumbs up!
Tue, 05 Nov 2013 22:37:36


Alright then! Maybe I should do a tutorial for animating someday~
Tue, 05 Nov 2013 19:35:50


I was asked to do a lighting tutorial, as well as the basic settings for the camera(s). I'm sure people already know how to make a good lighting setup, but maybe there's someone out there that may find this useful! I'll link the pictures to start with, there's quite a few pictures so loading the page might be infuriating. I'll fix it if you guys want. Anyway! So with a pose finished it's time to make it all pop with some highlights and shadows! Creating a light always sets it to your selected camera(1,2, 3 etc) distance, angle etc. By default it is usually too bright. With the light being too intense, you lose details in the model, the "highlights are blown". Simply reduce the intensity/distance of the light to fix that issue. Dragging the Light into your viewport will give your light the same controls as a camera, making it very easy to set it up. For my pose I wanted to have fulll control of the lighting, hence the Black_Void map. Having the feet visible in a scene like this will make it look unnatural, they are floating afterall, so I hide the feet by changing the Field of View(horizontalFOV) or simply mouse1+scrolling in the viewport to zoom in as the light handles just like a camera, it shines on what you see. If you don't have the final image in your head, fool around with multiple lights to get the look you find appealing. I use the light, most of the time, to highlight parts I want the viewer to focus on at first glance. I also use it to play with shadows casted on "sexy parts" like breasts, stomach etc. It makes the scene more alive in an animation for example. The usual setup for lighting, in photography, is key light and fill light. Like I mentioned above, a brighter spot for the viewer to focus on and the fill light to give some volume. The fill light, using the 'Intensity' slider can be difficult if you just want a tad. Double-click it! You can now control it with number inputs. So far I have two fill lights and two key lights. Fill lights in the front to show off her body, the two keylights to highlight her face and another one for the mans buttocks. Here you see the keylight for her face. Remember to pay attention on how the shadows cast in correlation of your angle. Her left breast casting a shadow on her right one adds a little something. You can change the color of the lights by reducing the reds, greens, blues. I went for a slight blueish tint for that cold and unpleasing feel. I am pretty pleased with the lighting setup so far, so let's continue with the camera! Right click in the animation set editor and choose pic related, you will get a window for what cameras you'd like to control. As the map I'm using is just a pitch black room, there's no real need for changing the brightness. But if your map is well light and you want it a bit darker, you can reduce it with 'toneMapScale'. I mostly use it to reduce brightness slightly to give me more room to play with brighter lights. The 'bloomScale' slider does what it says, more bloom! It can be nice with a tad of bloom in some scenes. Good model eyes usually go well together with bloom. You also see: 'SSAOBias/Strength/radius' in this picture. I don't know much about it, but it's ambient occlusion settings, I always go 100% on Bias and then play around with the other two. Comparison: One very important part is to increase the Depth of Field quality, rightclick the viewport and choose 'Render settings..'. I don't know why, but this reduces the terrible black grain you get in shadows, it obviously increases the quality of the depth of field as well which is the 'aperture' slider. Compare the shadows: And let's not forget one of the more fun parts with lights! Volumetrics! This is pretty giving your light a dim fog which reacts nicely with stuff blocking it's path. Right click the light and 'Enable Volumetrics', disabling it is the same thing. BAM! Now that looked a bit too shitty. To reduce it, simply change the intensity of the light or 'volumetricIntensity' to keep the brightness on your model. Changing the min/maxdistance is also a good way to control the volumetrics. This usually helps out in animations where the volumetric may be a real fucking bitch. Mentioned earlier, aperture! It's a very very important tool to make your scene/model pop out as you decrease/increase the depth of field with it. For this scene, it's not important at all, maybe if I chose a second camera angle. But it's very simple, increase the aperture slider to make less things be in focus..! Use the 'focalDistance' to focus the camera onto your subject. Sometimes you might be far too zoomed in and the focus doesn't work, zoom back out and problem fixed. There isn't much to it once you get a hold of the controls, as most of the time, it's just flying around with the lights, keeping an eye on your main viewport and make the scene look good! Now how good it will be depends on your experience and sense of.. beauty! It's a skill to practice and enjoy improving. Here's the final product: Straight out of SFM: After some touch-ups in photoshop because I like to go a bit further: Sadly volumetrics and jpegs don't go well together as you can see. It's a thing jpeg always had an issue with. Ask questions as I am terrible at explaining things~
Tue, 05 Nov 2013 20:04:06


I learned a shit load... This was a brilliant find, and a much appreciated post. Thanks for taking the time. Great wording and flow to the tutorial, too. Cheers, dude.
Tue, 05 Nov 2013 20:06:43


Nice explanation. I'm sure this will help new users get more creative with lighting.
Wed, 06 Nov 2013 18:43:38


Thank you for doing my light tut request! You're a true sweetheart! This is nice work and should offer help for many! Big hugs!
Wed, 06 Nov 2013 22:50:04


Playing with lighting is one of my favorite things to do in SFM and I thought I'd learned a lot about it, now thanks to you, I know a lot more. Much appreciated.
Wed, 06 Nov 2013 23:42:31

Stealth Clobber

I thought I'd point out that if you're exporting it out of SFM as a poster, the bloom slider is useless. It doesn't work for posters.
Mon, 18 Nov 2013 20:49:44


I fucking hate lighting so thank you very much for your detailed post. Lots of interesting tricks.
Tue, 26 Nov 2013 00:21:03


This is extremely helpful - thank you !
Tue, 07 Jan 2014 17:14:20


Aaand added to my favourites. I can see myself making use out of this in the future. :D