Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Week 9 - (Creative Lighting)

Unfortunately I was sick for an entire week and have been set back with workload. Due to this, I also have missed out in getting feedback that I may have needed earlier.

This week I splayed specifically for adding creative lights. The last few weeks I had been building up a knowledge about getting more control in Maya whilst also keeping with the quality/appearance of a day lit scene.



The main thing I wanted to concentrate on was to develop a lighting system that was readable and enhance the scene. Naturally I wanted the center court to be working as the focal point as that was the designated stage for action. I also wanted there to be a sense of depth in the shot, so the viewer wouldn’t feel closed in when viewing.   

Fig.1, Base image lit

In order to establish a base lit scene to work with I used the previous lit scene and added to it. As a further update for the actual environment I chose to have more assets in there to give a more motivation for creative light.

Fig.2, Older light rig

Creative lights added:
-       -   Area lights to light up characters faces  
-       -   Target light to brighten up the center of the court
-        -  Coloured lights for the subjects backdrop (stylistic)
-        -  Golden ambient light to warm up the shot
-        -  Another area light for asset

Fig.3, Light setup from afar

Fig.4, Light setup close

As an addition to creative lighting I also began to remove various lights to supplement for the expense in render time. All the bounced lights were removed and replaced with Final Gather as it was easier to manage and less time to render.

Lights removed or changed:
-        -  Hot distant area lights removed
-        -  All bounced lights (lighting stalls, walls and lamps)
-        -  Distant light increased greatly to light up hill in the distance
-        -  Sky area light replaced with ambient light and light linked solely to it
-        -  Directional light intensity reduced


Fig.5, Final result

For what I had created I took reference from the environmental lighting in ‘One Man Band’ as it had a similar hierarchy in accordance to what I had.
Fig.6, One Man Band (Andrews & Jimenez, 2005)


Light Linking

Another issue I discovered unexpectedly was the practicality of link linking in a 3D animation. As far as setting it up in a scene it is an effective and necessary tool that gives more control over what receives light. When the light rig is exported and referenced into a different scene it seems to lose the retained information and reset all of the specific light connections. The reason to this seems obvious though. If you are importing a rig the information would be retained ideally in connection with the name of the asset and possibly the kind of object itself. When the lights enter a new shot they do not recognise the objects they are meant to connect with and therefore do nothing (aka reset).

I haven’t exactly solved this problem but have promising strategies in dealing with it.

This include:
-          Mel scripting
-          Asset manager
-          Easy Light Link

This wasn’t so much something that I didn’t necessarily need to figure out, but came out of my research.  

Final weeks

Recently I actually did get feedback (despite the major delay) after finally showing the results of my progress. What entailed was a critical kick back into reality of what was needed to be achieved. My thesis was not so much aesthetic based but rather efficiency based relative with the best quality possible. I haven’t really been focusing on the actual timing of my renders which was the point of it all.

My new goal is now clearer. Focusing on trying to get an equally appealing lighting system that is more efficient than using Physical sun and sky. This won’t necessarily mean that I’ll be diverting from other renderers but story telling light has to be axed.

Learning Contract

Updating from new goal

Week 10 – Working out possible ways to lower render times whilst keeping good quality in Maya. I also may show the advantages to having more control over scene lighting rather than Physical sun and sky pre-sets.

Week 11 – Looking at the effect of different renderers within Maya and how they may speed up render time.  


Andrews, M.(Director), & Jimenez, A.(Director).(2005).One Man Band [Motion picture].CA, Pixar.

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