Ninja vs Zombies - Lighting advice needed

TobiasGTobiasG Posts: 447
edited December 1969 in Art Studio

I just rendered this scene, and I'm not yet happy with the lighting.

The two large windows opposite the point of view each have a spotlight behind them; the smaller windows in the two doors to the left and right (only partly visible) have a Point Light each behind them, and there's a Point Light in the ninja's head. One Distant Light comes from directly above, one from 8 o'clock, both are at 75%. And there's a UE light.

I'm a bit disappointed in the two Spot Lights - I was hoping they's cast cool shadows through the large windows - but they don't. Also, the ninja doesn't stand out; but I hesitate to shine more light on him. I don't want to get things too bright, after all.

I'm aware that one of the zombies (well, one of the zombies and his node-clone) could be improved regarding posture; but that's easily fixed.

Do you have any ideas, hints, suggestions?

Radial_Ninja.jpg
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Comments

  • BlackFeather1973BlackFeather1973 Posts: 739
    edited December 1969

    Nice scene, and since you asked, i'll throw my 2 cents in (though i'm definitely not known for making great renders myself ; - )
    For making the ninja stand out more without brigthening everything up too much, i'd try to do some backligthing on him. That should create a nice rim to make him stand out more.
    Also, i wouldn't have a light coming from straight above but instead give it quite an angle to create some nice shadows. That'll make your characters look more grounded. In your current scene the environment looks more like a background than an environment, if you know what i mean.

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 20,111
    edited December 1969

    Now I'm still doing pointlight/spotlight/distant light stuff and trying to fine tune that before going on (and I'm nit-picky) but what I would do is perhaps a point light dropped down in front of a few of the ghouls/zombies/whatevers- to illuminate their faces as that's what should bring alarm to the viewers (in addition to the sheer situation! Nicely done!) A point light illuminating part of the ninja's lower body (think of it as a close distant light, barely there) may also give a bit more balance to his body.

    I have to say though- I love this scene and what you've done with it!
    Cathie

  • TobiasGTobiasG Posts: 447
    edited July 2013

    Thanks for your input!

    OK, I added Point Lights at 10% Intensity in front of the faces of the three bad guys (zombies, ghouls, mutants - whatever :) ), and a tightly focussed Spotlight above and behind the ninja. I also inverted the color scheme on the ninja's dress.

    While this is better, I might need to tone down the Distant Lights; things are getting a bit too bright, I think.

    What do you say?

    Ninja_Testrender2.jpg
    799 x 532 - 302K
    Post edited by TobiasG on
  • NovicaNovica Posts: 20,111
    edited July 2013

    This is going to be hard to explain. That ghoul on the left (first one) you have changed the angle of the shot, and now has a bright light behind his head which makes HIM look so much darker- that white, sliding banister looking thing. His face (to me) is still too dark. And remember if you do spotlights, to darken in postwork areas behind the head where the light hits unnaturally. EDIT: (Not that you used a spotlight, just sayin'. ) For the point lights, the ghoul in back, on our right, I really like the pointlight on his face- it made a difference! And I really like his body illumination a lot more. However, with this angle, now you have a half circle coming out of his head, whereas before it was a white strip that showcased his head better.

    Get a camera view set up as your render camera- and that way when you change things, you're still rendering the same view. (I know, I move my render view too, drats.) Maybe the floor being a touch darker would put more emphasis on the characters?

    Post edited by Novica on
  • TobiasGTobiasG Posts: 447
    edited December 1969

    Yes, I moved around the scene thinking I was using Perspective view, and then I noticed I was using the Camera :/ I'll need to correct that damn Camera again...

    How would I go about darkening the floor? Something in Surfaces? A negative light?

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 20,111
    edited December 1969

    Yes, I moved around the scene thinking I was using Perspective view, and then I noticed I was using the Camera :/ I'll need to correct that damn Camera again...

    How would I go about darkening the floor? Something in Surfaces? A negative light?

    Either or both *smile* Lowering point lights (like you did by the faces) works, but it depends on what you have standing near it. Since you are darkening a floor (which I've never done) I would think the best route would be Surfaces. Select the surface shader tool, then click on the areas and get the exact section and see what your options are. I would try a gray in diffuse first. Hopefully some "pros" will jump in here. Sorry you're stuck with me at the moment, lol!

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 20,111
    edited July 2013

    Okay, I've taken a good look at this. Here's what you MIGHT want to try-

    The characters and the ninja are competing too much with the background. What if you darken the background so that the light coming through the window shines in (place spotlights in FRONT of the windows, if all else fails, shining forward.) Have lights coming from that light source (from the back, over the shoulders) of your characters- but really darken that background. I think it's just competing too much. What do YOU think?

    Post edited by Novica on
  • NovicaNovica Posts: 20,111
    edited July 2013

    The nice thing about this render is the incoming figures are stealthy and calculating. The poses show a menacing deliberation and yet the central figure is quite calm, something we would expect from a ninja. Well done!

    Post edited by Novica on
  • TobiasGTobiasG Posts: 447
    edited December 1969

    Novica: I very much appreciate your help (and I've already learnt quite some things from your other threads!). Right now, I'm at work, unfortunately, so I can't test out all these suggestions (until we get a Daz-app, that is). I'll try to get to the computer tonight, more likely tomorrow.

    I think you're spot on that the scene as such needs less light, while the characters need to stand out more. I like the idea of fiddling with Spot and Point Lights, and I'll either dim or remove the Distant Lights. So many options! :)

    Tramp Graphics: Well, I have a rather long and varied roleplaying background, so I'm happy with defining and categorizing these critters :D I think they're too energetic to work as Hollywood-zombies, too dead for Voodoo-Zombies, and too mutated for Ghouls. In a scifi setting, I think I'd use the Undead Fiend as a mutant. Or else leave it open :)

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 20,111
    edited December 1969

    Will look forward to your "twiddlin' and tweakin"
    It is difficult to get so many things to come together- you've taken on quite the challenge. I'll pop in and check periodically- I'll be busy all day tomorrow and it's 4am so I gotta get some sleep. Have fun with it :) I'd start in the back and work my way forward.

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 20,111
    edited July 2013

    EDIT: For new folks who have not rendered- it is no small thing to redo a scene like this and render it- render times take hours and hours. The spot renders won't always show the same thing, but every time you change something, you spot render- so when he is redoing all this by tweaking lights, it is a LOT of work.

    Post edited by Novica on
  • TobiasGTobiasG Posts: 447
    edited July 2013

    So, I did a number of things: first, I re-centered that damn camera (is there a way to lock it?), and I removed most of the lights to start out fresh. I then added spotlights behind most characters, with Point Lights set to -100% to cover the resulting light spots on the floor. The ghouls (OK, I surrender...) got Point Lights in their faces, and I darkened the back wall with Spot Lights at -50% (maybe change that up to -30%... not sure).

    Personally, I like things better now. The Dark Lights are helpful in toning down the background; I might even crank the UE Light a bit higher, with the wall blacked out...

    It's a pretty radical change from the original version! :)

    What do you think?

    Ninja2_Testrender.jpg
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    Post edited by TobiasG on
  • Orphanslayer69Orphanslayer69 Posts: 63
    edited December 1969

    I think it's a whole lot better. I would change the sword arm position of the Ninja to bring the sword into the light. At least on my smallish monitor it looks a little dark and hard to spot.

  • TobiasGTobiasG Posts: 447
    edited December 1969

    I think it's a whole lot better. I would change the sword arm position of the Ninja to bring the sword into the light. At least on my smallish monitor it looks a little dark and hard to spot.

    Yeah, the sword comes with a somewhat pedestrian black texture. I modified things a bit. Better?

    Final_Ninja.jpg
    799 x 532 - 206K
  • NovicaNovica Posts: 20,111
    edited December 1969

    First of all, ADORE the floor- it looks actually eeeeeeerie. I personally do like the background better- it was distracting and pulled too much attention- nice job on the darkening! As for the spotlights on the faces, we probably need to soften/expand them so they are not so obvious and turn down the intensity a bit. Try expanding them first. You want part of their chest glowing (and don't moan, you can do that by dropping a point light in front of their chests if the face spot lights don't reach it, go with a medium gray.) I forget, do you have any distant lights? That helps put a nice overall glow on everything to balance out sheer dark areas.

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 20,111
    edited July 2013

    OMG, I am so "in" to ink blots. You know, that test they give folks and ask what they see?
    Look at your back window. I see a child swimmer wearing goggles with his face pressed up to the glass! (the goggle on our left shows clearly, as does his adorable nose.) His shoulder on our left is lit in the light, he has brunette hair...

    I'm having a giggle fit here. (What IS in this Pepsi?)
    Cathie

    Post edited by Novica on
  • NovicaNovica Posts: 20,111
    edited December 1969

    Also, don't know if you've seen the dragonfly where I stacked the spotlights and made bands of light- but you could do that with the sword. As long as your spotlights are shooting from below or from the side and there are no people behind it, the spotlight won't shine on them. Take a peek here- and with your dark lighting, it would look REALLY cool. You simply stack the spotlights (use the first one when you create your next light by selecting that spotlight. Then use Y translation to move it up. Then for your third spotlight, use the second one as your starting point, and use Y again.)

    And here's where I did it with a sword.
    http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/19756/P480/#354499

  • TobiasGTobiasG Posts: 447
    edited December 1969

    With so much positive feedback, I did some more work on this blasted scene.

    The sword got a few Point Lights, and increased Ambience. With Spot Lights on the blade, I wasn't satisfied, maybe because of the blade angle, which makes it difficult to use a Spot Light without illuminating other bits at the same time.

    The Ghouls got more Point Lights, too, in a light grey.

    So, if you're not fed up with this thing yet, what do you think? Thanks for all your input, again! :)

    cheers,
    tobias

    Ninja+schwert.jpg
    799 x 532 - 222K
  • NovicaNovica Posts: 20,111
    edited December 1969

    Tobias- I really like it SO much better! That sword looks awesome- really stands out now! I steered you wrong- it was indeed point lights, not spotlights, that I stacked. Sorry about that- you would indeed have issues with the floor (and everything else) being illuminated if you used as spotlight near other objects. Glad you figured it out. I really like the irregular lighting (that's meant as a compliment) with the dashes of light on the whatever-the-heck-they-are-I-am-staying-out-of-it. (WTHTAIASOOI) (Or whatchamacallits.)

    As mentioned, you can play with the shadows- but I am so impressed! I steered people over here from my art studio because I wanted them to see how much hard work you put into this, and the results- so whenever I get stuck, I'm going to say, "ohhhhh Tobias....?"

  • JaderailJaderail Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    This has gone from a Hmm... good render to a OH boy that looks real GOOD render. Now I have one request, if your PC can handle it and you have the time, please render a larger version. The Forum will accept up to a 2000x2000 pixel render if the total file size is below the max for a single attachment post. I would LOVE to see it in a 1920x???? aspect version. I really like this last one.

    Very good work and well done using the tips you have been offered.

  • TobiasGTobiasG Posts: 447
    edited December 1969

    Thank you! Couldn't have done it without the advice :)

    I'll start a render now, so the program can do its job while I'm away. I've got a pretty busy weekend.

    cheers,
    Tobias

  • TobiasGTobiasG Posts: 447
    edited December 1969

    Voilà: a render at 1920 x 1280 pixels. Hope you like it!

    Cheers,
    Tobias

    GiantFinalNinja.jpg
    1920 x 1280 - 879K
  • JaderailJaderail Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    The Suit details REALY Pop in this one. VERY nice render thank you for the larger version.

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 20,111
    edited December 1969

    Agree-that's the first thing I noticed- and the glowing eyes of the creature on the left- ooooooh! I know you're proud- and you should be!

  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 978
    edited December 1969

    That's ahuge difference from the first to the last version! Well done, it really did improve a lot :)

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