Another tip - for the key light; use raytraced shadows as they are more realistic than the deep shadow map.
Thank you! There are some really nice compositions here that are ruined by trying to take short cuts with the render options. All the well placed lights in the 3D universe will just look washed and flat if you try and get away with using the lowest possible render settings, such as shadow buffers, etc.
That's not to say that you have to use the very best render settings, but you need to make educated decisions based on the needs of the image.. In this case, the needs are primarily lighting due to the contest, so that's the last place I would look to take a shortcut.
Keep up the good work guys. As I said there are some nice compositions here.
Pardon my ignorance here, I'm a Carrara user and not a D/S user. I've seen several posts in this thread where the artist has had extremely long render times using objects that are transmapped. What I'm wondering is, if D/S has the ability to exclude/include specific objects from the lights?
For instance, in Carrara I've been coincidentally playing around with portrait lighting (before I had come across this thread). My goal was to try and create a decent likeness of M. Monroe from a morph package I had forgotten that I DLed. Part of my goal was to try and use Carrara's dynamic hair. Dynamic hair is great, but if you want to use raytraced soft shadows it's a real time vampire. I learned a trick sometime ago that I could set up duplicated lights, with the exact same position, intensity, color value, etc. and set one up with raytraced shadows and the other without. The one with the raytraced shadows lit everything except the hair, and the one without the raytraced shadows lit only the hair. My pictures took about 2.5 hours to render at 1536x2048 on a Power Mac G5 1.8Ghz Single Core computer. Raytraced soft shadows and Global Illumination would have increased the render time to tens of hours.
Which leads me to another suggestion: Try and fake Global Illumination where you can. Use low intensity spot lights with high fall-off zones to simulate reflected light. You'll be amazed at the speed bumps.
The image I'm posting has no postwork such as levels. The only thing I did was composite a background and reduce the size for the forum. This is just a standard render with no Global Illumination (indirect light).
Unfortunately, at least that I'm aware of, (I am new at this), you can't select objects to be hit by lights in DS. (You can make objects not cast shadows, and be invisible, but not block specific lights from hitting them.) Also, I think to have light fall-off you need to buy the UberSpotlights, from what I've been able to gather.
I recently watched a video about lighting from Dream-lounge that demonstrated both those features in Lightwave, so I can definitely see how useful both features would be, so if they are in DS4 I'd love to find them. (And UberSpotlights are definitely in my wishlist.)