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Carrara Portrait Lighting
Posted: 23 May 2012 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]
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    One of the powerfull parts of Carrara is that the lighting is so very versitile…  and one of the difficulties with Carrara is that lighting is so very complicated.  smile  I thought we might start up a thread on Carrara Lighting, combining actual photography techniques with 3D Artwork with specific instructions for Carrara.  After all, photographers have been using specialized lighting to get that perfect model photographed and on the cover of a magazine.  To kick off the conversation, here are some single light portrait solutions.

Loop Lighting -
  Named for the loop of shadow under the nose this is a flattering lighting for portrait photographers.  Mose of the face is lit yet it provides just enough shadow to provide depth to the face.  To create this lighting style, place your light 25 to 60 degrees above the face and about 20 to 50 degrees to the right or left of the face.  For this scene I’m using a spotlight set to 50% brightness and ambient light of 25%.  This is stock M5 using the james texture with highlight turned off and sub surface scattering turned on.


Loop Lighting
 
Butterfly Lighting -
  Named for the butterfly shaped shadow under the nose this a classic lighting style from back in the 1930’s.  The lighting will enhance high cheekbones and narrow faces.  To create this lighting style, place your light 30 to 70 degrees above the face, in a direct line of the face.  For this scene I’m using a spotlight set to 50% brightness and ambient light of 25%.  This is stock M5 using the james texture with highlight turned off and sub surface scattering turned on.


Butterfly Lighting
 
Rembrandt Lighting -
  This lighting style is similar to the loop lighting, but with the light source higher and further to the side to increase the dramatic shadows.  A small dab of light should appear on the cheek under the shadowed eye while the shadow of the nose passes close to the edge of the persons mouth.  This creates a more moody and complex portrait.  For this scene I’m using a spotlight set to 60% brightness and ambient light of 25%.  This is stock M5 using the james texture with highlight turned off and sub surface scattering turned on.
 

RembrandtLighting
Split Lighting -
  The face is half lit and half in shadow.  Place your light to one side of the persons face so that one half of the face is in shadow.  Best used with delicate shading, so keep your ambient light a bit higher on this style of lighting.  This is a good style to smooth out facial imperfections.

Split Lighting

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Light3sm.png
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Posted: 23 May 2012 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Thanks for posting - I look forward to the discussion.  Now if only the forums would show your images!!

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Posted: 23 May 2012 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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PhilW - 23 May 2012 01:06 PM

Thanks for posting - I look forward to the discussion.  Now if only the forums would show your images!!

  I agree, it would be nice!  So I just went in and posted links inside the body of the post until DAZ3D allows people to actually view my attachments!  Thanks for pointing out that they weren’t viewable.

                                                            Boojum

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Posted: 23 May 2012 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi Boojum,

Thanks for the links - helps a lot to understand!  I personally hate ambient lighting as it has no real-world equivalent.  I would always use sky lighting and usually indirect lighting as well.  The choice then is what to put in the background channel to act as your source for the skylighting - of course an HDRI image works well, but even with just a flat color (eg. white!) it will give a more reallstic result than using just indirect light.

I’d be interested to see your examples with this - you may need to adjust the intensities to balance the direct and indirect light.

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Posted: 23 May 2012 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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  Hey!  It looks like they finally got the image attachments working!  Ok, the image attached to this post is done with ambient lighting turned down to 0, Indirect Lighting at 24%, and the scene’s spot light turned up to 75%.  This is using the Butterfly Lighting scene that I made.  Oh, for those who hadn’t guessed, the backdrop is just that..  a render I had done in bryce that I added to give a background.

                                              Boojum

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Posted: 23 May 2012 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I don’t seem to be able to upload an image?!

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Posted: 23 May 2012 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Below are three images using a default V4 standing on a buff colored plane, to illustrate the differences between various forms of Global Illumination.  All are lit with a single directional light in the “Loop” style as above.

1 - This has no Global Illumination, just Ambient Light set to 25% as in Boojum’s original examples.  Note that there is no definition in the shadow areas (eg. the right nostril and ear) as ambient light illuminates all surfaces equally.

2 - This has Ambient Light turned down to zero and Sky Light from a pure white color.  Now much better definition in the shadowed areas but some of the shadows are rather harsh.  Always remember to check the “Light Through Transparency” box in the Global Illumination panel when using portraits or you will get “dark eyes”.

3 - This adds Full Indirect Lighting to the above.  This models the way that light bounces around the scene, resulting in softer, almost glowing shadows.  The fact that she is standing on a colored plane becomes important here, whereas in the previous renders it was totally irrelevent.  There is reflected light from that plane - delete it, or change its color, and the effects will be seen in the final render.

I hope you agree that the realism increases as you go from 1 to three - unfortunately, render times also increase in line with this - the usual 3D rendering trafe-off!

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V4-Sky_Light.jpg
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Posted: 29 August 2012 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Great lighting samples and references here! Glad I stumbled onto this thread!

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Posted: 29 August 2012 05:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Just a suggestion….

If you want to apply real studio photography techniques and duplicate them with your renders, I suggest you start out with reference photos and try to duplicate what’s in the photo. Because if you don’t do that, it’s far too easy to use your own biased/innaccurate perceptions of what’s “good” or “real looking” and you come up with renders that look neither good nor real.

And if you really want to study studio photography techniques, then take a look at some real lighting techniques, which include light types, colors, placement, etc., and try to duplicate them.

How about a challenge…someone find a real cover photo from a magazine, post a link, then everyone tries to duplicate exactly what is in the photo, and you all post your methods.

Or just keep playing….sorry I butted in….

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Posted: 29 August 2012 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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By the way, here’s a link to the latest (Sept) cover of Vogue magazine, with a portrait of Lady Gaga. Which of the above-described portrait lighting methods was used here:

http://www.vogue.com/magazine/

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Posted: 29 August 2012 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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thanks for starting this boojum bunny
as one who tends to do a lot of different renders with different lighting
then combine them in post
I’m looking forward to seeng what comes up

what follows isn’t specifically portrait lighting but is in some ways relevant

I’m presently rendering a multitude of very large images for print
so my personal opinion is to choose the quickest lighting solution and work from that.
theory being - the quicker I can render the more mistakes I can make and the faster I can learn.

so

just some rambles from me, might help someone

for speed

I avoid soft shadows with lights - especially ray traced soft shadows,
I tend to light objects individually in a complicated scene so I can get the light exactly where I want it
I use low level bulbs with no shadows as fillers
I might use a sky dome as an anything glows
I often use the camera as an anything glows object - you make it a bright colour and very intense initially so
you can see where it lands (after changing the default distance from 33 feet)

sometimes I use a plane behind the camera as an anything glows light

to separate an object from the background a spot turned up pretty high acts as a great rim light and saves post work to ‘pop’ parts of the image

I get very good results from Tim Payne’s and Dimension theories lighting products but the render times kill me so I tend not to use them

So the theory is, choose the fastest technique and eventually you will get good results smile

EDIT: Joe, if you give us a mesh with Lady Gagagaga’s head to play with I am certain we can reproduce that lighting.

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Posted: 29 August 2012 11:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Well, here’s the first entry, but it’s incredibly and embarrassingly bad, so please ignore it. The purpose of the exercise is to figure out what type of lighting the studio used, and why they did that. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

In this case, by trying to reproduce it, you quickly realize that the main lighting was a single, fairly harsh light that was placed “low and inside” over the camera’s left shoulder. And as you can see, it had overblown highlights to give that cool, hip kinda harsh look that everyone uses nowadays. However, that’s pretty much all that was used, except for a tiny bit of fill. In the scene I did my version of it, I pretty much used a single spot, cranked way over 100% intensity, with soft shadows. Not much else. Pretty much the opposite of what Headwax normally uses.

The point is, and it’s one I’ve made over and over and over and over here, is that you don’t need fancy lighting solutions, and prepackaged light setups, and GI and all the fancy rendering solutions. Often just a few strategically placed and designed lights will do it all. And you certainly don’t need no “7 point” lighting setup like some self- proclaimed lighting masters recommend. Nor do you need the prepackaged “3 point lighting system” that everyone thinks is what everyone else uses. They don’t.

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Posted: 30 August 2012 12:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Not bad Joe, love the parody.

Oh, I didn’t tell you my entire work flow…
which starts off by turning off all lights and dropping a single bulb /spot into the scene and see what happens.
So not so far from your approach.

If I was lighting the gagagaga lady I would look at the vogue cover, look for the darkest shadows and take that as my miniumum light exposure and get that right
that would be my baseline
, then I would look at the rfelections in hee eyes and steal the photogs’s light set up for the eyes,
and that would give me clues to what his strongest lights were in general
as well as his eyelights

and I would take it from there

mind you I am just sitting at work looking at you guys working playing
so I am not taking it anywhere wink

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Posted: 30 August 2012 04:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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head wax - 30 August 2012 12:47 AM

Not bad Joe, love the parody.

No, it really sucks. The lighting is horrendous, flat and no depth, colors are ridiculously wrong, eyes are all jacked up, the whole thing is totally lifeless and cold. And the hat is ridiculous. I just alpha mapped a plane with a feather, duplicated, and arranged. Totally lazy, and an ugly result.

Some day I would like to take some time and really try to duplicate that hat. It’s pretty awesome. It really makes the photo. Which the photographer probably knew was needed when photographing Lady Gaga…

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Posted: 30 August 2012 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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head wax - 30 August 2012 12:47 AM

which starts off by turning off all lights and dropping a single bulb /spot into the scene and see what happens.
So not so far from your approach.

Well, actually, for scenes in general, it’s very far from my approach. I first figure out what my goal for the image is. What do I want it to say, what do I want the viewer to feel, what is the overall sense and purpose for the image. That includes colors, shadows, intensity, and a bunch of other stuff.

Once I have an idea of where the image is going, I figure out what type of lighting will get me there. I generally know from experience what type of lighting gives what type of sense and feeling to the viewer. Do I want the image to be bright, or sad, or dangerous, or whatever. There are lighting techniques that help you get to each of those different feelings.

I NEVER decide on a pre-set, 3 point lighting or other lighting “standard” that people use but don’t really know why. The lighting depends on the goal for the image, not on some drag and drop solution. I generally end up with a few spotlights using soft shadows, and nothing else. No ambient, no GI, no sky domes or whatever, no nothing. Like I said, pretty much the opposite of what you described.

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Posted: 31 August 2012 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Great thread and discussion and renders.
For those of us rookies that are more into buying ready-to-render items, what is there in the store in order to make a photo realistic portrait renders in Carrara?
I have only purchased Carraracters Delphinia and Elite textures Maya, that have Carrara support and include one car scene with cams and lights, but have not had the time to work with them yet.

Delphinia has an essential video tutorial that shows the trick of multipass rendering, to tweak the highlights in PhotoShop. Did not see this mentioned above, guessing it is a common trick for the pros.
Will get back with some renders…
http://www.daz3d.com/shop/carraracters-delphinia
http://www.daz3d.com/shop/v4-elite-texture-maya

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