View Full Version : Any tips on lighting large outdoor spaces...

01-08-2014, 06:37 AM
....that doesn't involve radiocity and huge render times?!

I have a scene over hundreds of meters, animating a camera around moving objects. I'm happy with my keylight but filling in the shadows to keep everything fairly well lit and consistent is proving harder than I thought. If anyone has any techniques they don't mind sharing I'd love to hear them.

01-08-2014, 07:15 AM
How about the good old spinning light trick ?
From memory there's an option in lightbitch that sets this up automatically - tho don't quote me on that, memory is a bit hazy.


01-08-2014, 07:34 AM
You probably already have, but just in case have you tried Backdrop Only radiosity? Much quicker than the full fat variety.

01-08-2014, 08:20 AM
Ah, Lightbitch, forgot about that!

Really not getting on with radiosity and up again time on this one so don't really want to get into de-bugging the bits that go wonky.

A tip on my own post, a scaled up Area light underneath, facing upwards with shadows turned off is working quite nicely, seems to be rendering pretty quickly, as well. Just a fake radiosity technique, I guess!

Also looking into using the RAW pass with a Shadow pass, see if I get any milage there.

01-08-2014, 09:19 AM
Well... I guess what is quick and what's not is very project dependent, but I looked through this video the other day and it seems to cover an outdoor lighting setup technique that's very quick for that particular project


01-08-2014, 10:06 AM
You could try SiBL with one of the "fast" render settings and I guess caching the result, but outside of that, yup, spinning lights are the closest you'll get I think.

01-09-2014, 06:22 AM
Thanks all. Lightbitch has a spinning light rig built in. I've just downloaded it for a play, SiBL as well.

I remember that presentation from siggraph, very entertaining and interesting. Does rely heavily on Radiocity for the final look and I don't have the experience to be confident in the settings just yet.

01-09-2014, 06:46 AM
I recommend backdrop radiosity. It renders pretty fast. I think in the end the spinning light trick is slower. Also a lightbitch setup could become really slow. You can also use the SIBL plugin but I wouldn't use the build in render settings because they are totally wrong. You can get much better and faster results with other settings.... like the defaults.

01-09-2014, 06:55 AM
I know it's scene dependent but is BAckground Radiosity more forgiving than the other settings? If I have a 300 frame animation with deformers etc is it necessary to bake passes?

01-09-2014, 06:58 AM
Yes it is. You won't have to bake anything.

01-09-2014, 07:04 AM
Yes it is. You won't have to bake anything.

You win, I'll give it a whirl :D

01-09-2014, 07:14 AM
You could try the SK Sky Light instead of radiosity. The quality is very good and it renders still fast.

01-09-2014, 07:21 AM
Do you mean DP's Sunsky Texture? I've tried in the past but found it a bit flaky on the Mac. The last update was March last year for us Mac heads so will put it on the list of things to try for future updates. Another great suggestion though!

01-09-2014, 07:27 AM
Just select Lighttype (lw11), and choose SK sky light. Donīt know how it works on Mac, but I often use it for stills on pc.

01-09-2014, 07:39 AM
Nice, can't believe I hadn't noticed this before. Looking at the settings it's based on the properties of another light(?). Will have to read up on that.

01-09-2014, 07:42 AM
yes, you probably need also to use the sk sun light in combination.

01-09-2014, 07:47 AM
There's a "Add sunsky" script that makes setting up the DPsunsky environment a bit faster. You can download it at the bottom of this page http://dpont.pagesperso-orange.fr/plugins/Sunsky.html
The volumetric plugin slows the renders down a lot but you don't have to use it. After running the script you can uncheck it in the volumetrics panel.

01-09-2014, 08:05 AM
Thanks again! Will have to look into the Sunsky thing another time. Getting some nice results in the VPR just using Background Radiocity and one of Video Copilots Environment maps (shipped with Element) using Textured Environment. Need to run some renders next....

01-09-2014, 11:52 AM
DP sun is very flakey on Mac. ;)