View Full Version : Xmas lights

02-08-2016, 01:17 PM

I need to make some strings of Christmas-style lights. The cords are no problem -- thanks to Rope Editor Plus! -- but the bulbs are another story. I was hoping just a few well-placed point lights would work, but not really. They just look like light spheres and not illuminated bulbs.

Any ideas on how to approach this? They won't need to be too detailed since it's a small part of a larger scene, but if people look at them,they need to be convincing.

Thank you!

02-08-2016, 03:08 PM
Try this thread. (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?144988-Merry-Christmas!)

02-09-2016, 09:01 AM
If you're looking for something more like C7 or C9 bulbs, a small ovoid bulb can be used with Instancer and Glow and Radiosity to make a pretty effect. As you said, no details close up, but at any distance, looks nice, IMO.

A sample scene is attached. The basics are to model the bulb itself (simple shaped box with Subpatches), then a simple 2-point poly chain for the cord with Magnet to give it a catenary curve. I used Box with 30 X segments, then delete all points but those on the X axis. In Layout, load the "cord" object and the "bulb" object, then use Instancer on the cord to place a bulb at each point (using "Points" and Max Points in Instancer). Note that the bulb is modeled below X,Y (0,0) so it "hangs" beneath the cord.

The color on each bulb is generated using a Node setup, which uses the Instance ID as the seed for generating a random scalar, which is fed into a Gradient with the potential colors for each bulb. The bulb color's Luminosity is set to 150%. The Image Editor Advanced tab has Glow set to 20%, which is then enabled in the Processing tab (CTRL-F8). Even without Glow, with Radiosity enabled in the Global Illumination panel, each bulb will give a slight aura around it.


BTW, if you want ONLY the colors defined in the Gradient, you can set each key on the Gradient to "Step" rather than "Spline". With "Spline", a random scalar falling between keys will mix those two key's colors.


02-12-2016, 12:02 PM
Dang...still not being notified of replies.

Thank you both! These look great.

02-13-2016, 10:14 AM
In the scene I posted, if you want the hanging C7 bulbs to be less regular, in the Instancer you can set the Random orientation to have a maximum heading of 180 degrees and a maximum bank of (say) 20 degrees. Then, they'd be a little more realistic in the way the sockets on the cord might be oriented.


02-14-2016, 01:01 PM
For visible light bulbs I always make either a material ID pass or a lights pass, then in post I can teak the amount of glow from the lights, and possibly add a star filter to the glow.