View Full Version : About to embark on my 1st big project, any tips?

02-11-2005, 06:13 AM
Okay, I have played about with Lightwave for a couple of years now and have mostly made very easy and basic animations and renders - logos, web adverts etc.

Now I have decided I want to become more of a powerful user and have set myself the task of modelling and surfacing a high quality render. I loved the books of CS Lewis when I was younger, in particular the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I have decided I would like to render the scene at the start of the book - for those who don't know, it's basically an old victorian style street lanter in the middle of a snowy forest (you know like a streetlight but with a candle in it!). It conjures a very cosy, magical, wintery feeling and I think it would be a challenge to model, light and render. It's night time and the lantern is the only thing lighting the trees around it.

Now, I would like to ask some simple questions to get me started.

a) What is the best way to do fur trees so my render time is reduced? I have already modelled a full christmas tree but each needle is a 3 sided pyramid, so i can imagine if I made a forest of these it may take a while.

b) How would I achieve that 'candle glow' style of lighting so that the trees and the snow on them are barely lit and there are shadow everywhere?

c) Should I use radiosity? Or for this scene can I get away without it?

d) How exactly do you model and surface good snow so that it twinkles slightly on the ground as the ice particles reflect light?

I know that's alot of questions, but I figure what the heck, you don't ask, you don't get!

Thanks in advance for any help.



02-11-2005, 10:42 AM
First I would suggest to not touch radiosity until you get your lights the way you want them.

I would suggest to use radiosity as only a fill to a lighting setup that looks right in the first place... For a night scene I would imagine you will most likely not use radiosity but you'll have to experiment.

Second, the trees, it really depends on how close your are getting to the trees.

If you have several, but you have a few that are really close, you can use those as your "hero" trees... you know detail them out etc. And then your farther away ones can obviously be less detailed.

Either way I would use image maps and clip maps for your foliage. You MIGHT need to model some foliage on your hero tree, but unless you're right on top of it... probably not. Check out pawel olas trees designer... don't remember the link, but google it and you'll find it... absolutely a must for doing trees, leaves, etc.

As for the snow... that's a tough one to get right, you'll just have to experiment with color gradients and I would imagine some sort of reflection or spec map for your twinkle. Make a black image in Photoshop and just use the noise filter with a white color to drop specks all over the black... then use that as your spec/reflection map.

Lighting... again you'll have to experiment... but I would say point lights or spotlights with a falloff will do the trick.

Good luck!

02-11-2005, 01:44 PM
Cheers ma man, that is some nice tips there, will look into that tree plugin and try all the advice you have given me, thanks for taking time out for that! :)

If anyone else has any advice for me, it is greatly appreciated.