View Full Version : neon

03-03-2005, 03:07 PM
how do i make a grat looking neon light?
glow looks always so cheesy...

03-04-2005, 02:15 PM
If you ask me, good neon is 90% modeling and 90% surfacing.
My technique was derived by spending way too much time in taverns. If you look closely, neon is sort of a glowing tube of gas within a tube of glass.

Create the glass of the neon by rail extruding a disk along the desired path. Then do the same with a slightly smaller disk - this will be the glowing gas within the tube. Make the glass tube double sided and surface it like glass. Give it an opaque edge transparency and a luminosity @ 90%. For the glowing gas, make that double sided too and set the edge transparency to transparent. Give the gas a luminosity of @ 100%. You can use a touch of glow, but corona might be better. For the actual light the neon throws off, I normally use a strategically-placed area light or two, but I suppose one could see what radiosity might do. You could also try fresnel and/or surface thickness for the glass and gas respectively, if so desired.
After that, it's a matter of tweaking the various surfaces and lighting to get what you want.
I've attached a quickie render to illustrate.
Hope this helps.


03-06-2005, 05:53 AM
super thanks chris. this will help me a lot. some of might go a little over the top for me (like using the corona, which i've tried ones before, but didn't understand how it works). i'll start fiddling...

Ty Towriss
05-06-2008, 11:38 AM
Hi Chris. Thanks for you neon tips. Your image really looks realistic. I am still just trying to get rail extrude to work for me. The disk does not make the nice round turns on the letters like in your image. So far when I apply the effect with "oriented" turned on, the resulting image looks nothing like the V in the background... all whacked out. When I turn off the "oriented", the disk stays oriented the same direction as it travels around the rail I have in the background. So round and tubular extruding on x and flat while extruding on y. (I'm using a letter V rail in the background). Anything I am missing here?

05-06-2008, 01:22 PM
Rail extrude can be a real pain. Make sure your rail is very close to the center of your disc.

CC Rider
05-07-2008, 02:44 PM
for a spline that is extra "curvey" like a neon sign is likely to be,
be sure to choose "Uniform Knots" and rail extrude will put the extra geometry on the curves where you need it the most rather than on the straighter pieces...

Ty Towriss
05-07-2008, 03:03 PM
Thanks guys. But I found a 3rd party free/donation plug-in in alpha release that actually worked so good I could not believe it. So much frustration was released when this plugin did as advertised. It was called awExtrudePlus. At Flay it was just listed as Extrude +. Could not get over how good it worked for this neon sign, tube making thing. It was a tad on the slow side but it did such a fantastic job at rounding even the tightest corners and places with many points that I did not mind waiting a little. Obviously the more twists and turns the longer it took. Also, did each letter one at a time in a separate layer to cut down on the processing time to results. Give it a try. Thanks again.

Double - Dual Core AMD 275s w 3GB of ram with an Nvidea Quatro 1400 and SATA II HD.

08-08-2008, 06:31 AM
I am using 8.5. I cannot find corona or edge transparency. Is this a 9.0 thing?

08-08-2008, 06:37 AM
Oops, I found edge transparency!:twak:

But what about corona?

08-08-2008, 07:01 AM
Ok, I found corona. It took some digging about.

08-08-2008, 02:39 PM
Help! I cannot get this effect right. Why am I only getting a glow at the bends? See attached.

Thanks to whomever can solve this.

08-08-2008, 02:49 PM
...It took some digging about.

That is the best way to learn what is in Lightwave. I have used it for over a decade, and there are still tools I have never used yet!

08-08-2008, 03:37 PM
For corona, put the input to 'luminosity' instead of the usual RGB chanel input, and lower the threshold, It should then apply properly to self illuminated objects, uniformly.

08-08-2008, 04:03 PM
how do i make a grat looking neon light?
glow looks always so cheesy...

When I see the first post, I keep thinking "neon cheese grater".

08-08-2008, 05:09 PM
Thanks a lot!

Here's what I have so far.

08-08-2008, 07:34 PM
Don't forget with Corona you can actually have more versions of it. If you want it even hotter in the centre, put another one in there, with a smaller radius.

08-08-2008, 08:02 PM

Like this?

08-08-2008, 08:08 PM
Looks like you're getting the hang of it! :)