View Full Version : disco mirrorball

04-19-2005, 06:29 AM
Hi guys, has anyone ever made a fairly convincing rotating mirrorball - i am about to start one, a couple of years ago I had a go without too much success.

I am not after super realism or anything, it's for a nightclub in Newcastle where the Dj box is a mirrorball and they want some ambient clips with mirrorball type imagery.

I made one in AE that did the job last time (with spherize and Lightburst) lots of layers - which they really liked, but I'd like to reapproach it in 3d this time.

Was thinking this time of playing about with luxigons and projecting some random volumetric lights outward

maybe modelling using a grid like displacment...

if anyone wants to share their experiences that'd be grand :)



04-19-2005, 08:59 AM
Hi there luke

on the ball front, how about making a sphere and just bevelling?



04-19-2005, 03:44 PM
Hey thanks for the reply munky, thats a good idea, I am starting the project probably Thursday I'll let u know how i get on, last time it was the texture I had the least sucess.

I'll post how i get on.

04-19-2005, 04:39 PM
I experimented a while back on mirrored balls, So I am going to attach some examples so you don't have to waste time rendering the same mistakes I fell into. I originally had the bright idea that a mirrored ball should beable to reflect light, the answer is they kind of do. Take a look at the first attachment of volumetrics pointed towards the ball. You can see the light on the ball, but it does not really reflect back like a mirrored ball would.
The next example is volumetrics pointing away. Now it looks more like it should minus the ball anyways. So your theory of lexigons, is closer to the correct solution.

04-19-2005, 04:43 PM
are you making a still or an animation, and are you having trouble modeling it, or just animating it and getting it to behave like a disco ball?

04-20-2005, 01:06 AM
Hey thanks Silk, I'll check those out when I get to work -

Manovich - I'll be making looping animations probably 10 seconds or so each -

Munky, tried out the bevel approach last night and yeah worked a treat, the reason I was going to go for the disp map was so I could accurately make a texture map in after effects that would fit the grid without overlapping - but I can probably still do that the bevel way.

I did a bit of a google for mirror ball images last night which helped me get things a bit clearer in my mind, at least I know a bit more about what to project on any surrounding walls to simulate the reflected light.. gonna make a 'saturday night fever' floor too...

04-20-2005, 03:23 AM
Hi there,

don't forget to use a gobo(image map) on a light for those bright mirror spots on the walls and floor.



04-20-2005, 07:01 AM

Almost two years back at Renderosity I posted a way to make a shiny discoball (with Lightwave 7.5 BTW). So here's a copy/paste of my post:

Was this more or less the effect you are looking for? Anyhow, the answer to create the effect in this scene is "caustics".

The ball is just a simple ball with a mirror surface (turn smoothing off, ofcourse). Diffuse: 50%, specularity: 100%, reflection: 100%. All the rest: 0%.

I used two lights:
1: a pointlight which lights the room a bit (I didn't let it effect the ball).
2: a spotlight, here I used a volumetric render to show you how I aimed the light. Turn "affect caustics" on in the properties panel. I made the color slightly yellow.

In the "global illumination" panel "enable caustics". There I put intensity to 60% (play with this one!), accuracy to 10000 (max), and softness to 10.

That's it. It renders very quickly.


04-20-2005, 10:04 AM
Seriously you guys are BRILLIANT!

I felt like such a knob yesterday with my seemingly very simple problem (compared to some here!!)

Thank you all so much for your efforts and thought.

Serge - that look good - will definately look into the use of caustics as well as the gobo suggestion. (i use 7.5 so thats cool)

there seems to be so much about LW to still learn for me....

04-20-2005, 05:26 PM
ah ha, the one thing I did not try. I thought caustics was mostly for glass. Now I can slap my self silly.

04-21-2005, 12:44 AM
Yeah same here..I thought caustics was like a refracted effect not reflected..

had a quick look last night and yeah it was all working out fine - top one serge!

Shawn Farrell
01-09-2013, 06:05 PM
How do I make the light shine off the mirror ball into to air surrounding the ball like beams?

01-10-2013, 01:00 PM
How do I make the light shine off the mirror ball into to air surrounding the ball like beams?

Gosh this is from a long time ago. Anyway, lightwave doesn't have volumetric caustics (shame) so you will have to cheat it. You could probably do something with luxigons and volumetric spotlights. However I would cheat it like this................


which has a volumetric point light inside a sphere (inside the mirror ball) which has transparencey using the crust texture to create the beams. The reflections on the walls are done with caustics. If you want to check out the scene file then let me know and I will post it here for you.


01-11-2013, 12:29 PM
If you really want to get detailed each mirror on the ball actually has a grout space around it and each mirror is really a glass tile with metal shininess on the inside surface.