View Full Version : Interior Lighting Issues

01-13-2006, 07:24 PM
Does the community have any suggestions regarding a good reference book or tutorial series that can help with my woeful interior lighting skills?

I recognise the books mentioned in the Links, but am keen to hear from the experienced community.


01-13-2006, 08:09 PM
I can't recommend any books off hand, but the best way I've found to light interiors is to just think about your light sources and try to mimic the way light behaves.

I know that's a really generic response, but let's say you have an interior and your main source of light is a window. That light will enter and then bounce off the floor, walls, and roof.

So setup your main light (key) and then your fill lights (bounce) for floor, roof and walls.

You can use MC Radiosity, but that can get expensive in render times, but if you're just doing a still then you're probably fine.

Sorry I don't have any book recommendations though :(

01-13-2006, 10:53 PM

this is a great thread about this very subject :D hope it helps :thumbsup:

01-14-2006, 03:58 PM
Two good references:

Digital Lighting & Rendering (Jeremy Birn)


LightWave 3D 8 Lighting (Nicholas Boughen)

Get them both!

01-16-2006, 01:36 AM
Here is a commercial video tutorial at www.simplylightwave.com


The books Matt recommends are really good too.

01-17-2006, 04:47 AM
The most basic starting point is a null to use as a handle with several directional lights parented to.

Make the first light the main light source and activate all the options for diffuse, spec, shadows, etc as needed.

Have the rest of the directional lights affecting only diffuse amd not casting shodows. Make them maybe 5 % intensity and face them N,S,E, and W.

Add another directional light pointing straight up - maybe 2% imtensity and affecting diffuse only.

Lock the position and rotation channels for all those except the main light - I find it helpfu to be be able to drag it around and actually place it in the kocation of the main light source even though though only heading and pitch really matter - not the location for dirctional lights.

Save the scene as a basic rig then 'load from scene/ into yout set.

That's a good start. I also have some rigs that have lights pointing up and down at 45 degree angles that I use.

Denpending on a specific scene tweak the ratio between main and fills (it's faster to change the main light's intensity then use the overall intensity under global lighting to get the main lighting you need).

For nightime interior shots switch the main light to a point type and give it some falloff then postion it at the main light location.

Add in any other lights such lights within the room, etc.

You can also use the same rig setup with area lighys - it increases render times but gives better results.

Yuo can fake radiosity with this setup by subtlely alyeromg each light''s color to match the general color it's location would be reflecting back into the room. This is where falloff applied to area lights really pays off.

Long ago many of also added a small box shape of low intensity point lights w/falloff parented to a null as a form of fakerosity where sunlight streaming thru a window would hit something like a wooden floor.

Those are just some starting points - look around different interiors and observe the way the lighting works. That's something many people don't really obserrve - it;s seen but not really seen until you examine it.

LW has a good selection of lighting types and controls so experiment to get the best result for each scene.


01-17-2006, 12:33 PM
Interpolated Radiosity is your friend. It really makes it bearable.

keep the tolerance around .2 and minimum spacing between 20-300 depending on the scale of your scene of course. Use motion blur to smooth the noise out (even on stills!) and shading noise reduction. Enhanced low AA.

use lights only for GL preview, i like to light my scene with objects and their luminousity settings, gives you more accurate shape of light sources.

of course ou can mix and match radiosity and normal lights, just takes some experimentation and understanding of what you are trying to accomplish. Negative lights are nice for darkening too.