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10 top lighting tips

By Poz Watson

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Date Added: 25th February 2014
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3D experts put shade and shine in the spotlight, as they explain exactly how they light their work. Discover 10 top tips for lighting from the industry experts in this exclusive feature

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"An important step in creating great art is setting up the best lighting you can” Luca Nemolato

So, you've built your model and you've taken the time to pose and texture it. Your composition is great, and you're happy with the results so far. But you're not finished and you can't just cruise through the rest of the job – lighting your scene right is critical. This is where you add mood to your work, and where you work to attract the attention of your viewer or your audience to where you want it. It's where you draw them into the scene and grab their attention. It's how you connect with them, as our experts reveal...

Tip 1: Falloff fail

"The shaders on my characters are surprisingly simple. I use VRay standard shaders nearly all of the time. If I need help with making the edges pop and the rim lights don't quite do the job, I add falloff materials to the diffuse channel to brighten the edges. Falloff also comes in handy for reflective materials as you can boost the intensity of reflections on the edges of the model.” Andrew Hickinbottom

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Sometimes the simplest of set-ups are the best

Tip 2: Light their way

"Light and color along with composition can be used to guide the viewer's eye. Back cold light is used behind the character to imply night and a warm spotlight is used at a low angle coming from the viewer's position. Along with a low and tilted camera angle, it puts the viewer in the middle of the fire zone, as well as giving the portrayed character a more menacing attitude. As for the color, the overall saturation focuses on the character's face and fades slightly towards the boundaries of the image.” Carlos Ortega

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Guide your viewer with warm or cold lighting choices

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Carlos Ortega Elizalde demonstrates how lighting can be warm or cold in an image © Carlos Ortega Elizalde

Tip 3: Lighting in Keyshot

"An important step in creating great art is setting up the best lighting you can. I found out a great way to create a strong shadow pass in Keyshot. Using the HDRI called ‘Urban' in combination with a white wax material with 0 translucency and 0 specularity, you will get strong shadows and sharp details.” Luca Nemolato

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Make your lighting really pop, as Luca Nemolato has done here, in his piece The Beast

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