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Making Of 'Daylight'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:

To make the arms/legs I used "Capsule Objects".  The feet are deformed cubes, the head is a sphere, and the sword is a modified capsule! This person doesn't have a body; I only created the parts that would be visible from my camera. This "pseudo-figure" looks ugly too, close-up but the camera is far enough away that this really isn't an issue.

Now, we have all elements to create the scene. (All modelling work was done in about 2 hours, including the first Freehand 8 drawing.)


There are only a few textures in this scene. They are:

A. a stonework map for all walls
B. another stonework map for the floor
C. my own stone map (rouged grey) for the sculpted stone
D. plain colour textures + bump + diffusion (fractal noise) for the clothes
E. a bit of fresnel in colour texture with alpha channel activated (holes) for the feather
F. a background map

For the stonework textures I activated the diffusion channel and loaded the new plug in "DirtyNUTs" shader. This shader creates an automatic "dirt" effect where ever it is applied.

Mapping was really fast, mostly applying a cubic mapping to object groups and adjusting the number of tiles in real-time in the editor view.  I played with the tiling until I liked what I saw


This stage of the work is the most time-consuming of the entire scene, because I had to do a lot of testing of the effects as I went along

The main light sources are the "Sun", the "Bouncing" light from Sun/sky and the "Skylight".

The "Sun" is a hard, yellow shaded parallel light. "Bouncing" is the result mainly of sunlight bouncing on the geometry but "skylight" also produces bouncing light at all directions. "Skylight" is blue light surrounding the entire scene.

All lights are added gradually. Note that between lighting stages, the increment of change is small.

Using a big number of low lights gives better results than using a few lights with high values. The idea is to create something like a "lighting grid" to fill the dark areas using colours

-Simulating light sources using spots and omni lights-


I used a spot placed far enough away to cover the entire scene. Light colour is warm yellow using a value of 270%, with area shadows enabled. Area shadows are more accurate than other shadows. Area shadows will show hard or soft shadows depending on the object's distance, like real shadows. This takes more render time than other shadows, but looks nice.

Using soft shadows with a big map size, "sun" shadows looks nice too, and while this will save time, the area shadows really are better.

"Sun" spot only


To simulate the first bouncing light from sun, I used two lines of blue omni lights (8 lights each line) placed along the "street". They are instances from a "master blue light". It's easy to adjust because you need only adjust the Master to have the change propagated to the 'cloned' lights.

The first 'light-string" is placed near the floor and second "light-string" about the middle of the maximum height of the scene. These strings of lights fill all areas softly with a uniform lighting. (Using more lights with a lower value results are nice but that takes more render time and tests.)

At this point, the top area still is too dark, but we can solve this later using only a few lights.

The Master blue light (and consequently all 16 instances) uses a 10% value, the colour is blue and soft shadow is enabled (125 kb size map); this produces soft-shadows and lighting, which emulating a radiosity effect, but isn't as render intensive.



For the main skylight I used three instances from a couple of blue spotlights targeting the walls and the floor for a total of 8 lights along the scene. The parameters used are: blue colour, soft shadows (sample size to 6 to create a more diffuse shadow) and a 20% value. -This produces more "filled scene" and visible shadows under the Bridge, on floors, and walls.


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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Mike on Sat, 07 January 2012 6:38pm
A great tutorial, this helped me out tremendously. Thanks a lot.
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