This blog posts consists of the lighting tests for the scene.I have implimented professional light tutorials to apply realistic looking lighting.

Render 1

Initial look at the scene.


Light Render 2

Initial testing of arrangement and lighting while completing the tutorial.  I found that adaptive sampling increases render time drastically, however the area of the render that is finished looks crisp/ clear (without noise).


Light Render 3

  • 540p
  • Camera samples: 2.
  • Ray depth – diffuse: 3.
  • No clamping or adaptive sampling.
  • The render time was too much on these. Render time: 1.30.

Light Render 4

Same as above but with clamping and adaptive sampling.


Light Render 5

  • All of the above, (no adaptive sampling).
  • Sky dome with HDRI applied: exposure: 3.
  • Colour temp on directional light: 6000.
  • Directional light has blurred edges (angle settings).

Light Render 6

  • Adjusted samples on both main light sources.
  • Directional light samples: 8.
  • Hdri sky dome light samples: 5.

Light Render 7

  • Increased ray depth diffuse: 4. (Bounce lights).
  • Sky dome exposure: 4.

Light Render 8

  • Testing how much to light the side rooms.
  • This was made with 2 area lights in the position of windows.
  • Intensity: 2.
  • Exp: 18.
  • Samples: 5.

Light Render 9

Kitchen lighting, first test.


Light Render 10

Testing memorial area lighting and curtain colour.


Light Render 11

Translucency of curtains- to let light pass through. A quick render to see the amount of translucency needed.


Light Render 12

Orange curtains. Render time: 11.40.


Light Render 13

Another empty room light test: temperature and exposure.

  • I found that intensity:1, and exposure 14 was the correct setting.
  • Light samples: 3.

Light Render 14

Testing light from the second floor (Stairs). The cobweb should be moved. That doesn’t seem like a fitting place for it.


Light Render 15

Kitchen lighting second test. Strange artifacts at the bottom of the back door.


Light Render 16

Hallway render time: 12:21.

  • Camera samples: 3.
  • Light samples are not adjusted and Noice is not applied (denoising).

Light Render 17

Cobweb front window, and glass material inspection.


Denoising with Noice:

The average render time so far for 520p, 3 samples is about 12 minutes, to render my 4000+frames it would take 35.5 days (constant rendering). This is calculated on my slow PC (not on faster school computers) as well as not using the render farm. So, I have many ways that I can shorten the render time so far. Also, this is without the addition of the character’s geometry, animation and depth of field which will all increase the rendering time.

The ideal render time should be under 4 mins per frame. This would take 14 days to render. This is a rough estimate, not thinking about the use of the render farm. I will have to recalculate everything, using the intro bird scene as a sample, I can render this part out first, since it doesn’t need the character’s animation in it.

Noise Test

Before Noice applied.
After Noice used.

This noice test was at 3 AA samples which is amazing. The render time in render sequencer was 3.26 minutes. This is very manageable. I hope this number does not fluctuate with the extra things I will add onto the base environment, such as the character and camera depth of field.

Upon further discussion with technical support and research, I have decided not to use noice in Maya. It may cause more problems and extra time input into it then I originally thought. Not many Adobe software’s can use EXR images, and I will have to find a way to convert the images before they are usable in my chosen editing software (Premiere). This will simply add unnecessary time onto my workload for a process that may not even work.

Just to clarify, Premiere could not use EXR files. Photoshop could. After Effects was the most recommended, however, I am having trouble accessing it on school computers. To save myself the trouble of uncertainties such as this, it would be best to simply use the render farm with the AA camera samples at 6 (based on my test renders).

Light Render 18

I realised that two light samples were at 52 (a mistake that drastically increased render time).

AA cam samples: 3, 540p. Render time: 09:37. Should be minimised to the optimum once used denoising. But this is still quite a long time to render with these minimal settings.


Further Lighting Research

The lighting setup guides the eye to a specific actor, prop, or part of a scene. Lighting reflects the psychology of characters. The amount, size, color, and harshness of light surrounding a character can be adjusted to match their emotions. Lighting defines and supports the genre of the film.

Film 101: Understanding Film Lighting – 2022 – MasterClass

Why Lighting Is Important

Lighting is a fundamental to film because it creates a visual mood, atmosphere, and sense of meaning for the audience. Whether it’s dressing a film set or blocking actors, every step of the cinematic process affects the lighting setup, and vice-versa.

  • Lighting tells the audience where to look. The lighting setup guides the eye to a specific actor, prop, or part of a scene.
  • Lighting reflects the psychology of characters. The amount, size, color, and harshness of light surrounding a character can be adjusted to match their emotions.
  • Lighting defines and supports the genre of the film. Lighting is the tool that conveys mood most clearly. For example, one of the film genres most known for its distinct lighting style is film noir, characterized by stark contrasts between light and dark, dramatically patterned shadows, and unique framing and composition choices.

What Is Cinematic Lighting?

Cinematic lighting is a film lighting technique that goes beyond the standard three-point lighting setup to add drama, depth, and atmosphere to the story. Cinematic lighting utilizes lighting tricks like bouncing light, diffusing light, and adjusting color temperatures.

 Moving Image Theory – Google Books >> p.g 152

“Lighting is one of the most powerful means of creating effect in film.Different cinematographers have commented on their experiments with different tpyes of lighting e.g. Mankiewitz 1986, Schaefer and Salvato 1984, Bordwell and Thompson  1990, Monaco 1977.

Film Lighting and Mood

The theory of lighting is a basic one, linked to numerous different situations, and the experience might not be derived from a small set of principles with unambiguous effects. Describing the physical or technical layout of a given type of lighting is fairly easy; it is often possible to get descriptions from some of the people arranging the lighting. The problem of the intended effects is a much thornier one. To describe the cognitive effects of lighting – for instance, the way in which given light enhances or impedes object recognition and object salience – in itself poses a series of problems for description. Mostly, however, the description of the effects of lighting is aimed at a larger endeavour, namely, to describe the way in which lighting aspectualises the emotional experience of a given scene, resulting in sad, scary, or euphoric experiences. Although such moods may be analysed in connection with an overall analysis of a given scene, it still raises the problem of how lighting contributes to mood. When cinematographers want to describe the effects of different types of lighting, they mostly use metaphors. Some of those are tactile (soft versus hard light, warm verses cold colours), others are muscular-kinetic: a given type of light provides a punch or a kick to the image. Such descriptions may not be just metaphoric in a vague sense but indications of ways that the viewer relates to given visual phenomena. To say hat the light is soft, and this also the objects illuminated with the soft light, may simply indicate the experience that the possible contact with the objects is evaluated as soft. To say that an image has got a punch may mean that the viewr has some low-level experiences of some qualities in the image that are dynamic and possibly suggest a “hard” interaction.

The Hardwired Expressiveness of Underlighting

In the article “The psychological foundations of culture” (Tooby & Cosmides 1992), John Tooby and Lesa Cosmides have shown how the social sciences for the last eighty years have been dominated by a culturalist paradigm. The dominant idea in this paradigm is that all human behaviour is a product of culture, that innate specifications and constraints have no part in the creation of human behaviour. Tooby and Cosmides provide a powerful criticism of the culturalist paradigm and show how cultural development takes place on the basis of a biological design that supports and enables but also puts some constraints on the cultural development.

Character Lighting Rig – Rembrandt lighting

I have applied the concept of Rembrandt lighting on the character. A rig that is follows the character around using constrain parent in order to provide the characters face with lighting all the time. Strong enough just so that the character can be seen when there isn’t enough lighting in that area.

The rig consists of the traditional three-point lighting, including a fill, key and back light. I attempted to add Rembrandt style lighting onto the character, although, this is mostly cancelled out by the other environment lighting.

Rembrandt lighting is based on three-point lighting, although it includes a having the iconic triangle of light on the subject’s cheek, on the low-lit side of the face.

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