Book recommendation: Light for Visual Artists by Richard Yot
Today I’m going to give a book recommendation for anyone who is into lighting being for fine arts, photography or CG. Light for Visual Artists by Richard Yot
Like 3 years ago when I was starting to get serious about becoming a CG Lighter I tried to find as many resources as I could through the internet. Books, blogs, anything really. There are a lot of resources but most of them seem to touch on lighting from a very fixed perspective: photography manuals, lighting for films and tv, or lighting for CG…
I remember I stumbled upon this artist’s website: Itchy Animation by Richard Yot. In his tutorial section he had created these great Chapters about lighting in general and for digital artists.
It was a really clear, straightforward and to the point resource, with simple schematics of all different types of light, shadows and such. And I read through all of it at the time. I even made it into a little document that I carried around for reference.
At that time he had a note saying that he would turn this into a book in the future and that it would be more complete and so-forth. I had it in my Amazon Wishlist for years and I never got around to getting it. So my surprise was today when I found it on my doorstep as a gift given to me because of the “Diada de Sant Jordi” (Gràcies Inés!)
What I think that makes this book a good companion for anyone who wants to learn more about lighting or just to brush up on some concepts is that it is very easy and well structured, and the whole content is original made by Richard Yot, which I think is amazing. All the little diagrams, renders and pictures are Richard’s and that gives it that special almost “handcrafted” feel to it.
Diagrams of different types and qualities of light.
Exercises for beginners with original diagrams and artwork.
So I would recommend going to his site and checking out the resource and if you like it and want a extended version just buy it. And if you want to check out his work on Behance: behance.net/richardyot
Well! That is all for now! I have a lot of things that I want to write about but only in time when I can talk a little more about them! (I can only say it involves a very important space ship … :D )
Real Time Ray Tracing is almost here…
So… lately there has been quite a buzz about GPU/CPU real time ray tracing and the possibilities this will open for games, but also for films and commercials as well as for animation.
Two of the main contenders are Octane from OTOY. An unbiased rendering application that is GPU driven and is proving to give very impressive results. It is both standalone and has versions for Maya and Max (these last ones support animation and thus, motion-blur).
(Click on the image to go to a fxguide post about Octane)
The other one starting to be well known is Isotropix Clarisse iFX that released a PLE beta for Windows and Linux and is planning to soon release a version for mac (at that point I’ll definitively give it a try). Clarisse is not only a render system but includes tools for scene set-up and asset management as well as a whole 32-bit compositing package.
(Click on the image to go to an old fxguide post about Clarisse)
Another to take a look at is TeamUp Technologies Inc. TeamUp A multiplatform collaboration tool that uses Cloud powered Multi-Optics® rendering technology that is also real-time. Here is a teaser I watched a while back.
And finally if you are new to real time ray-tracing and you want to get a quick look at what it could do for you check out this webgl page that allows you to play around with a real time path tracer. It’ll give you a feel for what it is to work with a real time ray tracer.
Personally I think this opens a whole new world of possibilities in terms of lighting and look-dev. Faster turnover means faster iterations which leaves more time for tweaking your lighting and rendering to take it to the next level. Can’t wait to get my hands on one of these renderers and play with it to see what I can come up with in a very short amount of time!
Macro: A Neon Christmas
After taking a break from everything these lasts weeks and moving to San Francisco, at least for the holidays I saw this video and I wanted to share because I’ve been leaving the blog a little a side :D
This is totally my kind of shots, I’m a sucker for the slow-motion-macro look and I always enjoy them. I’ve been always finding excuses why not to do one, but eventually I’ll get the right one to work on.
Also, who doesn’t enjoy a good behind the scenes and breakdown!
Cheers to Neon for rocking it with this little piece, you made my day :P
More @ nestorprado.com
HDRI Giveaway Day
Today I had some fun with my Nikon D7000 + Nikon 10.5 mm Fisheye Lens and the manfrotto QTVR with 360º Tactical VR.
After that I’ve spent the afternoon assembling these HDR panoramas and testing them out. So here are three interior HDR’s that I give to you if you want them :D
Interior 1: Montgomery Hall Classroom
Interior 2: Montgomery Hall: Byte Cafe
Interior 3: Montgomery Hall: Parking Lot.
It was nice to try it out and learn the best workflow for shooting with these elements and then being able to build the HDR spheric panoramas in a quick and efficient way.
Enjoy! And if you use them and want to photo-reply or send your results feel free to do so!
This is a little test with the environment 2 that I made this afternoon.
It’s nice to read something that gives you assurance on your beliefs, and when it comes to CG lighting… I couldn’t agree with this interview more…
I always try to stress this to people that I talk about this too and although it might seem obvious, people who are beginning to learn this art form aren’t fully aware of what they are really learning. It’s not about how this program works or what hacks I have to do to light an egg to match it to a live action one. It’s a lot more than that. And learning the tools that closely and more accurately mimic the behavior is a must, but in any case it is only the beginning….
Some quotes from the article that might make you interested in reading it:
[…] is there a difference between the way live-action DPs approach lighting and what we do in the computer?
(On the question: what do you look for in a lighter?)
For full CG, I’d look for good artistic sensibility along with the technical skills you look for in any lighter.
Pixar’s Jeremy Vickery told me that he’d like to get to the point where he could recruit people with a background in cinematography or illustration, not CG software.
I could not agree with this more:
Lighting workflow wants to mimic live-action cinematography more closely. Fewer CG cheats will be required, and you will want to constrain yourself to what’s possible on a real set. In other words, you won’t want to place your area light underneath the floor and turn shadows off: that sort of thing.
So it was refreshing to read this article and I hope you find it useful as well.
Little video explaining how basic re-lighting in NukeX can be achieved. This is a simple render made in a hurry in Mental Ray… Please disregard the poor shader work as it the default shader used to illustrate the concept.
How to get more out of Mental Ray
This post is a step by step on how to unlock the power of Mental Ray in Maya 2012.
This post shows how to set up a Unified Sampling workflow using Mental Ray and Maya 2012.
This is nothing new there is a lot of stuff around the web about it. I’m just trying to condense it as much as possible as I have been using this workflow for one of my projects and it has become THE workflow to use for any project I use Mental Ray.
For those of you who have heard about Unified Sampling you might think it’s kind of a mythical creature, something that parents tell their kids that they once saw. Well it’s is indeed real and it works like a charm! :D
I’m not going to go into any technical details on what it is or why it is beneficial to you. I will say that if you don’t know what a mia material is or you still use spotlights to light EVERY-SINGLE-THING in the world, even if your are trying to do some physically accurate lighting… then stay away from this.
The advantages it has when using mia materials with this workflow is that you do not have to worry any more about samples. Not even with lights…. In fact when you set up unified sampling the Anti-Aliasing controls from the render settings no longer work! So that means no more people setting up Fixed Sampling of min 4 and max 6 without knowing what they’re doing!!! Thank god for that…
Anyway let’s get to the chase. To unlock the power of unified sampling you should use this handy code:
(I think i got this code from here, although I’m not sure because I’ve read a million things about unified sampling in these last months…)
This will create a few String options in the Mental Ray defaults. Once you’ve done that make sure to change your primary renderer to Raytracing:
Here you can see the options (panel on the right). Basically using unified sampling is like turning a quality knob. The more you increase the samples quality number the less grain you’ll have but the more time it’ll take. (It’ll never take as much time as setting fixed sampling to ridiculous samples…). This approach to managing the quality of your renders this way is very similar to using Adaptice DMC in Vray, so those who are used to that, this should be fairly quickly to pick up.
And that is basically it! You have it set up! Go try it! It is truly awesome in my view and the results it has given me are amazing.
So how do I take Full advantage of this!?!?!
Well… in terms of shaders: USE MENTAL RAY MATERIALS!!!… Because they are easier to use, and now even easier because you don’t even have to worry about glossy samples! Leave them at 1 always! Unified sampling will take care of the rest.
In terms of lights? USE AREA LIGHTS! But not normal crappy expensive area lights… Cool ”more physically accurate” Mental Ray Area lights.
- Set up Decay to Quadratic
- Mental Ray shadows with everything to 1 (unified sampling will take care of it!)
- And Enable the Use Light Shape check box in the Mental Ray>Area Light tab.
And thaaaaat is how you do that! :D
Well I hope this helps… it definitely took some time to figure out the fool-proof approach for all of this but I hope this helps people get a little love back for mental ray if you have no other option left…
To read all about Unified Sampling check out http://elementalray.wordpress.com/ These guys are awesome and have a tone of stuff on this topic. That is why I’m not going to copy all of their info in this post! Go take a look at it!
Also I recommend creating a couple of buttons in your shelf for setting up this workflow easily. And use the command:
To acces the string options that will allow you to change the render parameters of unified sampling. Yes it will not appear in your render settings in maya 2012.
Layer Manager Gizmo in Nuke
This has been my first approach at building a gizmo inside of NukeX 6.3v8.
The idea behind this gizmo has to do with the experience gained coding my Light Contribution Manager Tool. Having different lighting passes you are able to control the final look of the lighting within Nuke without having to re-render anything. Changes like intensity (Exposure) of some light pass or color can be easily and non-destructively changed in post.
But having all the nodes for each light pass can rapidly clutter your node graph. This is where the “LayerManager” gizmo comes into place. Here is a quick view of what it does and how it can be used.
This is the basic properties view of the Layer Manager. Basically it groups the most important controls for handling the different light passes: Exposure and Color.
With these simple controls you can combine different lighting passes and have all the control you need right in one node, instead of fetching around for nodes when you only want to change a simple value.
Case study 1: Fast visual development
To give an example of why this could be useful let’s take a look at this “fictitious” scenario. Let’s say we are in a production and we are in the Concept/Visual Development stage. So the Concept artists come up with some visual scenarios and the Art Director and/or Director want to start seeing what some models will look like in these environment to see if they’ll work.
Using a stock model from Infinite Realities I created a simple 8 light rig in Maya and rendered each light separately making sure the SSS shader was set up correctly to prevent adding up the Sub-Surface incorrectly. Those renders where brought into Nuke and piped into the “Layer Manager”.
This is what the final node graph looked like.
I then proceeded to find 3 backgrounds and try to match the lighting of the model rendered using only the layer manager.
Here are three results created in a matter of minutes.
As we can see, even-though in no way perfect, these images suffice as a proof of concept to determine if the three environments will work for the Art Director or if they won’t.
Well, this is all for now! It is one of the many application this little gizmo can do and I will surely use it for some upcoming projects.