3D Lighting Concepts

This is not a topic that I have talked about for a long time. But it is one that I have been interested in for 20 years or more. I love technology and a large spectrum of usage and software. What can I say, it’s what makes me what I am.

I use Poser a lot. I guess you know that by now. I have left it alone for 5 years. Asleep for a bit I guess. I have a CSN song about that I will reference. Graham Nash. Let’s stay on topic for a minute.

Poser does a funny thing with lighting, it randomly, as far as I can tell, I don’t know the algorithm, sets up lights, their position, type and color. Sometime it works, most of the time it is…muddy.

I wanted to know how to fix this. I started a little research. I used to go to Barnes and Noble twice a week to computer section and see what was happening. I found a book by Jeremy Brin.

I learned more about lighting and rendering reading this book that you can imagine. It is a classic. It changed my poser work significantly. I created a series of tutorials about lighting in 2000 that are now lost but were kind of frenetic but good. Curious Labs, now efrointer was so interested in my tutorials that they sent me several free copies of poser, included me in their beta and bought four computers for a school that Judith and I were supporting. I didn’t get any money but I thought this was generous.

Anyway, since I have been playing with Poser again, now version 6, which is incredible, I wanted to review the lighting precepts I learned. I left the book in Utah when I moved to Arizona, like so many other things. So I went to Amazon and discovered that Jeremy has written the second edition of Lighting and Rendering. Money was tight, but I bought it anyway. Scarcity sucks. Abundance rules. 

This book is awesome. Even better than the first edition. This guy knows his stuff and has tested and practiced endlessly. He give you exercises at the end of every chapter.

I finally come to my point. That is the “function of lights.” Lights make your 3d scene. everything else is great but the lighting is so much the finishing touch.

In this section we will look at several functions of lights used on characters, and how to set them up in computer graphics:

  • Key
  • Fill
  • Bounce
  • Rim
  • Kicker
  • Specular

I know I have some graphics I did that illustrates the power of lighting just a sec, let me look. This is where Picassa rules.

It took only a few seconds to see that I don’t the photos anymore. In Utah again eh! To quote my Canadian friends.

I am playing with it again so I will show you when I am done. Oooh. I just had a thought. Maybe I still have some of the tutorials. I will look and see.

I guess I am done for now.

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