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Author Topic: Specializing in lighting
IE # 210
Member # 470

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For a few years now I have been interested in delving into the field of CG lighting. I just love being able to set the whole mood for a scene and I think lighting is an art by itself. I have a decent knowledge of Maya, and I've purchased a couple good books on lighting techniques which I've been studying (Essential CG Lighting Techniques being one of them) as well as studying lighting for film etc. What I want to know is, what's the best way to go about building a portfolio and/or demo of my work? I don't really feel like going through the process of modelling a big scene just so I can light it, as I don't want to be a modeller. I also doubt that I will find nice sets that I can just freely get my hands on to apply some lighting. I've heard that just using primitives in a simple setup will work fine. Is this true? I just want to make sure that I'm heading in the right direction. any infor on lighting or links to good sites would help as well [Smile]

Thanks all!

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- Thomas Dewar

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Member # 3102

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Check out for some free models and ask people you know if they have some free models to light and then show different moods in each shot, I guess simple geometry would work also but you want at least one or two more detailed shots to show off your lighting skills. I do 3d animation and such but lighting I have never delved into but from working at studios I have heard this is the way to show off your lighting skills. Hopefully someone who lights will chime in here, the most lighting I have ever done is Global GI.


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Michael W Howe
IE # 251
Member # 1827

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I heard in one article that a number of studios were having a hard time finding people to set lighting for films. However, this was a couple years ago, and I don't know if some studios are pushing ahead with computers that can more accurately compute accurate lighting.

"He's got three Piston Cups!"
"He did WHAT in his cup!??"

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Allen K.
IE # 144
Member # 2934

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I'm working on some new animation for my demo reel, you're free to light that if you'd like. Simple geometry, simple models, but if you can't find anything else, let me know.


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IE # 234
Member # 801

Icon 1 posted      Profile for tstevens   Author's Homepage   Email tstevens         Edit/Delete Post 
Most of the 3D guys I've worked with seem to be inhibited with lighting because they don;t understand lighting techniques. While it's not exactly real-world I think it makes great sense for 3D guys to understand lighting in reality as well as having had real photographic experience. Seems like most of the 3D guys don't understand basic concepts like depth of field, focal length, etc... It's essentially like being a DP in the ditial realm.

THey all know how to make the camera fly around but so few of them have real world experience (either on set or in a photo studio) that they need a ton of direction.


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IE # 66
Member # 85

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I can tell you based on personal experience that lighting can be an interesting area as a career path. I have worked as a traditional artist, CG Fx artist and just recently started my fist gig as a lighter and enjoy it a good deal. For me, lighting more directly plugs into my knowledge and experience in the traditional arts (ie, dealing with values and color composition). If you have the eye and some photography know-how, that may also help. Though you spend most of the time cheating the lighting anyways. Anything to get the shot to look right.

That said, lighting can also be quiet involved technically (depending on the studio pipeline). You may need to know about compositing and some scripting-- so computer experience is a definite must. Where I work, for example, there is a good amount of tweaking of scripts and knowing about such things as "deep shadow maps", "fur sims", "Z buffers", etc. So it really is much more than moving lights around a scene. Nevertheless, there seems to be a steady amount of work for lighters in various shops (more so than FX work). The more knowledge you have in various fields, the better off you are anyways.

My two cents.

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