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Working with Ambient and Radiosity lighting

From: Blender 2.48 Essential Training

Video: Working with Ambient and Radiosity lighting

So now that we've covered the basic kinds of lamps that add light to a scene, I would like to cover what's called ambient occlusion or ambient lighting and radiosity or other people call that global illumination. There's lots of different terms that are thrown about, and I can just present you the way Blender approaches the problem of lighting. So in this first scene, which is called 0 point, when you press F12 you get a very quick render of a sphere sitting on a little pedestal.

Working with Ambient and Radiosity lighting

So now that we've covered the basic kinds of lamps that add light to a scene, I would like to cover what's called ambient occlusion or ambient lighting and radiosity or other people call that global illumination. There's lots of different terms that are thrown about, and I can just present you the way Blender approaches the problem of lighting. So in this first scene, which is called 0 point, when you press F12 you get a very quick render of a sphere sitting on a little pedestal.

However, you'll notice there are no lights in the scene at all. So where is this light coming from and why is it so flat? That's called ambient light. Ambient light is set up in your Shading World, World panel down here under ambient light, and here's where you set the color and the brightness of the ambient light. Ambient light is light that is in a room. Imagine if you are in a room and the sun is shining outside and there aren't any lights on inside the house.

Inside the room there's still lights that is coming through the windows and it's filtered in and it's bouncing all around and that's called ambient light. We can simulate the different colors and intensities of ambient light by setting these values in these red, green and blue sliders here. Each material in Blender then is affected by that ambient light to the degree, which is specified here in the Shading Material Shaders panel down here under this Ambient Light slider, and this surface is affected by combining the base material plus all the other lights that are shining on it and half of the ambient light which as you saw was white, so half of white is gray.

So that's why this is a gray color. Now if we were filming let's say our CG scene in a volcano or underground and we use more of a red color then you can see that this globe in addition to the lighting that's in the scene, this globe would be affected and be colored red because there's a red color that's in that scene. Now I'm using the Render window here, because the Render window is kind of neat in that if you press J, you go back to the previous render.

So you can jump back and forth between renders just by pressing J in this key. So as you work through this exercise with me, go ahead and be pressing this J back and forth and you can be comparing the different kinds of renders you can get. The next topic is called Ambient Occlusion. Ambient Occlusion happens when you have creases and corners in a room and the light cannot scatter and be reflected as much into a corner as much it is on the flat wall.

So you get this darkening kind of effect as you go into corners. Here we have a sphere that's in a little box, I just made a cute little set here, that is being lit only by ambient light or ambient occlusion. Other people call this a dirt shader because this sort of simulates the dirt that might accumulate in an old house. And here is a little set and this is a standard kind of lighting test set that we'll be using throughout this video and then in subsequent videos where we talk about lighting because it provides a very nice controlled lighting situation.

In this render, we have the different shades of gray computed based on the ambient light color, the degree to which each material is affected by the ambient light, and then what we have done is as we have added in the Ambient Occlusion, which is shown here on this Ambient Occlusion tab. Ambient Occlusion then takes all of that ambient flat lighting and subtracts or adds or both, as you can see here, the plain color of the ambient light based on the geometry and the creases of where the geometries intersect and either adds to lightens or darkens the area in order to compute the overall image.

So this is exactly what a severe setting on a pedestal in a very indirect lit room like in an art gallery or something like that where they don't have direct lighting. They use a lot of ambient light color. So Ambient Occlusion has a couple of settings I would like to go over. The first is the number of Samples. You can see a little bit of graininess as you zoom in here. You can see this grainy. This graininess gets better with the more Samples that you use. 32 Samples is the most and the degree to which the ambient lights falls off is computed here.

The most intensive way of computing ambient light is to use the Raytrace method. But Blender also has an Approximate Ambient Occlusion, which is much, much faster to use, especially on the lower powered computers. So you can use a higher number of passes and have a better correction with lower error if you use Approximate Ambient Occlusion. Normally, you use the ambient light color set here, but you can also use the SkyColor, which is this horizon light green with up to a darker blue, to be used so that it would almost look like this globe is sitting outside under a tree, let's say, under some very diffused lighting.

And you don't want to use Ambient Occlusion as the only lighting, but combined with all of the other lighting rigs and the other kinds of lights, it can provide very photorealistic lighting. The next kind of lighting is called Radiosity. Radiosity happens when light hits something like say a red chair or in this case, the pink base of the sphere. Some of the light that hits that sphere is radiated back out into the environment and then that light hits the object next to it and colors it next.

So if you take a bright red ball and you roll it up against a white wall, you will see that the wall turns a little red and that's called Radiosity. Radiosity is set here in this little Radiosity buttons and basically you select the meshes in the scene, collect them and then go. And what happens is Blender will go through and based on the patch size, compute how much each little section of the scene is affected by the color that would be radiated out from all the other mesh sections in the whole scene.

So it takes a long time to compute, but it gives a very accurate representation of not just the light hitting something, but the light then bouncing off and reflecting and coloring everything else in the scene. So I have already recollected the meshes and then this is the effect that would be added. Now again this is a very dramatic effect. I really cranked it up so you can visually see it. Usually you crank it way down and make it a very subtle addition to the light to give the realism.

When you combine these two for example, we have a combination of both Ambient Occlusion and Radiosity, and you can see how they kind of work together to provide a very realistic even amount of lighting even without any lights in the scene. This is actually with no actual light being shown on the objects, and again, the Radiosity is little strong than what I would recommend. But it gives you an idea of the kind of effect you can get using Ambient Occlusion and Radiosity.

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This video is part of

Image for Blender 2.48 Essential Training
Blender 2.48 Essential Training

131 video lessons · 25873 viewers

Roger Wickes

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 12m 5s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. Using Blender's full capabilities
      4m 16s
    4. Getting and installing Blender
      3m 8s
    5. Mouse and keyboard differences on the Mac
      2m 27s
  2. 1h 6m
    1. Blender oddities
      7m 38s
    2. Introducing the User Interface, Console, and Render windows
      3m 8s
    3. Configuring the desktop for an efficient workflow
      6m 27s
    4. Using the mouse and tablet on a PC or a Mac
      5m 7s
    5. Acquiring keyboard skills
      7m 38s
    6. Window panes and types
      7m 53s
    7. Exploring the default scene
      5m 53s
    8. Setting themes, UI colors, and user preferences
      4m 0s
    9. Understanding how to safeguard your data with autosave and backups
      6m 52s
    10. Appending and linking assets
      7m 27s
    11. Using the open-source movies and assets
      4m 18s
  3. 2h 7m
    1. Working with objects in 3D space
      6m 24s
    2. Navigating 3D views
      4m 23s
    3. Understanding Blender modes
      1m 51s
    4. Understanding meshes
      2m 8s
    5. Editing a mesh
      3m 28s
    6. Using the Mirror modifier
      2m 55s
    7. Working with Vertex groups
      2m 35s
    8. Using Bézier curves
      3m 52s
    9. Working with text objects
      5m 23s
    10. Using reference images
      3m 38s
    11. Modeling boots by extruding circles and joining meshes
      8m 59s
    12. Applying the Mirror modifier to duplicate the boot and rotate
      1m 58s
    13. Modeling a helmet with NURBS and the Boolean modifier
      7m 14s
    14. Modeling a belt and pants by making a compound object from multiple primitive objects
      3m 51s
    15. Modeling legs by using edge loops and the Knife tool
      6m 9s
    16. Modeling a chest and arms using edge loops
      5m 30s
    17. Stitching the shoulders and neck
      5m 13s
    18. Modeling hands with the Proportional Editing tool
      9m 4s
    19. Linking vertices to create knuckle joints
      4m 7s
    20. Reinforcing modeling basics to create the face, eyes, nose, and ears
      13m 6s
    21. Appending and linking assets
      3m 54s
    22. Sculpting basics
      3m 3s
    23. Using the Subsurf modifier to smooth
      2m 34s
    24. Parenting
      2m 7s
    25. Working with groups
      2m 1s
    26. Understanding the endless possibilities for editing mesh with modifiers
      2m 37s
    27. Duplicating objects using the Array modifier
      1m 54s
    28. Modeling a set
      7m 52s
  4. 39m 41s
    1. Lighting overview
      4m 25s
    2. Using the Omni lamp
      4m 50s
    3. Working with the Area lamp
      2m 57s
    4. Using the Spot lamp
      4m 9s
    5. Using the Sun, Sky, and Atmosphere lamps
      4m 51s
    6. Using the Hemisphere lamp
      2m 3s
    7. Working with Ambient and Radiosity lighting
      7m 34s
    8. Lighting with three-point and other multipoint lighting rigs
      5m 30s
    9. Understanding shadows
      3m 22s
  5. 1h 21m
    1. Realism overview
      2m 56s
    2. Creating a world in less than seven days
      6m 36s
    3. Applying ambient occlusion
      3m 47s
    4. Working with basic materials
      3m 24s
    5. Working with node materials
      4m 27s
    6. Applying Pipeline options
      2m 51s
    7. Painting vertices
      3m 13s
    8. Using shaders
      7m 59s
    9. Using mirrors
      4m 41s
    10. Working with transparency
      4m 28s
    11. Using halos
      2m 40s
    12. Simulating with Subsurface Scattering (SSS)
      4m 26s
    13. Applying textures
      9m 34s
    14. Mapping image textures to an object to create a decal
      4m 19s
    15. UV unwrapping
      4m 54s
    16. Applying multiple materials to a single object
      3m 31s
    17. Painting in 3D
      4m 14s
    18. Using bump maps
      3m 14s
  6. 1h 25m
    1. Understanding animation
      4m 14s
    2. Keyframing objects
      6m 15s
    3. Keyframing materials
      3m 14s
    4. Creating Shape keys
      2m 28s
    5. Creating Facial Shape key animation using reference video
      2m 12s
    6. Animating by combining Shape keys
      2m 53s
    7. Working with lattices
      3m 37s
    8. Using hooks
      1m 30s
    9. Working with Vertex groups
      2m 33s
    10. Creating armature objects
      3m 44s
    11. Mirroring armatures for bilateral creatures
      3m 43s
    12. Attaching mesh to the armature by way of skinning
      5m 7s
    13. Posing a character
      4m 43s
    14. Using inverse kinematics
      4m 29s
    15. Creating a walk cycle with inverse kinematics
      6m 34s
    16. Completing the walk cycle
      3m 49s
    17. Limiting range of motion and degrees of freedom
      3m 47s
    18. Managing actions using the Action Editor
      3m 52s
    19. Blending actions together using the Non-Linear Animation Editor
      4m 34s
    20. Tracking
      3m 2s
    21. Following a path
      2m 21s
    22. Mimicking an existing animation
      3m 47s
    23. Using the grease pencil
      2m 56s
  7. 50m 43s
    1. Understanding particle systems
      2m 20s
    2. Working with game engine physics
      3m 52s
    3. Spewing particles
      7m 25s
    4. Guiding particles
      3m 43s
    5. Creating reactions and collisions with particle systems
      3m 15s
    6. Creating hair and fur
      4m 25s
    7. Grooming hair and fur
      3m 26s
    8. Jiggling and squishing soft bodies
      3m 43s
    9. Simulating cloth
      6m 10s
    10. Simulating fluids
      5m 47s
    11. Using boids to simulate swarms, schools, and flocks
      6m 37s
  8. 21m 29s
    1. Using Render controls
      6m 18s
    2. Radiosity
      3m 31s
    3. Stamping text on video
      2m 32s
    4. Setting up test renders
      4m 43s
    5. Rendering image sequences
      4m 25s
  9. 1h 5m
    1. Viewing node thumbnail images on certain Macs
      1m 31s
    2. Overview and integration
      2m 12s
    3. Render passes and layers
      4m 27s
    4. Using Input nodes
      6m 22s
    5. Using Output nodes
      3m 54s
    6. Working with Color nodes
      4m 29s
    7. Color mixing and layering
      3m 27s
    8. Using Distort nodes individually and in combination
      7m 15s
    9. Using Vector nodes
      6m 46s
    10. Creating effects with Filter nodes
      8m 49s
    11. Using Converter nodes
      6m 7s
    12. Chroma keying with Matte nodes
      6m 15s
    13. Understanding node groups and reuse
      4m 17s
  10. 38m 43s
    1. The Video Sequence Editor (VSE)
      11m 47s
    2. Integrating audio
      3m 31s
    3. Using VSE Greenscreen and other plug-ins
      5m 40s
    4. Integrating the Compositor with the VSE
      7m 50s
    5. Layering and splicing video
      6m 18s
    6. Speeding up and slowing down sequences
      3m 37s
  11. 5m 26s
    1. Putting it all together: Captain Knowledge visits lynda.com
      5m 12s
    2. Goodbye

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