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When working with V-Ray there are lots of ways that we can approach our lighting and rendering setups. If we want to create or even recreate what could be defined as photographic realism in our lighting and rendering setups, if, for instance, we are in the visualization field, then there is a V- Ray workflow and toolset that we will most likely want to master. This can rightly be called the Physical Workflow of photographic approach to rendering. Here we use real world size and scale, real world lighting units and the laws of physics, and also the physical or actual behavior of real world photographic equipment.
If you are a photographer, then this Physical Workflow approach may be familiar to you, as it shares the same tools and terminology. For those who may not have any kind of photographic experience, maybe you're coming from a more traditional CG lighting workflow, that is the use of key, fill, bounce, and environment lights, well, not to worry, because although this approach initially may require a bit of time investment in terms of learning, it can quickly become a familiar and powerful way of creating natural lighting, and of course adding photographic realism to our renders.
To make this approach work smoothly and predictably there are a couple of general rules or guidelines that we do well to apply to our lighting and rendering setups in order to ensure consistency. The first of which is always, always, always work to real world scale. If we want light to behave in a physically accurate way in our scenes, then making sure that all scene geometry is built to real world scale, well, that really is imperative. In fact, this is an approach to scene setup that I would recommend at all times, not just when using this Physical Workflow approach.
Another important requirement is to only use lights that are set to work in a physically accurate way in terms of light emission, the light energy that is emitted from them, and light falloff. With V-Ray light types this means making certain that we don't enable the No Decay option. We need to leave that unchecked. It is also helpful if we can learn to work with real world lighting units instead of just straight multiplier values. Working with these will mean that we are able to correlate or make connections between our virtual and our real world light sources.
In the remainder of this chapter we will use our purpose built day-light exterior scene to demonstrate and work with the physical lighting and rendering tools offered by V-Ray. We can make a start by looking at using the V-RaySun and Sky.
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