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Want to learn how to create the same effect with Maya? Check out Creating Product Shots in Maya.
- Importing solid models as 3ds Max body objects
- Working with the scene layout, hierarchy, and display layers
- Building Arch & Design materials
- Creating area and photometric lights
- Setting exposure control
- Optimizing indirect illumination with Final Gather
- Image-based lighting with high dynamic range files
- Lighting with self-illuminated geometry
- Rendering to high dynamic range
- Saving render passes with Render Elements
- Adding ambient occlusion
- Layering and color correction in After Effects
Skill Level Intermediate
To present our product in its best light, let's create some rim lighting, or lighting that's going to accentuate the edges of the object. And the best choice for this is a photometric spotlight. We'll want to go to our Create Panel, and choose Lights, and then in the pull-down list go back to Photometric. And this is once again going to be a target light, click on that, and you get the dialogue that says you're creating a photometric light. It's recommended that you use the mental ray photographic exposure control.
Well, a photometric light is one that's based upon real physical values. And when we're using a photometric light, we're pretty much required to enable some form of exposure control. Because the levels of a photometric light are much, much stronger than those of a standard light, and that means that we need to have an exposure control module enabled, to bring that lighting into a range, that will look good in a rendering. So we always want to choose Yes, when we get this dialogue.
Okay, now let's create our target's photometric spotlight. Once again click sort of off to the right and above the watch, in the top viewport. Click and hold, and then drag and release, and that creates the light, and then, right-click to exit creation mode. I want to go into the Modify panel. And up near the top, we will see Light Distribution type. And the option that we want to choose here is, spotlight. And now we have a cone in the viewport.
And let's go into the spotlight parameters and adjust those. Scrolling up, and you want to find under Distribution Spotlight, we're just going to change the angles of the hotspot and the falloff. The hotspot is this inner cone. I'm going to set that to 43 degrees. And the falloff is the outer cone. In which the intensity will diminish, from full intensity at the edge of the hotspot. And it'll fall off to zero, by the time it reaches the falloff radius. I', going to set that to 45.
We're never going to see that edge. I'm just setting these so that the values are going to be similar to those of the lights that we have here. These area lights. All right, so I've set the hotspot in falloff, and then we've also got the intensity, and this is very important. We want to set this to an intensity that's going to work well in this particular situation, and the default here is in candelas, but most of us are going to be more familiar with lumens. So I'm going to choose lumens, and we've got 500 lumens.
So that's 500 lumens within the radius of the falloff cone. Not 360 degrees around in all directions. So, in fact, it's going to be very, very bright to be at 500 lumens. I'm going to knock that down to only 150 lumens, but that's still going to be pretty bright. Let's do another test render. Select the Camera view. Click Major Production. And, what we see here is that, that light is actually extremely intense right now, compared to the light coming from our key light or the area lights.
But we are getting some rim lighting here, which is good. But, in the next movie, we're going to adjust these values so that, the exposure looks good. All right, so I'm going to adjust a couple more things, I'm going to scroll down, and emit light from shape is already set to disk. I'm going to set the radius to 20 centimeters, just like in the other lights. Now, this parameter does not actually give us soft illumination. It's merely setting the softness of the shadows and, the reason that I'm using a photometric light instead of another MR area spotlight here, is because the area spotlights are going to be very slow to render, and it's just really not necessary for these rim lights, to use an area light, a point light is fine.
And it's going to render more quickly. So that's what I've got here. It's a point light source, but it's casting soft shadows, as if the light had a radius of 20 centimeters. Okay, and I'm going to move it down a little bit, and maybe backwards, it doesn't need to be quite so close. All right, so that's one of our backlights. And we want another one as well, so I'll hold down Shift and drag to create a duplicate. And once again it's a copy. And this one I'm going to move up, to be a little bit more of a top light source.
And we'll test render that once again. What we expect to see is, rim lighting on the top as well. And as you can see, there it is. We're getting a very strong highlight there. Okay. Now we've created all of our lights. And now we need to adjust the exposure in the following movie.
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