Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding environment-based lighting, part of Creating Product Shots in Blender.
We can now start the process of adding lights to the scene and getting ready for final render. We've got our cameras in place. So, let's go ahead and start with what's called environmental lighting. Now, I already have some lights in the scene. In fact, if you want, we can render this and we can see what we've got. But those lights were just temporary. Now, this is a kind of a nice render, but we can do even better than this. So, let's go ahead and take these lights, and I'm just going to go ahead and turn them off in the scene.
And we're going to start off with what's called environmental lighting. What we're going to do is actually map an image to the environment, and that will create a light source, which will create some nice highlights on our object. So, this is a JPEG version of the image we're using. Now, the image we're going to use is called an HDR image, and it has a 32-bit depth, so it's got a lot more dynamic range than a simple JPEG. And this will make for a very nice light source. Now, you can find HDR images online, or you can make them yourself, if you want to get a very specific environment. So, let's go ahead and add in this HDR image to our scene.
Now, we're going to do this through the World tab here, and we're going to create a surface for the world. We're going to use nodes and the surface is going to be a background node. Now for the color, we're going to use this HDR image. So, we're going to select color and we're going to create an Environment Texture. Now, notice how this immediately goes magenta here. And that's because we don't have any textures in there. But, we can certainly open up the texture and select Environment_Lights.hdr. Now, I also have the JPEG in there. Don't choose that. And let's open our image. And you can see that immediately, we get light from this image, and it's creating some very nice highlights here.
And we can dial this down or we can dial it up. So, we can have a nice balance here with the Strength slider. I'm going to put this 1.2 or so. And this will give some very nice lighting. Basically, an environmental light. Now if we want, we could also, while we're here, turn on Ambient Occlusion. But as you could see, as soon as we switch it on, it almost washes out the scene. So, we don't want too much bounce lighting in this. So, let's go ahead and turn this down. Maybe around 0.2 or 0.3.
Just a little bit. Just enough to soften the image. We want to have most of our lights coming from the environment, as well as additional lights that we're adding in. Now, this is actually a pretty good image, but we can certainly do better than this. We can add in some additional lights to create some more highlight, and make the image pop even more.
- Modeling to reference
- Setting up the Cycles renderer
- Projecting and unwrapping UVs
- Setting up the camera
- Adding lights
- Texturing product shots