Join David Andrade for an in-depth discussion in this video Effectively light the animation, part of Creating a Finished Character Animation in Blender.
- Lights can completely change the mood and feel of our animation. Here, we will explore how lighting can help our scene with Arthur. Now the first thing I want you to do is to zoom out a little bit, and click out in random space and hit Shift A, go to Lamp, and go to Area. I'm going to move this up a little bit. Now, Area lights are some of the most optimized lights for Cycles Rendering. I'm going to point this right here, and I'm going to make the size a little bit bigger.
Now I recommend you change the size in the actual Light settings. Don't scale it because sometimes that will mess with Blender. Now to see what this looks like, let's click this little white button and go to Rendered. As you can see right away, we have a nice, big white light in the scene, and some really nice soft shadows. The smaller the size an Area light is, the harder the shadows. I want to make this pretty soft, so I'm going to go with a three, and maybe kick up the Samples a little bit.
Now here's the thing, just like before, if I turn up the Samples, the smoother the image, and the less noise, but the longer it'll take. But because this is such a soft light, I want to make sure I have at least a couple of Samples in there. Now I think this color's a bit too bland, so let's go with that nice green, boring office look. There we go. And let's kick up the strength a little bit. Let's go to 200. Yeah, now that's feeling like a boring office.
Maybe a little less saturation. Perfect. Now, I want to put a light behind Arthur, so I'm going to go here and go to Solid Mode. And I'm going to hit Shift A again and go to Point Light. Point Lights are also awesome in Blender and give you a lot of control and flexibility. Let's put this one right behind him. Okay, now let's go back to Rendered Mode, reposition our scene a little bit. And I'm going to make this one a little bit warmer.
Let's go with more of a yellow. Now same thing like before. I can kick up the strength, and in this case I'm going to go to 300, so I get a nice, bright yellow light behind him. Let's look through our camera view and see what that looks like. You can already see there's a nice little rim right around Arthur's hair, and on his back, and on his butt. If I turn this down to zero, that rim disappears, so let's leave it at 300. It is casting this nasty little shadow, though, that really stands out.
But that's okay, we can click this little button and get rid of shadows easily. Okay, now there's two more options I want to show you. First is the World tab with Ambient Occlusion. Now Ambient Occlusion lets you scatter light throughout the scene. It gives you a really great look. You have this little Factor slider that lets you scatter light a ton, and really make the whole scene brighter, or a little, and just make the scene just a little extra brighter. As you noticed, though, our little shadow came back, so let's make sure that that is turned off.
Okay, now the last thing I want to talk about are Fireflies. Once in a while, Blender will randomly paint a random white dot. That's because there's either not enough Samples, or the light is too hot. These are called Fireflies. Now, for this scene, I've set my Clamp Indirect to 0.2 to get rid of any random Fireflies, but if you do see them in future scenes, I recommend you play with this value and set it to either 0.2 or 0.3 to kill any of those random, hot white dots.
Alrighty, now you're prepared to begin Rendering. Lighting for animation is one of the funnest parts of character animation, but it can be the most technically challenging. Finding ways to mitigate things like Fireflies and long Render times is paramount.
- Listening to the dialog clip
- Sketching out the animation framework
- Learning how character and facial rig works
- Blocking key character poses
- Getting feedback
- Adjusting appendages
- Matching dialog to the animation
- Cleaning up frames with the Graph Editor
- Lighting and rendering the animation