Space Scene Lighting
By Reaperman
Published: 11/8/12

 Space Scene Lighting
by Repaerman 


How tis Done....The Space Scene

Or How to turn this

into this

Now, I dunno about you, but I often get a lot of stick from certain people because I don't make my own models, now Lightwave is advertised as 2 programs in 1, Layout and Modeler, I happen to be good in 1, and not in the other, so I have to rely on other people for models to render, however it goes both ways, a lot of people who make good models cant render except to load the model and hit 'F9', whatever the case there's nothing wrong with putting energy into 1, but you should still try both 9and I do dabble in modeler from time to time...shortly before threatening to throw my PC across the room) another problem is Sci-fi seems to be both a blessing and a curse in CGI, most people do a sci-fi pic at some point, however if it's from Trek you will get some people putting you down for being un-original, well screw em, let's make some magic eh?

Now I personally render to a theme, usually what mood I'm in or what music I'm listening to, this is, IMO, an important part of my art, so if u want to know what i was listening to when i rendered this, click here

Now we've opened LW, DL 'd Dennis baileys wonderful Enterprise Refit (where's the reliant dammit Dennis!) opened a basic star field and hit F9, we got

Didn't we? yuck!

Ok, lets look at what's wrong with it first. Its over-lit.....WAY over lit. Dennis' model comes with a basic lighting set-up (outside the running light), but for the purposes of this tutorial lets remove them, so with a light selected hit 'p' to bring up this panel

So select 'Light 1', from the pull down menu and clear it from the scene, repeat for 'Light 2' and 'Light 3' Now there's something else wrong with it, if you chose 'Load item from scene' the GLobal illumination is going to be set to about 25, to bright for space hit the global illumination tab (didn't see that coming did ya) and set global illumination to 0

(you can play around with this later, but for this pic, were setting it to zero mmkay)

We now have this

Ok, we've gone from 1 extreme, to bright, to the other, no light heh, but before we get to work on the lights, left get the positioning right, cos c'mon, we can do better than that now the key to good composition is it must look different, people have been rendering the Enterprise since Lightwave came out, so while that's a pose that might have worked a few years go, its been done so to speak, its boring there's no "eye candy"

First thing to do is lose the star field, cos it sucks, second thing to do is open the camera

Now by setting the camera to do a wide screen shot, you have already made the image more interesting, I use a 2:1 ratio, and while were experimenting set the multiplier to 50% and turn off any AA for the time being and lastly, turn on ray-trace shadows, from the render options and make sure image viewer is turned on.

Now we need to position the ole Enterprise, this is really a case of just rotating it till u find something you like, and remember, the camera isn't static, you can move and rotate that as well, as you can see here

Now we have this

So now we come to the lighting, and i assure you this is the hardest part, any model can be made to look good with the right lighting, the trick is t show off the good bits and hide the not-so good bits, to convey a sense of mood in the image, blues and whites are cold color, oranges and reds are warm, so use them to that affect, also observe what's going on in the image, if you have a orange star, then the pre-dominant colour should be orange, if you have a B5 Jump-point, you need a blue affecting the ship, and so-on so-forth, I'm gonna have a orange star in this pic so we need some orange lighting, like so

Ok, we got our orange light, but its still very very dark, rather than ramping up the intensity, we'll add another light affecting the ship

Ok, now we got an orange key and blue filler, but its still to dark, and not really working for me, lets add another filler light, something purple perhaps..

I really like what we've got going on with the nacelle here, still dark, but we can tweak that in a bit, lets add our sun first

Ok, now were cooking with napalm

Lets add another light only affecting the spec and viola

Now that's pretty sweet

If u wanna see where I've positioned the lights click this

I think we're pretty much all set, load up a nebula and star-field, I'm gonna use a stock on with the B5 nebula, set the camera AA to enhanced low and the multiplier to 100% and hit that thar F9 key and there we have it.