First Project Ever -- Fireplace Lighting Question


This is my first post and first project ever using Blender. I’ve played around with Blender a lot over the past couple months, and I’ve been working on a small scene. It’s not finished, but it’s going to be from the perspective of a man sitting at a table in an old rustic cabin, pre-gunpowder era. To light my scene, I was planning on implementing a fireplace (along with a couple table-top candles). The fireplace is what’s giving the lighting issue. The fireplace is going to be out of view, but I went ahead and modeled a simple fireplace box to provide realistic shadow casting. I’m currently using a point light inside the box with RGB values of (1.000,0.576,0.161) to simulate the omnidirectional incandescent lighting of fire. I’m using ray shadow with 64 samples to make the shadow cast as realistic as possible. The soft size was initially set to the default 1.000, but it was blocking out all light from the wall the fireplace is on. I bumped the soft size up to 8.000, and it’s casting more light on the originally dark wall, but there’s a stark transition between the two walls. Playing around with the settings doesn’t seem to change the shadow casting on the far wall no matter what. I was curious if any of you Blender veterans could help “bring light” to this situation :cool:. I’ve attached a view images to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I’ve also included a link to download my .blend file (I couldn’t attach it for some reason):!fx5FmIKA!EcgbXFYZb3InH1qeqHXEZVkGfKlStG4uRKrEO7lXTW0

This is the overall scene modeled out so far:

This is the textured workspace depicting the objects in question:

This is a full resolution render showing the lighting issue:

Note: I am open to any suggestions, criticism, anything. Like I said, I’m brand new to Blender, so anything I’ve done has been created out of experimentation and basic tutorials. Also note that I’m using Blender Internal right now just because I wanted to get familiar with how both internal and Cycles work separately.


Firstly - you’re modelling is top notch for a first project.

Secondly - why is none of your modelling IN the render? I mean - it’s hard to see the shadows when there’s nothing to cast shadows!

Personally I can’t really see what’s wrong with the lighting. I mean - there’s no floor, and that doesn’t help. If you’re rendering for animation I would use far less than 64 samples - try 8. And if you are animating the scene I’d have at least two lights in the fireplace moving and flickering randomly. I might also turn on Ambient Occlusion set to Multiply to add some darkness to the corners - adjust this in the world properties. And turn down the specular on the wood - wood is not that shiny.

But most importantly - move the furniture into the part of the scene you’re rendering.


Thanks for the compliment. I didn’t include the furniture in my original post’s images because I was trying not to clutter the area I was talking about, and it was bogging down my render time. I was trying to get my post up before I slept last night. The camera positioning was misleading. It has changed since the original post. It will be positioned at the head of the center table pointed toward the round table in the corner with the edge of the window on the back wall bordering the shot on the left. The issue I was primarily concerned with was the shadow not gradually transitioning from the corner of the walls, but ambient occlusion seems to have done the trick there. Thanks for the suggestion. As it stands, this is just going to be a still image. I may decide to animate it in the future, and I will note your suggestion about flickering the flames. I’ve also lowered the specularity of the wood, and I think it looks more realistic.

All in all, thanks for the suggestions! They’ve helped! Once this scene is finished in its entirety, which may be a while, I will post it up.

I presume your using the internal renderer of Blender.

The problem your having is that real lighting from a fireplace (exclusively) bounces around a lot to light the scene, but in your render, the lighting is having trouble appearing out at ~90* from the front of the fireplace.

Using a render engine like Cycles will allow the light to be correctly bounced around the scene, and will look a fair bit closer to reality, however you needs floors/walls for this to occur. This kind of lighting often takes longer to render an image as well.

WIth your image, you are going to have to fake the lighting, basically have the light coming from the fire place (as intented) but you will also need a low level large ambient light over the whole scene, that will both speed up the render time, and overcome the shortcomings of Blender Internal.

Here is a set of basic renders I created to help ‘envision’ your problem? I used Indirect Lighting in the render settings (at highest quality) and made the fireplace an image with emission.

I’ve included the .blend file as an example, I hope there is something useful you can look at as a comparison to help you :slight_smile:

fireplacetest.blend (610 KB)

Thank you for your insight and work file, zeealpal! Helps tremendously!