How to light this?

I made this typographic animation and want to give it bright, warm lighting. I’m open to some other suggestions though too. Originally I wanted to go for an afternoon lighting look but I’m having some trouble.

This is sort of the lighting I thought I could achieve:

and here’s the animation:

Basically I want everything to have a clean white look but I want to get some good contrast against a white background.

What can I do with this?

I found this image on web. It looks good.

Make your plates some depth, texture, reflective, and specular. Have some dark background all around away from view so that you get some dark reflections. Background in view needs to be white. Have large defused lighting.

White on white is always a bit hard to light well, so I suggest you depend heavily on shadows to help define your planes and the BG. For afternoon lighting I’d start using a Sun lamp with well-softened shadows. These will spread out some and make your whites less white, good for contrast. For the BG, use a plane that curves from vertical at the farthest BG to horizontal in the mid- and foreground, like a photographer’s seamless backdrop. This will catch the shadows from the planes and also help define the space and add contrast.

Another way to add contrast is with color (hue actually) – rather than white, use eggshell white, with a little yellow in the spectrum (the SYFY logo does this). Then define your shadows as being slightly bluish. This will help separate the plane surfaces from the shadowed BG and add some subtle color contrasts as well. The BG “white” could be slightly darker and more saturated than the white of the planes. If done carefully, the viewer will interpret everything as “shades of white.”

This is a little cube I lit in the way I think you’re speaking about in your second paragraph, Chip.

I tried to light the planes like this but one problem I ran in to was that the light sort of dulled out because the planes are on such varying depths. The planes in front were a bright white, but faded to an almost golden, dark yellow (ugly) for the planes further away. This could be because my lamps were too close to the front planes and I need to move them way back and increase the depth. This might give me less of a color transition and give a smoother look.

The other problem I run in to is that because the camera moves from one side to the other, the lighting has to change if I want to maintain the same colors. I suppose I can just animate the lamps to rotate with the camera.

This also poses a problem for the background. Maybe rather than a seamless backdrop I can make a sort of bowl that the scene takes place in. I tried putting the whole thing inside a sphere, but it didn’t look quite right.


Here’s what I’d do… if you’re gonna do “planes shifting,” choose either “planes” or “shifting” but only do it once. (It’s cool the first time, and tedious the second. Go figure.)

For lighting the main logo, I’d make the “imagine greater” letters so that they do not cast shadows. (They can be rounded and have specular highlights if you wish, but the shadows get in the way.) Next, I’d omit the shining reflections at two o’clock … they seem quite improbable to me and in any case they don’t do much. Finally, I’d render the shadows into a separate layer so that I could adjust their intensity and their color at-will in post.

(As of late, I’ve grown rather fond of a strategy I call “Truth, and Consequences.” Referring to an old TV show. The “Truth” is what the items are … how they reflect light, their color and so on. The “Consequences” are what they do to the environment … to other objects … as a “consequence” of their being there. These “consequences,” of course, are the real keys to “realistic,” and they’re also the ornery bugaboo. Therefore, I like to capture each “consequence” in a separate layer of information and then “mix and match” the whole scene together in compositing.

Thanks, but I was wondering about how to light the animation. You critiqued a network television stations current logo. Perhaps they would like to hear that :smiley: I was simply referencing a style.

google images search

I actually remade that logo with low angle light and and few emit surfaces for the glowing parts so it would render a bit better in BI and Yafaray. Had to since the light intensity coming from the reflection surface is greater than the incident light.

To help even out some of the direct lighting issues, consider using Environmental Lighting with an off-white colored sky, plus fiddling with the Ambient setting of your Material(s). This can give an overall highly diffuse light to the scene, while allowing shadows as well (they just get paler).

For the lighting switch, keep in mind that Lamps can be layer-restricted, so you can light the backdrop separately from the other portions. Also, think about a dual lighting setup (one for each “side” of the view) that is animated in Intensity to hand off from one view to the next. Not sure if any of this suits your particular vision, but maybe something to try.

For the cyclorama-backdrop, a flat-bottomed bowl shape should work OK, I did that with Kata and was able to get some interesting near and far light-pool effects.

Here’s what I came up with, I might like to try a little compositing, but I’ve never tried that.

I won’t necessarily call this finished, I think I can make it look better, please let me know what you think I can do to it still.

I dunno, maybe my monitor’s set too bright, but I see very little except some grey shapes floating about. The effect of forming words seems totally lost.

Well, it’s probably a little of both, there isn’t a ton of contrast. I was still kinda trying to keep a bright white on white. I could try giving it some color, but I still would like to see the bright white on white work well.

It’s definitely over-exposed right now. I’m not sure if you’re into compositing yet. (It’d be a great big help to you if you are…) But even so, I’d suggest approaching the problem in this general way…

Start with general, boring, flat light from an area source. A light doesn’t have to fall-off with distance if you don’t want it to. Its color doesn’t have to change. This flat light does not need to cast shadows. Use layer-specific lights so that you only illuminate the flying pieces. A separate lighting covers the background. (If you’re comping this, the background is a single frame.) Tweak this until you’ve got a flat, boring, shadowless, but evenly exposed frame.

Now the edges. That’s specularity. That’s any effects which are dependent on the angle-difference between the camera and the plane being illuminated. Once again, if you’re comping, that’s a separate, specularity-only channel. Combine the two and now you’ve got edge definition that must not “blow out” those edges by being added to the flat light.

The last consideration, to be dealt with last, is shadows. Use a “shadow only” light here. This is a channel that subtracts light, and perhaps that also in some way attenuates or modifies the color or other qualities of the light. When setting this up you see colorless (blue) things flying around on a stage and the only thing you’re looking at is how the shadows are cast. Treat any shadows that the objects cast on one another separately from shadows which they cast upon the backdrop.

The reasoning for my suggestion of “use comping” is clear. For example, if you did want the lighting (or the color saturation or what-have-you) to change with distance, for some particular characteristic or another of the picture, by far the easiest way to describe that to the computer is with nodes.

(note: I don’t mean my tone of voice, etc. to sound in any way condescending, etc. “What the hell do I know, anyway?” …) Just, “HTH.”

Well it seems like I need to learn a little compositing. Should I try to start using the frames I already have or should I do a new render? (Once I like everything I’ll render it in a higher quality anyways)

Here’s how the scene is currently lit:

The two area lamps on either side of the planes rotate with the camera throughout the animation. In the viewport you’re looking at the camera while it’s lined up with the word PLANES. The sun lamp lights the bowl backdrop only, the area lamps light both layers.


Regardless of how you accomplish the rendering, one thing I think you should consider is using more cast shadowing. The Syfy example shown is highly dependent on the cast directional shadows for its visual effect, and you can use a similar approach to clarify your beginning and end-effect shapes, the words. The objects you use to cast the “word” shadows need not be visible, and their shadows can “fade” in for the effect as the words form up. Since you can animate many of the Lamp parameters, you need not restrict the shadowing to one “look” – for example, you can animate an Area Lamp’s size and sampling to vary the visual “softness” off the resulting shadows.

I forgot to upload this earlier. I am still adjusting to Blender 2.5x and there were some issues you know.

Anyway Blender internal render have no radiosity. Light don’t bounce back to light up the surroundings. Much of high key effect from “Syfy” logo, that you showed, is coming from bounced lighting at the top left. You can’t get that. Next best thing is to make the object reflect the surroundings as I did here. Not that there is no bounced light from cubes at the end: