Jazz club scene

I have been working on this scene for a while now over in the WIP forum and haven’t gotten much feedback so I thought I’d see if I could get some input from this thread. The scene is basically that of a small jazz club stage. I have a music stand mostly modeled that will be in the scene on the right hand side of the image once I finish it. I have played a lot with lighting and the halo effect to get a convincing neon light effect. I’d love to hear comments on the lighting/composition/etc.


You’ve got the trumpet smack dab in the middle of the image. Try moving it to one side or the other. The neon sign in the window is facing inward, so it would look backward for anyone coming to the club from the outside. I think it might look better if it were larger, crossing the whole window, and reversed. so it looked like an advertising sign for the club.

Have you played with nodes at all? They would probably be a better way to control the lighting and get a decent neon glow effect than using halos.

A trumpet case might be a nice addition if you wanted to do some more modeling.

The Scene itself is very bland. You probably want to have a couple of instruments besides the trumpet sitting on the stage with the camera zoomed out behind a decent number of tables. In other words, do what you can to make the composition more interesting.

Also, your lighting is extremely washed out. You definitely want to add more variety of light (blues, greens, reds). Add a bar. Do what you can. I see allot of potential and right now, it’s just the beginning.

Have you played with nodes at all? They would probably be a better way to control the lighting and get a decent neon glow effect than using halos.

Agreed, you need to also take a look into nodes.


You either need more stuff (ie. people) or less light. I can’t imagine an open jazz club that isn’t in some way crowded…

Orinoco> The idea of having the neon facing outward had crossed my mind at one point and it does make good sense so I rotated it around and added some more wording. I also moved the horn and chair to the left hand side of the image. On the right is still very open but I will be putting the music stand there so it will cover some of the empty space. Modeling a case is a great idea!

yournamehere> The lighting is a bit washed out but I’m kind of a lighting n00b so could you make some suggestions on how to fix this? I am using for the neons (2 pink area lamps and 1 pink spot light) and there are 3 white-ish spots facing down from the ceiling with the center one being strongest. Outside the window there is a hemi facing in through the window to simulate some light coming from outside and to bring the ambient level of the corner of the scene up some. I also have a very dim area lamp to the right to show the wall texture a little better. Is this just too much light? Most of these lights are set to very low brightness except the center ceiling spotlight and the 2 neons.


Anyways, these are the kind of comments I was looking for. Thanks guys! Oh, and I have never used nodes. I’m not really sure how they work. Any suggestions on where to begin? I was able to improve the look of the neon using the halos but it would be nice to learn nodes. Hear is an updated version:


Keep in mind that there will be the backside of a music stand to the right and I was thinking of modeling a mute or 2 to place on the floor near the stool. I don’t think I want to add other instruments though.

Here is a pic of the back of the stand:
This has no materials yet and isn’t finished (although the base of the stand might not show in the shot anyways.

Ok, I think the lighting here looks a bit better. I also tried making the center spotlight a light blue color. How does this look?


And here is one with much less light.


It’s coming along nicely, but I think the image looks washed out. Are you aiming for a hazy / smokey look to it? If so, I would recommend using some particles or post effect, to make the haze less uniform.

Unfortunately I am not looking for a hazy look. I’m not sure what is causing the washed out look. The corner where it gets dark should be darker. Any ideas on what might be causing this? Right now the scene has limited lighting. Here is a version that I adjusted the contrast on the rendered image but I shouldn’t have to adjust this post render.


Do you have ‘halo’ selected on the spotlights? It can yeild some nifty results, but as someone who has experimented with the whole ‘casting shadows with the halo on’ thing, you will probably want to move your lights right of the camera and have them pointing at the stool from an angle more side on to the viewer.

There are two tutorials I used to learn about nodes. One covers sketch rendering and the other is about pencil rendering, both useful techniques in their own right, but the biggest benefit is the author carefully explains how to set up and use nodes to get those effects. The sketch rendering tutorial is Part I of the pencil rendering tutorial, so do that one first.

Once you learn how to use nodes, you’ll be able to make a good neon glow, get rid of that hazy, washed out look (solution is gamma correction), and play with the contrast and saturation until you get the look you want. Nodes can take Blender Internal renders up to Indigo/Lux Render/Kerkythea quality (except for caustics.)

could you make some suggestions on how to fix this?

Sure thing, here’s what you should do lighting-wise. Avoid lighting the halos in the windows for right now and focus on what your lighting stage would be. Normally, in a club, you have a stage in the center of the wall (unfortunately, it’s not the corner, unless you have a club by you like that). Anyways, lighting ranges from 3 to 5 lights. If you want to follow the cliché, you can make them all blue. However, if you have blue stage lights, you also want to keep one of the lights white (or you can add a tannish hue to it). Don’t let the light distort your trumpet. Meaning that the light should not be too far, or too close.

I would encourage you to model a couple of tables. Each table normally has a light resting on it. That would probably be a bright red (that doesn’t travel far).

I think so far, the main thing you want to worry about is the distance the light travels.

I can’t help you much more since I’ve got to study now; however, I will come back later (if I remember) to continue.


I have redone the lighting. For now all the pink lights are off so no reflection of the neon. As per suggestion I decided to concentrate on the stage lighting first and get that right then I’ll move on from there. I also want the trumpet to be more dominant in the image. I may very well model a table that will be partially seen on the right side. Anyways, here is what I have so far:

The lights consist of 3 blue lights, 1 red light, and the center light is slightly yellow/tan. How does this look?

I have been playing with nodes but haven’t figured out really what to do with them for a neon-type effect. That pencil effect is neat and I played around with it quite a bit with a simple scene.

I like the composition better. (except for that grey background – I know there’s no lights and it’s unfinished.)

Anyway, about the nodes: there’s a node Action Bookin the wiki, but it doesn’t have a neon effect yet. Dreamsgate is setting up a Nodes Cookbook, but it doesn’t look like it’s out quite yet, and doesn’t have a neon effect either, at this point.

What I did find was a tutorial on how to set up a neon glow in Gimp (stay with me here.) It occured to me that nodes could be used instead of Gimp “filters” since they basically do the same thing, except filters alter a file, while nodes make the alterations and pass them along to another node.

So, you might try putting the neon sign on its own layer, or even in its own scene with an alpha background, and working through the Gimp tutorial, except using the appropriate nodes instead. (If it works, then all those special effects Gimp and Photoshop tutorials become, in effect, nodes tutorials. Woot!)

I found out that my lights were placed down too low. I raised them up higher towards where the ceiling would really be to get better light coverage and rearranged the scene a little more. I tentatively added the stand in the scene although the materials will need work and i will be playing with placement. This horn angle gives much better view of the details on the horn and also creates some nicer reflections on the bell. I think I’m getting closer. I also eliminated the red light. The grey background is caused by a lack of lighting. I will move on to that part of the image after I tweak the main stage lighting a bit more.


The composition itself is much, much cleaner. It makes me feel like there is a little more to the scene than just the trumpet. I would; however, find a way to tell a story with the scene (for instance, an interesting one would be a replication of Dizzie Galipsie’s trumpet). Anyways, I would recommend that you get rid of the mist as soon as possible. In that area, I would recommend that you add the end of the stage and add some tables and colours on that side (it’s simple modeling the tables). The scene is just too simple to say anything right now.

hope that helps.


it would be more visually appealing if you change the color of the trumpet into gold.

I added the pink light from the neon back in and messed with the material on the trumpet a little. I think I’m happy with the lighting in this corner, now to move on the the unlit part of the scene.


it’s still very foggy for some reason. the shadows need to be darker and the light needs to be lighter. In other words, shorten the distance of any area lights you have in the area and make sure your emit values are very low.

The sign looks better, although, I don’t like the font. It would be more interesting if you widened it a bit (like a display window) and modeled the letters using a cylinder; however, that is your choice there, not mine.

Are you going to put anything in that window?


Here is a simple nodes setup for a neon glow, if you are interested.


glow example.blend (178 KB)