Need help with lightning a sewer scene

Hello everyone,
I hope, I am asking in the right forum - WIP

I am a beginner and suck at doing lightning! Though I keep doing blender tutorials regularly, I still find lightning to be quite difficult to handle, let alone master it.

In the scene attached above, can someone please help me with -

  1. How can i achieve more realism(whatever that means)?
  2. Even after rendering at 1000 samples, I am still getting a lot of white noise in the cycles. How can I remove that noise?
  3. I want to use depth of field, but if I focus the camera on the ladder (from side it appear to be simple white bar) either there is too much blurring or the effect is too subtle.
    Note: I have yet to apply material to ladder.

Some of my other work:

Any help will be appreciated!

I’m not a master of lighting. Regarding your first image, first thing I notice is your lights seem very white. I usually try to tint light even if just so slightly. Which color depends a lot of intended mood, and here you have not mentioned anything about the general feeling you wish to convey, perhaps you could describe that more?. Also I personally have stopped trying to go for ‘real’ or ‘probable’ lighting and turned towards enhancing the lighting to what I think would improve the image. Imho your image currently lacks a focus, and as mentioned, I’m unsure on what you are trying to achieve. You could consider adding rimlight to the plating around the ladder. You could consider beveling the pavement corners more so it will pickup more light. Things to make the shapes in the image easier to read.

tobbew has a lot of good points. Beveling some of your edges will make them catch the light better, and will look much more believable in the final image. Another tip about the current lights, give them some variation in color. The bulbs get replaced at very infrequent intervals, so the color tempterature of the lights is never consistent. Maybe even make one of them “burnt out” if it fits within the mood you desire.

I agree that you may benefit from a stronger focus point in this scene. I would say, if you really want the ladder to be the focal point, it should have it’s own light source to highlight it, and the background should fall away into darkness moreso. I picture an opening in the ceiling, with a strong shaft of light coming down, into the sewer, dust and air particles shining in the lightshaft.

However, if you don’t want to change the architecture of the scene, here is another idea; place a light beyond the bend in the tunnel, so that we can’t see the source of the light, but we see it’s glow washing over the walls. Place some kind of object in front of the light source, so we also see the shadow hitting the wall that we can see. This can either be a horror/scary type of image, or simply mysterious. Just some suggestions to consider.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to add a glow to the lights in the final image. Not overdone, just enough to look believable.

And my best tip for dealing with the noise you will encounter: Use the information in this thread to help you-

So you are trying for realism… If you are trying for realism, you must first think we’re could light be coming from, then you think about what qualities that light would have by looking at research, based on that research you can decide what light source to use.

  1. it could come from the light fixtures, the holes in the ceiling, end of the tunnel or behind the camera.
    A) you’ve done we’ll, you could consider specifying the type of lightbulb in it, this would lead to a choice of colors. Ie fluorescents have green tent, sodium vapour are yellow/orange, mercury vapour is tinted bluish green, tungsten is tinted amber.
    B)the holes in the ceiling give great opportunities for pools of light. It is also the best way to naturally accent the ladder with lighting. Right now it’s hard to know that there are holes there. It’s up to you to decide what the light source is. Is it the sun, work lights, a single flashlight in only one hole, moonlight, etc. what is the relationship in color to the other lamps. Daylight is bluer than incandescent, if its moonlight, how saturated will the moon be? Extremely blue moonlight is less realistic.
    C) light at the end of the tunnel will give great fresnel reflections and silhuettes. How strong it is relative to other lights? There are less reasons for light to come from the end of a tunnel than there are for lights to come from above. It could be flashlights, work lights. Moonlight or daylight at an opening in the tunnel.
    D) I included front light just so I can say, do not use it. There are ways an expert could make front light work, but whatever they figure out they could probably do better using another direction of light.

  2. think about the available qualities of light… the direction of the light, the intensity of the light, the color of the light, the size of the light source (soft vs hard shadows), the texture of the light (does the light shoot through grates, or trees, is it a video projector?), etc. look at real light sources so you can think about what each light sources quality might be.

I hope this helps…