Simulate a light from a fireplace without the fire

I was wondering if anyone may have an idea on how to simulate the refelction of a fire on a character without showing the fire. My shots would not contain the actual source. Seems like you could do this by animating a light source’s intensity over time but not sure.

I don’t really know but maybe you can try to bake the light source on the character and then remove it

Add one keyframe to the lamp’s Energy field, then bring up the graph editor. On the right side, open up the panel and select the Modifiers tab. Add noise as the modifier for the keyframe and tweak till the Energy moves similar to a fireplace flicker.
27_lamp_energy_noise.blend (88.3 KB)

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Yeah, and that’s probably good enough, right there. If you’ve shown the fire and shown that the character is standing close to the fire, then a directional light-source of an appropriate color temperature might even be good enough by itself. If it’s a smaller campfire, a little bit of variation as shown will definitely “sell the shot.”

The viewer’s eye isn’t going to “study it,” but might notice if it wasn’t there.

Wow thanks guys…sounds like a winner will give it a shot

We could take this a step further and apply the modifier to the color as well so we can modulate the color temperature ever so slightly.

Set up three to four or more smaller lights, and set them on a noise styled flicker. Colour each individually. This way you can adjust the floor and the ceiling of each for intensity. Quick and dirty, and works extremely well. If desired, a small grid of them will keep the source soft, and move around subtly. The colour transition will be more elegant as well, and mix smoothly.

Animated lightsources would be the way to go I think, but if you"re on the lazy side like myself and using cycles, an emission shader on a plane with a fire movie as a color texture does the job as well.

Reminds me of the cheats of early Hollywood to simulate lighting effects without ever showing the source. All great ideas.

Lightpaths invis to camera.blend (1.7 MB)

In a pinch you can use an image of your light source like this.