Stylized Lighting in Cycles..

Hey Guys, Im really testing cycles from a week and trying various sorts of lighting conditions, mostly non realistic stylized lighting scenarios. And by that I mean lightings like this:

And havent succeeded so far, and there is no GI involved, just direct lighting and manually placing bounce lights and fiddling around with lots of lights. So far I managed to produce renders like this:

Just direct sunlights with no light bounces. But its really hard to get such saturated looks as the first pic. And its very limiting so far how many lights can be placed without getting horrible fireflies…Any hints what could be done? I just have three area lights in the image above, and placing any more than that just brings too much noise. MIS does help a bit but the noise just doesnt seem to converge, with as much as 1000 samples.


I can almost 100% certain tell you that the look of the first picture had nothing to do with how the lights were set up and everything to do with compositing and color correction. The lighting in the first picture isn’t particularly NPR, it’s the modeling and colors chosen that give it that effect.

Also, if you’re having problems with noise in interior renders, try either using ambient occlusion, or adding a low power hemi or area light directly behind the camera.

No, there isnt any compositing or color correction involved. Its just using a lots of area bounce lights, with different color temperatures, and yeah one thing is there and that is Ambient Occlusion, but its not just a flat white to gray transition. there are light and dark colors set for the ambient occlusion, and so the image is so rich in colors. Ive also used AO in my lighting, just a little but there seems to be no way to alter the colors of AO, without going into compositing, and so the dull looking image, as AO is just grayscale at default.

The first image is from a gnomon DVDs, that deals with cinematic lighting. And its just hand placed lights, to emulate light bounces and color bleeds.

Shouldn’t AO (being gray scale) simply alter the existing light color? IOW… change the AO color by changing/adding lights of the desired colors??? Particularly the low-power/hemi near the camera that m# speaks of… this will give the AO an overall “tint”.

I suspect that m#'s response was prompted by the general notion that the type of lighting achieved in pic#1 is seldom the result of direct lighting affects, but post-processing for bloom and color-correction… it is simply easier/faster to produce and, more importantly, control using a compositor… so that is the way it is normally done… and not just in Blender. :wink:

You could also try refining which lights get MIS and which do not. I’ve noticed that the more lights with MIS on, the less effective it is at reducing noise. maybe try disabling MIS on the larger area lights. in some scenes I’ve worked on, some of my accent lights wouldn’t even show up (just a handful of fireflies) because my area lights had MIS on.