What I’m saying is that do you have times when you thought you knew a lot about lighting technique, but then you discover a new one that gives superior results and makes you think of why you didn’t know of it before. Here’s one I’ve started to use that promises somewhat more realistic images then previously.
For years I’ve been using the tried and true method of using AO set to add to add realism to my scenes, works well but some drawbacks.
- -No bumpmaps in the AO only lit areas
- -Ambient lights will prevent the smallest nooks and crannies from being totally dark
Then I decided recently that I’ll use the compositor to make the AO pass (when it’s set to add), subtract light from the scene in the compositor rather than add to it, I don’t set AO to subtract mode because it’s not what you expect, it doesn’t subtract light in occluded areas that AO set to ‘add’ ignores, but we can make AO set to ‘add’ subtract light from occluded areas with the compositor, ambient and primary lights are set up first, the primary lights represent light sources and a small smattering of simulating bounces and atmospheric light, the ambient lights, useful for indoor scenes, create a somewhat flatly lit environment in areas not lit by the primary lights and even then flattens the lighting.
This is where the new technique comes in, I do an AO pass and have the AO occlusion distance fairly large depending on the scene seperate from the combined pass, I set a color-ramp node so the darkest/most occluded part is always black and non occluded/very open areas are white, the mix node where it’s combined with the render is set to multiply, so as to deliver the final shading for the final render, this technique has several theoretical advantages.
- -Bumpmaps are seen, the ambient lighting rig makes the bumpmaps visible since all the AO does is subtract light.
- -The darkest/narrowest nooks are always black, yet for other scenes you can reduce the power of the multiplication of the AO pass to control how dark the darkest nook in the scene is
- -Really powerful way of lighting a scene provided you set the right value for AO power and distance
List the ways you’ve discovered great new Blender techniques, you thought you were a Blender expert, then something was discovered where your knowledge and what you thought you knew was upside down.