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  #1  
Old January 10th, 2007, 09:36 AM
BlueShade Zero BlueShade Zero is offline
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Animation and lighting question. Looking for hints, tips, and pointers.

Alright, It's me again with more animation questions

I'm bad at explaining so i'm going to say what i'm doing, what i'm going for, and what I want.

In short, I'm trying to animate a simple scene here, where a man (currently just a biped) opens a door, walks in, and turns on a light (havnt got to the light actualy turning on yet)

Right, now what I'm going for is, the camera view is on the inside of the building, and its (nearly) pitch black. The man opens the door and you can see the exterior light shine in from outside illuminating the room. The front of the man is covered in shadow from the exterior light, so you cant really make out his face and features. The man walks inside, looking around the room. As he walks in the door gradualy swings shuts behind him, eventualy closing, and the room is surrounded in darkness again.

Now that that has been set out this is what I want.

While the door is closed, the room is almost completely dark.
When the door opens, a ray of light should be casted across the floor, and onto the wall. The ray of light should grow appropriatly as the door opens.
When the door opens, the shading on the door should flow smoothly, as well as any other shading in the scene.
When the man opens the door, his face should be completely covered in shadows, so you cant really see it.
As the man opens the door and walks in, he should cast a shadow appropriatly.
As the door swings shut, the lighting and shadowing in the room should act appropriatly.


I think that about coveres how I want the lighting to act.
A quick summery, When the door opens, a ray of light shines in, casting shadows. As door opens and closes, lights and shadows react appropriatly and smoothly.

My main issue right now is the smoothness in the way the shadows act. I can throw up some renders of what i mean. Sorrie if this doesnt totaly make sence, but i'm horrable at explaining thing... i did my best (mentioning i'm in school, and am supposed to be working on this).

I also wana put in, that idealy, when the door opens, a bright light shines straight in, so all you see is a stilleto of the door, and the man opening the door and walking in. Also the door way.. its hard to explain. But i have a feeling that this wouldnt look as good as i'm thinking it would.



Well, thats it. Please feel free to ask questions on things that wernt clear, and for the sake of accuracy, try to ask specificaly what you want to know about what wasnt clear.

ALSO!!!

Go ahead and post any hints, tips, and pointers you have about lighting, even if they arnt directly related to the subject. This entire thing is just a learning process, and I love picking up any additional knowledge along the way. So infact, please do post any advice you have on lighting and animation that you have in general, i'll appreciate it.

Cheers!

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  #2  
Old January 10th, 2007, 01:19 PM
Drew Drew is offline
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right to save stressing your machine just first animate a box instead if a biped .... this will help you work out timeing of your animation .....

but back to basics ...

how to animate a light in max....

create a light ... say spotlight ... in the spotlight rollout you will see the light value normal default setting is 1.0 ... set this to 0.0 ... your light is now off
hit your animate key .... got to frame 10 select the light if not selected change the light value to 1.0 goto frame 20 change the light value to 2.0 then back to 1.0 this should now set a key now goto frame 30 and make value 0.0

if you were to render this the you would see the light go brighter till it reached it's brightest at frame 10 stay bright till 20m then go dim till it goes out at 30 ...... ... why is this? becouse i asked it to be off at frame 0 and effectively on at frame 10 not to go brighter then dimmer ....

this is the max animation trying to animate for you so it puts the light value on a curve line from frame 0 to frame 30 ... like a peice of wire pull over the two high value points of 1.0 it would make a smooth curve.

so how to fix / stop max animating it..

the correct way is to change the key types from linier to steped .....
or you could just go to frame 9 and change the value to 0.0 and same at frame 21 ( animate key on of course)

and this will controle the light so it is value 0.0 till frame 10 where it changes to value 1.0 .....

frame numbers would be timed to fit your animation.

but try this with a sphere and see what happens .... this is basic animation skills ..... getting max to animate how YOU the animator want it to animate not how MAX thinks it should or any other animation program for that matter the principles are the same.

hope this helps you understand a little of what is happening not just do 'A' now 'B'

One last tip ..... in film or game or whatever people do a storyboard to time out their animation and help the animator see what is actually needed in the scene and what cut scenes there are needed. After this they generaly do what is commonly call a pre-viz (PRE-VISULISATION) this is a lowpoly layout basic lighting and deligates for characters (like i mentioned earlyer about useing a box intead of a biped) then following the storyboard and adding cameras as needed ... this all helps to add timeing and understanding ... pluss giveing the director a chance to review camera angles and make any changes .....

next would be to add biped and animate him / them around the lowpolly scene... keep the stress down on the pc .... once your happy with the biped animation then you just save out the bip file ... while your doing this ... the modeler then builds the scene to filt your lowpolly set which he the lets the annmator have when he is finished animating ... next the modeler then takes your scaled bip and builds your character to fit to scale and design .... next it is rigged by the rigger and then added to the scene which has the bip file added to it and handed back to the animator who dose the final touches to the animation and then the FX team put the lighting and mood into the scene which once done the whole scene isthen handed to the rendermonkey who renders it out ...lol

that is a working patteren ... if you are all these rolls in one then plz work to a pattern and animate in a lowpoly scenes or you are just asking for problems and slow working environments ....

hope this helps or deepens your understanding of animating (big subjects all these parts)

Drew
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  #3  
Old January 11th, 2007, 09:30 AM
aziz aziz is offline
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wow man what a long question heeheeee.

here is few cool tutorials about lighting they are very cool, this guy did a really good effort to create these tuts.

www.vrayelite.com


enjoy.
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  #4  
Old January 16th, 2007, 09:17 AM
BlueShade Zero BlueShade Zero is offline
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Thanks Drew for all the great advice. Unfortunatly, I am indeed working solo on this (for the most part), so yeah its going kind of slow, but I dont mind. This entire thing is mostly for me to expand my knowledge. And although I already know that its helpfull to have a storyboard, I dont really have one. But thats okay for now.

And as for the V-ray thing, I'm not sure but I believe you have to buy that. I'll look alittle more into it, and discuss it with my instructor. However, if there is a way to be able to test it out, by all means show me the way.

Alright, so now that I know how to animate lights and such, how about some advice on light effects and things. Like, how can I get a light source to illuminate a room with a nice soft glow. As in, when you walk into a room and turn on the light, the light should cast a soft glow through out the entire room, casting soft shadows, rather then only lighting things up within a certain radius, leaving any thing beyond that radius pitch black. Also, shadows shouldnt make things "invisible" either. You should still be able to see things in shadowy areas, like under a desk or other places that dont have a light directly on it.

Also, is it possible to lights reflect off of things like mirrors? To get a more room filling effect, I was thinking of putting the light in somthing with a reflective texture on the inside.


Sorrie for not responding sooner... I kinda forgot about this untill today. Thanks for the help and as again, any and all advice is welcome.

Back to work!

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  #5  
Old January 16th, 2007, 07:55 PM
Drew Drew is offline
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i mainly use the scanline renderer on occasions i will use the mentalray as it is built into max .... but v-ray dose give some real nice results and in good time to

and as for the lighting roll out it is big there are all kins of setting in there.

think of a flashlight ...

you shine it on a wall it has rings of brightness this is the hotspot and falloff in the rollout ...

now think of a a small table light ...

it cannot light accros a room proply ...
this is your near and far atenuation add to this the type invers and square effects ... yes some of these effects are suttle but thats what you were asking how to emulate real life lighting ish

in the general paramiters you will see light on or of button on by default and below that is shadows on off ... off by difault

shadow map is the default type but this can be changed or inproved by upping the shadow params size and range but it works on the 128-256-512-1024 principle of edge quality

global means it will take the setting from the other lights in the scene ...

spotlight paramiters has overshoot ... this judt turns off the cone and makes it like the sun as the light just comes from one direction.... also these is circule and rectangle just the shape of the beam and the ratio changes the rectangle sizes ...

advanced effects has the soften or harden edges with contrast and soften also it can take out the ambient or specular from materials
also it has a projector map this is just any material in your material editor draged and droped into the box most peeps use instance from the choice of options it give so you can controle it better from the material editor as for example instead of trying to do that lovely lighting effect that you see on sunny days at the bottom of pools ... you just use a lighting map lol saves time and energy trying to build it

shadow paramiters this is where you can change the colour of your shadows to any colour and how dence it is seethrouh and its opasity wether you want top use a map for shadows ...ect ...

as for atmosphere effects ...

there is lense effects like lense flare / corona and also there is volumetric lighting this is like the dust you see floating around in the air and will bring a popup box... this is heavy to render ... and there are cheats for this ...

there is mentalray lighting plugins at the bottom for raytraceing and shuch like ...


also at the top is Exclude / inclued this is so you can include or exclude objects from seperate lights in the scene.

there is or was an autodesk tutorial on how to simulate 1 table lamp next to a wall / there was about 10 lights used in that one small render to give the up lighting, down lighting its rings and reflected light off and on the wall ...

this very quick once over for the standard lights roll out in max there are several other types hidden elsewhere

hope it helps

Drew

oh an odd thing but still usefull in the odd render

the multiplyer for the light gives it's brightness .... but it also gose into negative so it can suck light out of the scene ..... usefull for giveing depth in corners or behind sofas or places that are hard to blance lighting ect

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  #6  
Old January 17th, 2007, 08:36 AM
BlueShade Zero BlueShade Zero is offline
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Ah yeah, thats the kind of info i was looking for. Interesting tip on the negative multiplyer... never even thought of trying that. All this is very usefull info for me. I'm going to mess around with it abit today, and i'll most likely have more questions after i do so.

One thing that is on my mind is, what exactly is the difference between a normal light, and an area light? like Omni and mr Area Omni. I was looking at these but i didnt really get the difference.

BSZ


P.S.

I was just messing around with the mental ray renderer, and the first thing i noticed was it halved the time it took to render a scene. However, one thing i also noticed is that the over all quality of the lighting changed, not sure if i like it more or less, because shadows are darker and there isnt that wierd glow in the room when there should be no light.

one thing i'm still noticing is the door. As the character is opening the door, the door is heavily shaded untill a certian point, where it clicks from fully shaded, to fully lighted over 1 frame. Is there a way to smooth this out? I might also be able to throw up some renders of my work, but i dont know if thats possible from here (where my work is).

another thing i was always wondering about... Is it possible to have the light be emited from a source? I was thinking that I may be able to get the effect that I'm lookign for (the outside glare) if I could have a consistant being emited from a source that would be shaped like " U " and then placed behind the door. I have attempted to do this befor using multiple lights, but that only created some an obvious shading pattern. I think that it was from it being multiple lights, creating multiple shadows (and lights); I couldnt fix it. So I was thinking that if it was only 1 source, shining from multiple directions off of a curved shape, that it would create only a single light that would illuminate and shade every thing without having multiple shadows. This was tough to explain so it may not make sence.

Have to get back to work now, i'll put in more if I think of any more questions.

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Old January 17th, 2007, 05:42 PM
Drew Drew is offline
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as for the difference in the lights look in the help files saves me typing lol


as for light just comming from 1 source then that is easy just turn on over shoot in the roll out

mentalray lighting ... it uses different types of gathering to do it's lighting solution so you would have to change the settings to compensate eather in mentalray or in your light roll out

as for the door being not quite right try just putting a bit of self ilumination in the material and see the effect

oh and remember if you have a case where you use mutiple lights in the scene the you should only have shadows on, on the main light source (could be mutiple) or it looks wrong

as for blending lights ... increase your falloff or decrease your hotspot and soften your shadows

Hope ity helps

Drew

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Old January 18th, 2007, 08:37 AM
BlueShade Zero BlueShade Zero is offline
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i've done some fooling around with the overhead lights and i found that it looks significantly better if i exclude the light fixture its self. I dont think there will be any point where you'll get a good look at the ceiling, in which case there is i'll do that wierd thing with the negative multiplier. I also switched the light that shines in from the door to an omni (rather then spot). This seemed to have a nicer effect.

One issue is that i have no artistic creativity what so ever =P so uh, not quite sure if the lightings correct as of now. So, because I have virturaly no creative tallents what so ever, are there any basic principals that i can follow to make things look realistic? This is also why i'm good at math and bad (really bad) at english (was my spelling a give away?).

I'm going to keep messing around with this, every thing has been very usefull so far, so thanks!

BSZ

EDIT:

oh wow :slaps self across the face:

I just realized that i had a daylight tool in there that was messing every thing up. When i deleted it every thing was like 5x better, but now i have to re-adjust things. Gana make a mental note of this for the future.

Also, is there a way to make somthing... translucent, so that some light will pass through, but with out the object looking translucent? like a cloth lamp shade, you cant see through it, but light still comes through.

Lastly, somthing thats been on my mind is that last year, there was a student that i saw rendering a scene. I didnt know what it was at the time, but i believe it was mental ray, but the strange thing is though that when he was rendering it, there were 2 brackets rathern then 1. I have no idea how he did it but ive been curious about it ever since i started using mental ray. Any idea what it was?

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Old January 18th, 2007, 02:11 PM
Drew Drew is offline
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brackets in the renderer ...

renders ...

scanline renderer is a line renderer it renders one line at a time lol

mentalray is a bucket renderer it renders buckets (square sections of your scene) the number of buckets equals the number of pocessors you have in your PC or if you hyperthreading or dualcore PC.

As for being an artist well we all wish we had that talent an not have to work at it. But you are not far from it becouse if you see a computer effect on say tv and it looks wrong then you now have just spotted what not to do with your scene. It is all about seeing not just looking if you get what i mean.

Respects

Drew

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Old January 19th, 2007, 06:25 PM
BlueShade Zero BlueShade Zero is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew;31680
mentalray is a bucket renderer it renders buckets (square sections of your scene) the number of buckets equals the number of pocessors you have in your PC or if you hyperthreading or dualcore PC.


Ha, so I was right! I suspected that it would have somthing to do with utilizing multi cpu's....

And if I am correct, the computers that we use are dualcores, so how would I make it render with more then one bucket? If its supposed to do it automaticly, then I dont think that Max is realizing that theres a dual core.

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Old January 20th, 2007, 11:48 AM
Drew Drew is offline
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automatic i think but never looked at the settings as mine just works LOL

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Old January 29th, 2007, 09:32 AM
BlueShade Zero BlueShade Zero is offline
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Hey, I just upgraded to 3ds max 9 today! Is there any new toys that I can use?

Also, it appears that i'm scraping my curret animation and working on a new one. They made some changes to the story board, but at least i'm actualy going to recieve one this time (i think).

I'm not entirely sure what the animation has to be, but what i know is that its going to be a beach scene with mountans, beachness, water (animated), camp fire, and spider.

Any tips? Specificaly, how would i go about making a realistic landscape? I've tryed this before but I couldnt really do it. Same with the animated water.

I'm not really disapointed about disposing of my old animation, it was horrable but worked out as a good learning experience.

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