Cineware Party, Part 08: Lighting

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Instructor Rick Barrett

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Basic lighting for the Cineware Party scene

Explore the exciting possibilities with the new live 3D pipeline in the next Adobe After Effects. In this tutorial series, you'll learn how to create a motion graphics piece in CINEMA 4D Lite and composite and render it through Cineware in Adobe After Effects.

This video explains how we set up the environment and lighting for the scene. You'll learn how to define colors in HSV color space, adjust lighting properties like shadow and falloff, and use a light to control the ambient illumination.



- Now that we've gotten a good look at the power of the Cineware layer and workflow in After Effects, let's jump back into Cinema 4D and continue working on this scene. The first thing I'm going to do is show you how the environment is actually constructed. I promised that right at the beginning and it's time to do that now. So let's take a look at how we actually set up this room and the lighting so that you can have an idea about how that portion of a 3D scene is constructed. So we're going to jump back into Cinema 4D Lite. And if you don't have it already open, an easy way of doing that is to simply Edit Original on your Cinema 4D party scene, which you can do by hitting Ctrl+E or simply choose Edit Original from the Edit menu, and that's going to launch Cinema 4D Lite. Now I'm going to go ahead and deactivate our animated camera here so that none of the cameras are active. And that way we're viewing through the editor camera or the default camera, which you can see here in the view panel, cameras, use camera, default camera. And that's going to allow me to navigate around the scene without messing up any of my existing camera views. So first of all before we get into the lighting, let's just look at how this room is constructed. It's really very simple. You could do it many different ways, but all that's done here basically is we have a floor object. A floor object in Cinema 4D, which you can find right here, is basically just an infinite plane. And so even though you see a boundary for it here in the view, it actually extends on to infinity. So don't worry about the fact that it doesn't extend below the video wall here and all the way to the back wall. It does, you just don't see it that way in the view. And then besides the floor, we've simply used some plane primitives to create a back wall and two side walls. And we didn't worry too much about how these met up. It's actually easier to just overlap them, make sure they're completely overlapped, and that you don't have any gaps there. And what was perhaps more important was to make sure that none of these walls actually cast a shadow on the scene. So that's why this right hand wall is a little bit shorter so that the main light that comes over here from the right hand side doesn't hit it and cast a shadow onto the scene. Besides that, we didn't need to worry about building a ceiling or a back wall because we weren't planning on creating any camera angles that would actually see that wall. You saw in After Effects when I created that animated camera, this wall actually was a little too short, and you can always go out, go in and adjust those, keeping in mind where your lighting is and what shadows are going to be created. So that's just a basic look at creating the room. Let's now take a look at the lighting. And we actually have two actual lights in this scene, a main light and a fill light, and then we just have a reflector panel that's sort of causing the main light to look like a soft box. So I'm just going to delete these three objects and we'll actually build them back up from scratch so that you can see how this all works. And as soon as I delete those lights, which you'll notice is that Cinema 4D Lite reverts back to its default lighting. So what we have here is a fairly flat look. What it gives you basically is an omni light placed pretty much right behind the camera so that you can see stuff while you're modeling and whatnot before you've actually created your lights. But now we need to go in and actually define our true lighting for this scene. So to do that, we're going to go ahead and create a light object. And this is an omni light by default, which an omni light is basically just sort of like a light bulb. It's a light that emits in all directions as opposed to something like a spot light that's more directional. And in this case the light is created at 0,0, the center of the scene which happens to be sort of inside that text, so we're getting sort of a weird back lighting effect. So we need to actually move that light into position. And you will remember that we'd kind of set it up sort of in the upper right above the scene, sort of behind where the animated camera ends up. So to place our light, I'm going to go ahead and jump into a different view. Right now we're in our perspective view and we can click on this icon right here, the rightmost icon on the view panel to go into our four-panel view. You can also hit F5 to jump straight into the four-panel view. We're going to look primarily here at the top view and we're just going to move this light back and we'll move it up. And you can see the change here in the OpenGL view of the shading or the light that's being cast on the object. So we'll just go ahead and move this further back to the right. And we want to make sure that it's high enough, that it's up above the scene, casting sort of down on the scene. And we've ended up here at about 1,100 units on X, 300 on Y, and 1,500 negative on Z. And that's pretty good. That's giving us a nice illumination. We can jump back in here on our perspective view to our main camera and do a quick render and see what's that looking like. So the next thing we want to do is actually add some color into this light because no light is actually pure white. And here in the attributes manager, you can see that we have a color option. And just like all of the color boxes in Cinema 4D by default, it's using RGB. I tend to like using RGB colors for textures and whatnot, but for lighting I like using the HSV model instead. And you can switch the HSV model by simply clicking on the little arrow button underneath the color swatch here, and it gives you several options for different ways of manipulating your color and we'll just choose the HSV option here. And this is nice because you can set the general hue of your light, if you want a warmer light or a colder light and then just add just at little bit of saturation in on top of that. So we'll do something like with a 38 to 40-degree hue. It gives us a nice sort of yellowish color, but only about 5% saturation. And the next thing we want to do is actually add some shadows in this scene. That will help to ground the objects and just add some more visual interest. And so we'll go ahead and choose from the shadow options here the soft shadow maps option. So Cinema 4D actually supports three different types of shadows. There's soft shadows, hard shadows, and area shadows. Hard shadows are actually the fastest to render, but they're very harsh edge shadows, the kind of light that you'd only get from a very bright sunlight. Soft shadows are still fairly fast to render and they provide sort of a much softer edge. Area shadows are the most accurate type of shadow that you can render in Cinema 4D with a nice soft edge that's very physically accurate. However it does take longer to render. In order to just keep the speed up in this case, we're just going to stick with soft shadows, and let's do a quick render so that you can see what that looks like. So now you can see we've got some actually fairly dark shadows coming down here and you can very clearly see our light direction and whatnot coming through with the shadows. Next what we want to do is go in and actually tweak the properties of this light in a little more detail. And we can do that in the Details tab. So right now any light that I create by default in Cinema 4D is going to have no falloff at all, which means that the light is going to continue to shine just as bright 5,000 meters into the scene or 500,000 meters into the scene as it does at the point of its origin. Obviously in the real world, all of our lights have some form of falloff. They become less bright or have less effect on surfaces as the surfaces are further away from the light source itself. And we set that up here in the falloff option. So we're going to switch this from none to inverse square physically accurate. This is usually a good option to choose because it is the most physically accurate falloff option. Now you'll see that when I did that the entire scene got dark, and that's because my default radius for the light is only 500 centimeters. It's not going out far enough to actually illuminate my scene. You can actually see right here actually, if I turn on my light filter here in the view, which was turned off, so if you go to Filter Light, you'll actually see the radius of the light's falloff, and all of our balloons and our text and whatnot are over here. So what you'll need to do is simply take this little orange dot here and drag it out so that our light is fully illuminating our scene. Now unfortunately when we're in four views like this, the object highlighting kind of conflicts with the updating. So you don't see the update until you roll over the perspective view here. But if you turn off the object highlighting from the Filter Panel here, you'll notice we don't have the object highlight anymore, but we can actually see the effect of that as we drag. So we'll go ahead and set our falloff somewhere around here. We're also going to go ahead and activate this Z Direction Only checkbox here, which causes this omni light to only cast light down the Z-axis. It's not going to shine light back behind the light source. So it's acting a little bit more like a spot light, basically you're getting a half omni light. And you won't see a whole lot of difference on this case with the actual illumination of the scene, but it does just help to speed things up little bit because the shadows don't have to be calculated behind the light. Just because we did that, just to clean things up a little bit, we'll go ahead and rotate this light so that it points at the text itself. So let's go back into front view and take a look at our lighting so far. And one other thing you'll notice is that there's a little bit of splotchiness here on the face of the letters themselves. And that comes from the way that the shadows are calculated. Based on the scale of the scene, the shadow calculation needs to be adjusted a little bit, and you do that in the shadow tab of the light. There's an option here called the Shadow Bias. And the two centimeters option is good for most normal size scenes. Our text and whatnot is a little bit bigger than Cinema 4D normally expects for the size of its objects. So we just need to increase this shadow bias a little bit. We'll go up to, say, six and re-render. And you can see that we've eliminated a lot of the splotchiness here on the face of the letters. So that's basically all we need for the main light or key light and let's go ahead and rename this as well. But what we need now is a fill in order to fill in these shadow areas so that they don't get quite so dark. So to do that, we'll just create another light. And let's go ahead and rename this "fill light" right at the top. And what we're going to do with this light is instead of worrying about a specific location for the light or direction, we're going to just have this light illuminate in an ambient fashion. Now true ambient light doesn't really exist in the real world. The closest thing we get is something like a cloudy day. But in the real world we do get bouncing off of surfaces, and that sort of builds up an ambiance, and that's something that you can simulate using Cinema 4D Broadcast or Studio using global illumination. In Cinema 4D Lite, we don't have global illumination so we could create a whole bunch of fill lights to sort of replicate GI. There's lots of different ways to get that ambient look, but we're just going to make it simple on ourselves and simply enable ambient illumination on this light. So you do that in the general tab of the light and there's a check box here for ambient illumination. And when using ambient illumination, it doesn't matter where the light is, It's just casting this color of light and the intensity of the light globally throughout the entire scene. So you can see here with the intensity all the way up at 100%, we basically lost all of our shadowing and whatnot because now the ambient intensity is bright, as bright as the main light's illumination. So what we need to do now is drop that intensity down in order to get a level that's going to fill in our shadows and make them a little bit less harsh but still allow us to be able to tell that there's a directionality to the light coming from behind the camera to the right. So something like 40% works well there. And again, we're going to want to change the actual color of this light. So we'll go ahead and choose something like a cooler blue tone somewhere here in the 200-degree range, and we'll just add a little bit of saturation on that as well. And let's take a look at what that looks like. So now we have a nice contrast between our warm key light, a little bit of a cool fill just to fill in those shadows, and that's the basis for our lighting itself. But the next thing we need it to actually get some reflections. We want to actually get those nice reflective accents on the balloons and even on the text and whatnot. And we'll look at how to set that up in the next tutorial.
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