Lighting a scene with object-based lighting in iClone 7 can be fun for some and frustrating for others. According to recent email some are having a hard time lighting a night scene without using standard lights that tend to overpower the scene or not produce the desired ambiance.
Lighting is one of the most single important aspects of any scene and cannot be adequately covered in a short article but a simple, single light, night scene can be. It can also start as a launchpad to explore further lighting possibilities.
This basic scene contains stock items from Reallusion and a cone that has been textured with glowing coals. You can download the basic project file HERE. This does not contain the character dummies or trees which you can add as they are stock iClone 7 objects.
Basic Flat Lighting
1. Go into the Visual tab and turn off Activate IBL.
2. Go into the Scene tab and deactivate or delete the Key, Side, and Backlight.
[You should see a glowing firepit, night sky, and the outline of the terrain. If you hit play you will notice no change in lighting as the glow and torch fire FX have no actual lighting properties at this time. If you want to look around the scene or move things use the Auxiliary Light but remember to turn it off when finished.]
3. Enable Global Illumination. Nothing visually will change.
4. Select Torch Fire in the Particle section of the Scene Manager tab. With Torch Fire selected go to the Attribute tab on the right-side menu and scroll down to Particle Settings.
5. Under GI Settings on the right side menu check the Illumination box. This will activate the GI lighting properties of the Torch Fire legacy particle.
a. Press play and you will notice no changes as the GI Range is set to 36 which needs to be increased. Select the Visual tab on the left menu and choose the Global Illumination tab at the top.
b. From there choose the Anchor Setting button which opens the menu on the right side. Click View GI Range is you want to see where the GI is being focused.
c. Set the GI Range to around 200 or more. Be sure to uncheck the View GI Range checkbox if you turned it on earlier.
6. This is a small fire so increase the Bounce Strength (on the left menu, GI tab) until you reach the desired results. You can also tweak the Illumination slider bar that we enabled in Step 5.
After Basic Emissive Lighting
By this time, you should be able to control the brightness of your fire particle with a combination of the Bounce strength and light source (Torch Fire) Illumination.
Adjust the color with the Particle Color Key visible on the right menu when the Torch Fire particle is selected. It is located above the area that holds the Illumination checkbox. Each small triangle slider under the line represents a color and can be changed by selecting the triangle. You can also blend by sliding the triangles. Experimentation is highly encouraged at this point.
Return to the Visual tab and re-enable the IBL lighting by checking the Activate IBL box. Set the default IBL image to a low setting like 2 or 3 so as to not wash out or negate your GI lighting. Set the Ambient Occlusion to your liking and you are just about done for this simple one-light scene.
From here you can tweak all aspects that affect lighting and I encourage you to experiment. Be sure to turn on GI Indirect Lighting too. This is located under the Activate IBL checkbox on the left side menu under the Visual tab.
You should now have a fundamental understanding of Emissive lighting. Any object that has self-illumination or glow can be a light source. Experimentation with settings, emissive object sizes, colors, and glow or self-illumination to see what is possible. Object-based; emissive lighting can add ambiance to a scene that can draw a viewer in.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.