Project 5b: Lighting

Goal To practice lighting from reference.
Prerequisite Exercises

The instructions for this project are very simple. You are to find a reference photo of a well lit fruit bowl and try to recreate it using lighting in Maya. You will be lighting the Fruit Bowl scene. You may want to use one of the provided set of images. The objective is to match the reference as close as possible, incorporating the subtle details found in real world lighting.

Lighting has very rapid diminishing returns. Three point lighting will probably get you 90% of the way done, but capturing all of the details will take a lot longer. Notice how light bounces in your scene and how it tends to strike every corner of your scene, no matter how enclosed. Notice the placement, number, and quality of the shadows. Notice the rims of the objects and where the specular highlights are. Notice the color and intensity of the lights. Capturing all of these details is going to take more than three lights. Depending on the level of detail you want to capture, you may end up with more than twenty lights, but the number isn't important, just that your scene resembles your reference. Try to err on the side of fewer lights, however. Less will usually accomplish the same thing as more in addition to being easier to manage.

As a warning, your lighting can look dramatically different depending on what monitor you use to view it. To make sure that your monitor isn't distorting your colors and brightness, try viewing your final render on a few different computers. You may need to adjust your lighting if a poorly calibrated monitor has skewed your lighting to be too dark or too light.

Below are some examples from previous years.

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