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Chapter 17. Broadcast-Style Animation > Lighting Broadcast Animations

Lighting Broadcast Animations

Lighting any scene in LightWave can be fun, but it also is time-consuming. If you’re not familiar with traditional lighting techniques and principles, it might take you a bit longer to get up to speed. But lighting for broadcast-style graphics is not difficult. These types of animations can be lit with basic two- or three-point lighting schemes. Refer to Chapter 9, “Realistic Lighting Environments,” for more information on lighting setups.

Exercise 17.11 Lighting Broadcast Animations

You can be as creative as you want with your lighting. Knowing a few simple rules, however, will help you with this exercise, as well as others. Good lighting produces an important element in your animations: shadows. Shadows are as important as the background elements you modeled for this project. By setting up the proper lights, you can create shadows throughout your scene which add depth and interest for the viewer. Follow along with this next exercise to set up lights in a broadcast text animation.

Load into Layout the scene you’ve been creating throughout this chapter. You also can use the LightMe scene from the CD-ROM.

A default distant light is always in the scene. This scene has transparencies and glows, so adding a ray-traced shadow to the mix will not help with rendering. Instead, spotlights can add soft shadows with fast rendering.

Select the default light, and press p to display the Light Properties panel.

Change the Light Type to Spotlight. Make both the Spotlight Soft Edge Angle and Spotlight Cone Angle 40 degrees. Spotlights shine a round cone of light. The angle in degrees is the size of the cone, zero being no cone, and 40 about average.

The Spotlight Soft Edge Angle will add a nice edge falloff to the light. This light will be the key light for the scene. The default color is white, but no light is ever a pure white.

Change the Light Color so that it is slightly off-white. The Light Intensity should be at 100 percent.

Because this is the main light for the scene, move it up and to the left, in front of the objects.

This position also will help cast decent shadows from foreground elements to the background elements, helping to add depth to the animation. Figure 17.47 shows the position through Light view in Layout.

Figure 17.47. The main light for the scene should be set above and in front of all the elements. This is the view from the first light.

The next light can be added to help create some brightness on the main logos of the scene. You don’t want it to look like there is just one big, hot light shining on the objects. By adding a soft white light off to the side, you enhance the feeling of distance and depth.

Add another spotlight and move it off to the right side of the elements. Use Light view to position and rotate the light into place. The light properties don’t need to be specific; simply make sure that all the objects are lit. Make the color soft white, and set the Light Intensity to 75 percent or so—you don’t want this light to overpower the main light.

This light will focus on the 3D elements at they appear, and then follow them into place.

You also can try the opposite position, below the objects to light the bottom. Test a few options to see which you like best.

Lighting definitely can be a lot of fun when it comes to 3D animation, but the Ambient Intensity is also important. For this broadcast-style animation, this one last setting can make the elements pop off the screen more than they already do.

From the Lights tab, go to Global Illumination and set the Ambient Intensity to 0 percent (default 25 percent). Too much ambient light can flatten your scene and take away the effects of your lighting. Ambient light is the area in the animation not directly hit by any of your lights. As a rule, 0 percent to 5 percent is a good Ambient Intensity value.



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