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Old February 11th, 2003, 08:00 AM   #1
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Vitual Lighting

I am looking for software that I can construct a virtual set to have a virtual lighting design.

I.e. Like lighting a cube in the middle, and playing with the key light, as well as, the fill, incidentals, background fills etc.

Does After Effects allow you to do this? (import a picture and light it using its features)

Thanks!

Derrick
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Old February 11th, 2003, 11:08 AM   #2
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I used to use 3D Studio Max, I believe it will let you do what you ask. But it's been a few years so I'm not 100%.
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Old February 11th, 2003, 11:48 AM   #3
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To really get this to work properly you'd have to work with something that handles Global Illumination and Raydiosity. A simple raytrace will only partially give you the feeling of how light represents itself in a 2D medium.

I'm currently shooting a feature film that will be all virtual sets so I'm becoming quite familiar with every problem connected to doing all bluescreen work and all CG background. There are some images online at my website www.operafilm.com. You can also view a short clip (no actors composited) on www.operafilm.com/prev.html. We are using LightWave 3D. It's got most of the things we need and a great render engine. We're exporting everything using .rpf format to Combustion and AE for z-depth work.
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Old February 11th, 2003, 01:12 PM   #4
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LightWave 3D is one of the best render applications out there
I think. It produces very good pictures (if you know how to work
it ofcourse) for the price.

However, aren't there also a lot of free or really cheap versions
out of some of the more popular 3D applications like 3DS Max
and Maya?

These were called Learning Editions if I'm not mistaken.

Other then that there are also some free-/shareware 3D
modelers and renderers out there that might give you the
tools you need.

Probably best to start with some decent research. I don't
know of an application that is specifically built for "lighting"
sets etc.
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Old February 11th, 2003, 08:27 PM   #5
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hi,
What you need to do is to look into any 3d app out there.

Maya, Lightwave, 3D max, Electronic Image and Softimage to name some.
Then scower the internet for sites with information about them.
www.cgchannel.com
www.3dgarage.com
www.highend3d.com
All of these applications will do what you want. But you need to know alittle more before you go and shoot your scene.
www.cinefex.com-its the best resource magazine out there.

Just seach for other books on those sites that I listed they have some great info.

Remember you need to take messurements of everything on set so you can then duplicate that information into the 3d space. You dont need GI to produce realistic effects. No studio uses GI for films anyways. They just render out everything seperate so they can then adjust what they need. If they made a mistake then they just render that on area that the mistake occured in.
So say you have your 3D square. You would then render out a seperate pass for each light. Then you can bring in those passes into your compositing application and lay each layer over each one to produce the final image. That way you can tweak each aspect of the image and are not limited to rerendering the whole image if you rendered out the image in one go.

Hope that helps,

Rob
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Old February 12th, 2003, 08:43 AM   #6
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Thanks for the posts...

I was looking at Maya and XSI's interfaces. They are very complex at the moment. Looks like some more learning on the immediate horizon.

I was looking at it simplistically, i.e. the square box in the room, lit to various degrees, camera depth etc. To learn while not actually having something to physically shoot at the moment. I think I am going to do both, light a real scene and shoot it, and then do a virtual scene.

A learning process...

However, after learning about the capabilities of a lot of these software packages, $$$$ to acquire them, and the images these tools create (i.e. Martin - - > Operafilm) Fantastic! A learning process that definately won't allow me to idle away the hours.

Thanks for all the posts.... I am digging into it.

Thanks.

Derrick
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Old February 12th, 2003, 11:06 AM   #7
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I have used Metacreation's Infini-D for a few years now, mostly because it's the easiest to learn. The downside is, it has been bought, sold, and now, deceased. If you look sharp, you can find it for sale on ebay.

It has very nice lighting options, as well as the ability to change cameras to 35mm, 70mm, cinascope, and several others. You can change many options to suit your vision.

It doesn't have all the bells and whistles Maya does, or even 3D Max. But with little effort, it is perfect for what you want. I have used it for designing virtual sets, and used my lighting specs to help plan on light placement on the real set.
Keith
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Old February 12th, 2003, 11:28 AM   #8
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Keith,

Thats what I was looking for. I'll look for a copy somewhere to peruse...

Thanks!

Derrick
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Old February 12th, 2003, 04:01 PM   #9
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I would also look into Hash Animation Master. It might not be the most stable program out there but it has a wonderful GUI and animation has always been nonlinear.
You can also try out the personal learning editions of Softimage and Maya. I think Lightwave also has a full demo.

Maya isnt that hard of a program to get to use but to be effective with it is totally different. I think Maya and Softimage has the best GUI out there for 3D apps. Then there is Lightwave and 3D Studio Max.
All are great programs.

I personally love Maya's interface. I think it is the quickest and most effective GUI out there. But that doesnt matter about the quality of work.

Rob
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Old February 14th, 2003, 08:09 PM   #10
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You can buy canned virtual sets now. Or you could probably have someone make one for you for less than the cost of one good 3D program.
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Old February 15th, 2003, 09:25 AM   #11
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I downloaded MAYA Learning Edition... I am going to give that a wack. It looks like it is a good tool to learn too. Since we're in the digital age where all this CG is replacing the real world.

Thanks for the posts!
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Old February 15th, 2003, 11:14 AM   #12
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well I hope that the real-world never gets taken over by CG. That would be a sad day. The only gripe I have heard with Maya PLE is that the render sticks a huge watermark over your rendered image. So there is no chance of you being able to use it for demo reel. If you are a student and like Maya on the PLE you might just want to buy the Student edition for $1000. That I believe is the full program or what they call "Unlimited." That....or at least when I had it its license was for a year. But if your going to pay $1000 for the student you might as well just wait and get "Complete." It doesnt have all the fancy extras but if you know how to script you can do make your own fluid dynamics plug-in or paintFX engine or a better Live.
If the help menu and the tutorials arent helping goto:
www.highend3d.com
www.cgtalk.com
www.dvgarage.com
www.aw.sgi.com--it forwards you to aliaswavefront's page. They have some tutorials too that are quite useful.
These are the main sites for Maya users. Most of the people at highend3d really know the program and know how to walk you through a problem.
Good luck with the app. I have been using it off and on for about 5 years.
I might be able to help you if you got any questions.

Rob
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