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Bob_CP

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all

I'm new to Podium. I'm having a devil of time figuring out how to light a scene so that it's bright enough but not washed out. I've read / watched a number of the tutorials, but I am losing days here doing trial and error preview renderings, trying to get some sense of how the lighting of scenes works. Right now, I'm experimenting around with LEM but have yet to stumble across anything I can call a lesson learned.

Are days and weeks of fiddling around the only way to figure this out?

Thanks in advance for whatever help anyone can offer.

Bob
JustinSlick

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Bob, if you can post some of your test images we will be able to give you better suggestions.

Additionally, you could upload your model to the Podium support account, and we can take a look that way: http://www.suplugins.com/podium/support.php

But I recommend at least posting one or two images here. 

Justin

[BTW, I moved this to the "Main Messages" category, which is better suited for general questions like this.  We try to keep the tips and tricks section reserved for informative posts and tutorials that ought to remain visible.]

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Bob_CP

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks, Justin

Here's a few images

this I think was rendered with SU sky (shadows) on, Podium Sky 1. I think I had the entire ceiling painted as an LEM but I couldn't get the light power high enough to actually light up anything, and then when checking "High Intensity" I couldn't turn the Light Power down low enough to not blow out the entire scene
Flattum Interiors 2018-02-05 16244800000.jpg 

here I added a plane of LEM behind the camera, more illumination, but also that unsightly glare in the cabinet
Flattum Interiors 2018-02-05 16390700000.jpg 

Here, I duplicated the LEM source and moved it across behind the camera and rotated 45° from the plane of the cabinets, trying to get rid of the glare on the cabinets. That didn't work, as can be seen
Flattum Interiors 2018-02-05 16462600000.jpg 

And here, I got rid of the LEM surfaces, and set the ceiling to not cast shadows, SU sunlight on (shadows on). Dark
Flattum Interiors 2018-02-05 17044400000.jpg 

Its a shame that one can't adjust the various lighting parameters in Podium and see an approximation in the Sketchup scene in real time. That'd make it all a little more obvious.

Thanks, Justin


JustinSlick

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Its a shame that one can't adjust the various lighting parameters in Podium and see an approximation in the Sketchup scene in real time. That'd make it all a little more obvious.


A live preview window is actually a goal, and I think it's a relatively high-priority item on the roadmap.  I agree, a more dynamic workflow is very nice.  ProWalker, our GPU powered animation/visualization plugin works this way, where lighting changes are immediately shown in the viewport.  We don't have a time-frame on getting something similar into Podium though.

But anyway -- The second and third images don't actually seem under-lit to me!  The LEM strategy you've used is working, though you're right about the glare.  If you set the LEM to "hidden" in the material properties window you shouldn't see a direct reflection on the cabinets.

We almost never recommend the "high intensity" check box.  In addition to the off-camera LEM, the best way to brighten an interior is to use the interior_bright presets and set the intensity/exposure as high as necessary in the options menu. The intensity/exposure sliders are... subtle; you pretty much need to move them all the way to see much of a difference.

If you used interior_bright_default on the third image, for example, I think the lighting would be pretty close to where you want to be.

Finally, you'd be surprised how much you're able to tweak lighting results in post-processing, using either PIE or Photoshop.  I would consider every one of these (except probably the first) to be within an acceptable range, where you can pretty much pull the result you're looking for out of the information that's already contained in the image.

Even using the first image (which is the most marginal of the four), you can brighten it up to something like this very easily:

  img-1-example.jpg 

This process is even more versatile if you render to HDR, which contains a FAR wider range of lighting information than a regular 8-bit jpeg/png.

So to summarize:

1. Use "hidden" checkbox to eliminate glare on cabinets.
2. Use interior_bright presets to further brighten the image if needed.
3. It takes a bit longer, but I actually recommend doing test renders with the "default" presets, as they are more accurate.
4. Don't be afraid to brighten an image in post.  Post-processing is an important part of the workflow, just as it is in photography. And it is far more efficient to fine-tune your illumination levels in an image editor than in the render engine. PIE makes this very fast and easy. 

Hope that helps some!




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Bob_CP

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Reply with quote  #5 
That helps a lot, Justin, thank you.
bigstick

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Reply with quote  #6 
The key thing to remember about lighting is to try and keep it simple and duplicate the lighting you would expect to see in real life.

This means never making physical surfaces emit light. This doesn't happen in reality, so it's never going to look realistic. LEMs simulate light sources not physical surfaces. You can do it if you need a quick hack which is a cheat, but otherwise, don't do it.

The best way to deal with this, is pretty much what you have done, turn SU shadows on, which enables sunlight and shadows in Podium, and choose an interior preset. The brighter presets boost lighting levels generally.

Adding a large LEM behind the camera simulates high levels of indirect bounced light. This could be from a camera flash, or it could be from a large window out of view behind the camera somewhere.

There is some useful information about lighting and presets here.



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pmolson

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Reply with quote  #7 
That unsightly glare you mentioned can be fixed by:

1. turn the material reflection level way down on cabinets and floor. 2 or 3 is usually fine on cabinets and floors.

2. uncheck blurred reflection unless you really need it.

3. Use the highest quality preset your time budget allows.

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arqcova

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Reply with quote  #8 
I agree with every Tip, just my opinion, you keep going and check different ways of lighting a scene (think as a photographer would light the scene you want to show) did he use the sun? Did he use some flash on te back? maybe a couple of reflectors on the side in almost all the interior renders with enough light from the sun you never have to add any more lights on it, the light it will flow naturally 
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Bob_CP

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Reply with quote  #9 
arqcova, pmolson & bigstick

Thanks to all for your tips. I really appreciate the help. I'm far better at modeling scenes than rendering - at present. But with the help of a community like this, I expect I'll get much better.

Bob
arqcova

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Reply with quote  #10 
You can do it!
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