View Full Version : Advice on lighting?

07-13-2013, 12:04 AM
I'm an engineer who is trying to do renders of exploded views of some mechanisms. I seem to be having trouble getting the lighting to show everything well. I want it to look natural, but it seems like details I need to show are getting lost in shadows more than I would like. The lighting seems like it's generally a bit harsh, if that's the right term (don't know since I'm just an engineer).

I've noticed that if you look at images of any Apple products, for example, the lighting seems to be much more uniform. I guess that has something to do with the insanely elaborate lighting they use (http://connect.dpreview.com/post/8243287005/apple-photographer-peter-belanger), and I certainly don't expect to be able to replicate that in anywhere near its entirety. But I was wondering if anyone could give any general tips on how to get nice lighting for showing products where you're not really trying to see dramatic reflections etc like that make a car look good, for example. I seem to get a lot of some areas being blown out and others being too dark.

07-13-2013, 12:40 AM
Hi krk1, try using a larger light source (create a plane and apply emissive material to it) relative to the size of your exploded view. The larger the light source, the softer the light will be (less harsh shadows). Here's a quick article regarding size: http://improvephotography.com/285/how-to-soft-light-portrait-photography/

07-14-2013, 06:31 PM
Thanks for the tips. Very useful.

07-15-2013, 06:28 AM
or if you don't want to dive into things that deep, look for a softly lit hdri environment with even lighting, such as "Soft Studio".

07-15-2013, 05:37 PM
I agree with Dave. You don't really need to artificially increase your render time by adding emissive planes in your scene. Start off with a decent studio. If you want pretty even lighting try out the hanger. It would have been nice of the photographer to white balance those first, but you can do that with a free software called HDRshop. It takes a few clicks. No photoshop skill needed. Just select a neutrally colored area and hit the white balance button. (not all images will have a white/grey somewhere in it, but most will) Using the hangar your images will come out pretty blue, but it will be pretty evenly lit from all sides because the floor is even white/near white. Most indoor shots look great too but come out too orange due to the lights and/or wood floor. Whitebalancing an hdr is a Great trick to learn.

If you want to go creating your own lights, hdr studio is a Fantastic piece of software. I'm sure you can find everything you'll need in the community though.