Jeremy Vickery’s Lighting workflow

Recently I came across a Gnomon Masterclass called Efficient Cinematic Lighting with Jeremy Vickery, a lighting artist at Pixar. This is how he does lighting.

1) Apply mib_ambient_occlusion on ambient color of every visible material.

2) Add a huge spotlight for key/sunlight.

3) Use depth map shadows, no raytracing at all.

4) Have lots of area lights to simulate diffuse and bounce. Put them at places where light enters (windows), on floors (bounce), near objects where we expect to see shadows.

5) Use some to cast only specular, where needed.

6) Use the glow shader to simulate bloom from a strong light source.

7) Add environmental fog and maybe even volume fog shader for cheap environmental effects.

Being in Pixar, he mostly light for cartoony or stylized scenes. Much of these are achieved with procedural textures, glow shaders for light source and depth map shadows which are softened. By the way, this guy is a really good digital painter as well! Go visit his website!

It’s all cheating in CG world. We don’t simulate what is real, we just do what is cheap and good. The render above takes less than 2 seconds using the technique!


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