Architectural Visualization with C4D and Octane: Lighting the Sunny Afternoon Look

Photo of Brandon Clements

Instructor Brandon Clements

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  • Duration: 11:03
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In this video, we will begin to light our scene using a variety of techniques to create a sunny afternoon lighting scenario.



Hello, and welcome back. And in this video, we're going to talk about how to do some different lighting techniques and setups inside of our Arc-Viz project. So the first thing we're going to talk about is a Sunny Afternoon setup. So if you look in the scene and you open up and you're following along, I kind of have three different setups here at the top with the different HDR environment tags. And the first one we're going to talk about is this Sunny Afternoon. You know, I've added this annotation tag, so we can go through the different elements in the scene and break them down and add those values in pretty quickly. So the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to go and find the light bulb, and I'm going to set it to 1.5. So an easy thing that we can do is just use our search and type in light bulb. So they're here in our Material Editor, so let's go ahead and open them. Go into Emission, and we're going to set both of these to 1.5, and clear our search. And then we need to also look at unhiding all of our bounce cards. So that's going to be these reflectors right here. So these are actual lights in the scene. I like to just hide them in the viewport. And then we'll go ahead and enable this bounce card as well. The next thing I have is just these candles that are on the actual ottoman. So we're going to go down to the flame and just make sure that those are turned off as well. And it looks like they are. Okay. So now that we're prepared, let's actually go ahead and load this into Octane. And I'm going to make this a little smaller for us, and we'll let that actually load. And it's actually going to take a little bit because we're going to load in all the shaders and all of the geometry is going to be stored in 2.0 Cloud data. It's going to be sent straight to the GPU. So this is the CPU on your workstation working right now to gather everything up and put it onto the GPU. So in theory, if you have a really fast CPU, then this process is going to be a little bit quicker. So it's going to be dependent per machine. And if you actually have this going on a network render, this is going to be controlled from the master, and the master is going to package up all this data, and it's going to send it off to the slaves. Now that everything is loaded up in Octane, there's some things I wanted to point out. So we can look at our used, free, and total VRAM. So we're using about 3.8 gigs of our VRAM. And we have about 752 megs left. And we have a total of six gigabytes. I have four 9 ATIs in this rig. So if we actually look at our settings, then you can see here the cards that are actually available to us to use on this workstation. So the final render that we're going to do is at 4K, and you can see that this is going to be great when you have multiple GPUs because our project is going to be able to scale very nicely. So if we look at the HDR environment, the environment that I'm using is from CG-Source. And there are so many great HDRs that are available. I wanted to direct you guys to this one here. If you could just Google 0086-04, this is just a really great kind of plain sky. There's no ground. It's just, actually, just a lot of blue in this incredibly intense sun that you can see here. So if we go and we click Edit, we're going to open Photoshop. Once everything is loaded into Photoshop, at the bottom, I have an exposure value range. And I just want to go ahead and show that once we go down to these very small numbers here, if you notice my info palette, if we go ahead and change this to 32-bit and I scroll over the sun, we get extremely high values here. So this is what is able to create really nice cool shadows in our scene. As we go down lower, you can see that the sun is very small. And if you think about this in area lights, the smaller the source, the harder the shadows are going to be. And that is the same with HDRs. So we just double-click it, we'll go back to the normal exposure. And in everything in this image has been toned map pretty well so that we don't get a whole lot of blue overcast in our scene. As Cineversity subscribers, we have access to maximize HDRs, and he has an incredible amount of exteriors. So please go through those and try those out. The goal for this type of lighting scenario is we just need an incredibly intense sunlight. We don't want to be distracted by anything outside. We want to keep the attention focused inside. And we also need enough lighting data from the sun to be able to push inside into the interior and have those portals working for us really well to direct all the light rays into the scene. So if we look at the settings, I went ahead inside of the image texture node and we adjusted the power to 8 and the gamma to 1.2. Now I adjusted the gamma to 1.2. As you increase this gamma, you're going to get more contrast into your HDRs and that's going to allow you to have sharper shadows. But be warned, if this goes too high, you're going to start to introduce a lot of noise. So values that are going to be too high are going to cause some artifacts. If we go up a level, you can see, I just rotated a little bit, and slightly offset the rotation Y so that we can get it pointed in the direction the scene that we need. So real quick, I just want to hide the reflectors. And now, we can observe the difference between the lighting scenarios with and without the reflectors. So why the reflectors and why did we cut holes in the back part here that's reflecting in the glass. This is actually coming and spilling this kind of blue into the scene. So the reflectors are basically to warm up the scene. We're trying to imply with our lighting that there are more fixtures behind us, that the house is actually open, and you have incandescent light spilling onto the back of this furniture here. In this case right now, the first thing I would think about is everything behind the camera is open to the environment. We get a lot of natural blue. This is something you see a lot with HDR lighting, and it just doesn't feel natural for me looking at an interior. I don't get any clear indication of what's actually behind this furniture. But when we turn on the reflectors and we let the bounce card and everything come back into the scene, notice the difference once it loads back up. Now the scene suddenly feels a lot more grounded, and it feels like our interior is kind of closed off. And we can control how this looks by adjusting the material on the bounce card, and, of course, adjusting the color temperature and the power on the reflectors. And just to show you how the reflectors are placed, they're basically put on either side of the camera, pointing back into the room. So every time I tried to do renders, I think about what it would be like if I was a director on set or a DP, what's the most practical way to set up the look that I want, and then try to achieve that using real-world scale inside of our software? And Octane works amazing because it's just unbiased, and it's going to work predictably, and you can iterate really quickly. And when you have clients that are needing this ASAP, you can create these different kind of version files and send them different looks. Okay. One last thing, I want to compare the HDR that we have in the scene to the Octane daylight sky system. So let's just go ahead and hide all this and let that load up real quick. So the reason why I don't really like to use these kind of preset daylight in lighting rigs is just because I don't have a whole lot of control over the environment in terms of the exposure of the environment. You know, obviously, I can't change and take this into Photoshop like I can with HDRs. Of course, we could change the sky color and mess around with the sun color. And we can also mix the sky texture here with this checkbox and the actual HDRs that we have. But to me, that feels like it's kind of defeating the purpose. If you have good Reality Capture, and you're a skilled artist or you know some skilled artists who are pulling really good real-world data, I feel like that's very hard to beat. And I feel like these tools can really give kind of a color cast into the scene. They don't give that same presence and indirect light as actual HDRs do. We can't actually talk full-circle about lighting without talking about our camera, and really, the two go hand-in-hand. The harmonious relationship between a camera and lights is the strongest tool as storytellers that we have to direct the audience, and mood, and feel of the scene. So let's go ahead and look at the Thin Lens tab here. So you can see my F-Stop is quite high just because I wanted to kind of rid as much depth of field as I could from the scene. My focal point is definitely in the middle of the room. Out of habit, one of the things that I like to do is to increase the aperture aspect ratio. What this will do is make it feel like it was shot anamorphic. Another thing, too, that I like to mess with is the aperture edge. And when you increase this number, you're going to get strong bokeh effects in your depth of field. Nothing too crazy here. I've increased the exposure just a tiny bit to my liking. Also turned up the gamma to get a little bit more crunch into the scene and get a little more contrast. I took the highlight compression down to kind of cool down some of those really hot intense area since we're using a very intense power on our HDR. The response curve is just a color that I like. I like this Futura 400CD a lot. I tend to keep coming back to this. Neutral Response is off. A little bit of vignetting, saturation keeping the same, Hot Pixel Removal is at 0.2. I usually leave this around 0.7, but I roped it down even further this time just because we have really intense lighting information. And I have a little bit of post-processing just so we can make it feel more like it was taken with a camera. So this will conclude the lighting setup for this warm sunny feel with all of this different light flooding into the scene. Now, we're going to talk a lot more about how to amplify this in post, and make it look a lot nicer. We're also going to be able to talk about the render settings in the more technical aspects. This video and the two to come for the Golden Hour in the Night, I just wanted to talk to you guys a little bit about my creative thoughts and how I actually go about lighting these scenes. So thank you, guys, so much. I hope you learned a lot. And we'll see you in the next video. Take care.
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