Poser 8 Revealed: Adding Scene Lighting - Part 1
After you spend time posing your figure and positioning props and cameras, you’re ready to add lights to your scene. Poser is smart enough to include and enable several lights by default, but these lights provide the most basic scene lighting. Understanding the basics of lighting design will help as you position and configure lights to create a unique look.
All lights within the scene can be controlled using the Light Controls. The Light Controls let you change the position, color, number, and intensity of the scene lights. You can also change the light’s parameters and properties using the Parameter dials in the Parameters/Properties palette. If you don’t know where to start in configuring your lights and cameras, you can look in the Library palette for several examples of lighting presets that can help you as you start out.
Poser includes several light types, including Spot, Infinite, Point, and Image-Based Lights. Lights can also be set to cast shadows. Shadows can be either raytraced shadows with sharp edges or depth-map shadows that are more blurred. The Properties palette also includes options to enable ambient occlusion, which can be used in place of shadows to add depth to the scene objects; and Attenuation, which defines the falloff of the light intensity over distance.
Using the Material Room, you can enable some special effects for lights such as projecting lights. Poser also includes some specialized features that let you point lights at specific items in the scene. For example, you can point spotlights at a figure’s head or hands to always keep the figure lighted as it moves during an animation.
Image-based lights provide a way to create a realistic lighting environment by wrapping a specialized image around the scene. The image that is wrapped is called a light probe and it includes a broad range of light sources from a sampled environment.
Learn Basic Lighting Techniques
Poser’s default lighting setup is good for emphasizing poses, but understanding some of the basics of lighting design can help better establish the mood of your scene.
The most popular method for lighting a scene is called 3-point lighting design. This design uses three lights[md]a key light, a back light, and one or more fill lights. The key light is the main light source for the scene. It is typically positioned at 45 degrees from the horizon and off to the side to shine down at an angle. The key light should also be the only light that is set to cast a shadow. It should also be the most intense light in the scene.
The back light is positioned behind the scene objects where it doesn’t shine into the camera. It is used to highlight the silhouetting edge of the scene characters. The intensity of the back light should be about half the intensity of the key light.
The fill lights are positioned at ground level in front of the scene and used to highlight and add depth to the scene forms. There can be several fill lights depending on how the scene objects are positioned, but their total intensity shouldn’t exceed half of the intensity of the key light. Figure 7-1 shows the default figure, first with only the key light, and then with the key and back lights, and finally with key, back, and fill lights.