Image Based Lighting

One of the cool things about creating art using a computer is that you have unlimited choice to alter, adapt and update a composition of an image that you are working on. When I’m working on art for a game, I often like to render the scene out to get a better view on my progress. Maya is very good at rendering scenes using its default lighting. But what if that’s not enough? Well we could create some lights of our own, maybe the 3 point light setup. That could be time consuming, and I just want to have a decent render for checking purposes.

Maya allows us to take advantage of a technique called image based lighting

Image based lighting is a rendering technique that takes advantage of High Dynamic Range images or HDRi for short. Most modern cameras and Smart Phones can now take these, which presents some interesting options for us. You can use your own panoramic HDR images taken with your smartphone, to create a dynamic background and lighting tool. Here is an example of how you can make a simple model look spectacular using HDR images for lighting.

A model of my dream car that I made, a Ford GTO.

Ford GTO in wire frame screenshot. Not a very interesting scene. Default lighting.

Read More