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Rendering an exterior at night in 5 simple steps, using vray
In this tutorial I will go through all the steps that we usually do when I¶m asked to do an ³exterior night-rendering´. In order to follow it you need to know the basics of 3ds max and vray. 1) Natural light The first step is to choose a background image of a sky. For this tutorial I have used the image bellow:
Now put the desired image into the environment slot (3d max¶s environment slot, not in vray¶s). In the vray settings, check global illumination, select lightcache for secondary bounces,irradiance map for primary (you could also use brute force, but it will take longer to render). In the global switches tab, make sure that ³default lights´ is unchecked. Last but not least go to the vray environment slot and check ³GI environment (skylight) override. In the slot right beside put a gradient (dark blue in the upper slot, a lighter blue in the middle and a pale orange or purple in the lower position)
If you hit render. you will end up with something like this: .
to simulate artificial lighting. We will begin by adding vray lights inside the house.) so you shouldn¶t put a light source and instance it all over the place. filter colors. etc. it is starting too look like a night rendering. The important thing to keep in mind at this point is that artificial light can look different from one case to another depending on many factors (intensity. color temperature. but at the moment it lacks artificial lighting so the spaces look deserted. For this scene I have used spherical vray lights with intensity multipliers varying from 1 to 2. Be creative and play with parameters like intensity multipliers. etc. .2) Adding artificial lights inside As you notice. If you hit another render you will end up with something very similar to the following. size of the space that is actually lit. filter colors with orange. yellow and blue tints and different a radius for each one.
Therefore we will place vray planar lights just in front of the windows. but the light doesn¶t seem to ³come out´ enough.3) Simulating artificial light ³spreading´ from inside Now we have light inside the house. pointing towards the exterior. Hit another test rendering and you should have something similar to the render bellow: . like in the following image.
For each vray light in the courtyard I have excluded the lighting post bellow it. Depending on your scene. What doesn¶t look right at the moment is the fact that the courtyard is too dark. In this particular scene. Hitting a test render at this stage you should obtain something like this: . you could place lights somewhere behind the camera.4) Adding artificial lights in the courtyard We are getting closer. adding lights to the lighting small garden lighting posts should be enough. or even exterior spotlights that illuminate the building. or even other buildings). than I have placed vray spherical lights over each one. car lights. First I have assigned them a vraylight material with a gradient map. so that you give the impression that the space is receiving illumination from neighboring sources (street lights. (If you want to do it more ³accurate´ check out the lampshade tutorialas well). and that¶s all that matters. but in the end it looks right. This is kind of a fake. If you don¶t have specific instructions for these. you may have exterior lighting fixtures (like the lighting posts that I have in this scene).
with different tints of red. you can also try some subtle brush strokes. 2) Never make the sky 100% black. After having done all of the above. the small lighting posts). don¶t be afraid to use motion blur. 6) Artificial light sources have a subtle glow around them. 7) If you have ³moving objects´ in your scene. yellow or orange to create diversity. you are aware that at night time photographers use high exposure times when . If you know a bit about photography. the sky will always be brighter and the ground would ³borrow´ a bluish or purple tint from the sky 4) The lighting is a mixture of dark purple/bluish tints at the upper part and orange/yellow on the ground and on the building(s). The best approach in my opinion is to take it systematically by starting with natural light. That is because the natural light blends with artificial light sources placed on the ground. and adding artificial lights one by one during the process. Here are some general guidelines that I always keep in mind when I¶m doing a night rendering: 1) Even at night time the skylight still casts a subtle shadow. If you are feeling creative. You can do this using the diffuse glow filter. you may find yourself lost not knowing where you did something wrong. Put the layer on ³color´ and play with the transparency until you like the result. here is the final image. 3) If there are no artificial lights on the ground. add a linear gradient from bottom to somewhere at the middle from orange to transparent. I can not stress enough how important is to have a few examples of professional architectural photography at hand and look at them at every stage of the process. (CLICK THE IMAGE TO VIEW A HIGH RESOLUTION RENDERING) Conclusion Rendering an exterior at night can be very tricky. it should have either a blue or a purple tint.5) Photoshop touches a) Add a subtle glow effect to the visible artificial light sources (in this case. Otherwise. 5) The colors are more saturated in a night rendering that in a daytime one. b) In a new layer.
If you think that I have missed something. etc) to appear with motion blur. people. . feel free to post a comment and let me know.they target architectural subjects. this causes all moving things around (cars.