Kent Trammell (theluthier)

402 replies · posted

[ENDED] BC4-1810 - October 2018 Class Homepage - Shading & Lighting with Blender

I published a collection of my light match .blend files, as was discussed during the class. You're welcome to reference those if you'd like. Also here's links to the reels shiennar put together:

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #4 (Oct 31, 2018): Class is officially over! Please check the closing post and don't forget to fill out the questionnaire 🙇🏻‍♂️

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #3 (Oct 9, 2018): Grades for week 1 homework are recorded. Feel free to keep an eye on this spreadsheet (BC4-1810 tab at the bottom) throughout the month. Please let me know if I miss anything!

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #2 (Oct 3, 2018): 4 mighty Citizens have heeded the call to become Volunteer Assistants (VA's). They are: silentheart00, thecabbagedetective, csehz, and galledark. This means that between the 5 of us, there should always be a helpful presence both in this homepage thread and your individual homework threads throughout the month. Thank you VA's!

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #1 (Oct 1, 2018): Class is officially in session! Check the syllabus below for Week 1's focus and assignments. Begin watching the pre-recorded courses if you haven't already and I'll see you tomorrow at the first Live Event! 💡


Welcome to the CGCookie Class: Shading & Lighting with Blender! The art of shading and lighting your Blender scenes and models can make or break your renders. It's a very important - even enlightening - skill to develop as a 3D artist.

This "Class" format invites all Citizen members to focus together on a particular topic/skill for a month. Participation looks like this:

  • RSVP and attend the Live Events
  • Watch the pre-recorded education outlined below
  • Ask questions, answer other's questions
  • Submit homework by creating a unique forum thread to contain all your homework submissions for the month.
  • Generally be active in this homepage thread and other's homework threads.

WHEN? The class will take place from October 1st - Oct 30th.

✅  WEEK 1: Shading & Lighting Primer (Oct 1-7)

Abstract: There are some core concepts to lighting and shading (S&L) that need to be understood first. Things like global illumination, render engines, shaders, materials, and node networks some of the things we will be over-viewing this first week. I

Goal of the Week: Familiarize (or re-familiarize) ourselves with core S&L concepts.

Pre-recorded course to watch:

Week 1 Live Event (Remember to RSVP)


✅  WEEK 2: Vehicle Shading & Lighting with Eevee (Oct 8-14)

Abstract: The Eevee render engine is the latest and greatest rendering tech in Blender and we're going to stretch its legs for week 2. The subject is going to be a sports car, but any vehicle will do. After all many of us spent this past June modeling vehicles and we're eager to get them lit and pretty!

Some topics we'll cover along the way include materials like car paint, rubber, metal, and leather along with HDRI environment lighting.

Pre-recorded courses to watch:

  • Shading the Sci-Fi Helmet - While this course isn't a vehicle, the aspects taught are very relevant (metal, paint, wear and tear). The first two chapters are about texturing which you can skip. Chapter 3 is the important stuff for this class

Week 2 Live Event (Don't forget to RSVP)


  • Find a vehicle model, use one of your own, or download this vehicle modelThen light it and shade it with Blender 2.8 and Eevee in a manner that's meant to impress.[Post a screengrab/render to your BC4-1810 homework thread]
  • Lighting Match #1: This light matching exercise is based on this thread where the assignment is to find a 3D render we like and do our best to match it. Use your own model of anything, find one on, or use the same attached vehicle model. [Post a screengrab/render next to your chosen source render (post to your BC4-1810 homework thread)]

✅  WEEK 3: Lighting Characters with Blender (Oct 15-21)

Abstract: Character lighting is a very intentional art and how to do it well is often a mystery. This week we'll look at how to develop striking character renders, build simple materials that accentuate your model, and even the concept "painting" you character with light for surreal effects.

Pre-recorded courses to watch:

Week 3 Live Event (Don't forget to RSVP)


  • Find a character model (from sketchfab or blendswap), use one of your own, or download the this goblin characterThen light it and shade it in a manner that's meant to impress.[Post a screengrab/render to your BC4-1810 homework thread]
  • Lighting Match #2: Just like the week 2 light match but with a different source render for a new light setup to match. Repetition makes the exercise stick, plus it's just fun.

✅  WEEK 4: Shading & Lighting an Arch Viz Scene (Oct 22-28 )

Abstract: Arch viz rendering is often a coveted skillset among lighten enthusiasts. This week we're looking at lighting interior architecture for realism, featuring natural outdoor light from windows and artificial light from light fixtures. We'll also explore creating the necessary materials for our interior.

Pre-recorded course to watch:

Week 4 Live Event (Don't forget to RSVP)


  • Find an interior model (from sketchfab or blendswap), use one of your own if you've built one, or download this bathroom scene or this kitchen scene. Then light it and shade it a realistic manner. [Post a screengrab/render to your BC4-1810 homework thread]
  • Lighting Match #3: Just like the week 2 and 3, find a third source render to match its lighting.

✅ Class Wrap-Up Stream (October 30th)

We'll be doing a 5th live stream to review week 4 homework and close out the class.

This thread is reserved for CG Cookie Citizens that are participating in the "Shading & Lighting with Blender" class. Its purpose is to serve as central communication for all participating Citizens (excluding Hobby plan Citizens) to ask Kent and fellow participants questions and to post homework. As the instructor of the class, Kent will be monitoring this thread on a daily basis (especially Mon-Thurs) throughout the month of October to review homework and answer questions.

Free members are welcome to observe the thread but please respect that communication and participation is reserved for Citizens.

  • This is the first class I've taken on CGCookie and I really like the format.  Are the other classes still available or planned to be rerun?

    • crew

      ccthulusan I'm glad you're enjoying the format! Yes I will certainly schedule more classes soon including reruns. In next week's stream (class conclusion stream, to be scheduled asap) I'm going to discuss the immediate future of streaming and classes.

  • theluthier  i am sorry i worked so long and i am too late but i finished both homeworks .
    again sorry for the late homework .

  • theluthier Here's a reminder to provide your Kitchen Scene 😄

  • Also here to remind you about the Kitchen Scene. Also also here to remind you about the










  • Its ok if the scene for this week homework is focused  on something more industrial like?

  • Not sure how to get that first one rotated but...

    This last weekend, I was at the Dallas Arboretum and took these. I show them, because they show lighting like we've been talking about this month. this first I intentionally took because of the rim lighting.

    This second one I took in the shadows and is an example of a scene primarily lit by diffuse (indirect) lighting.

    And this last is in direct sunlight, lighting it as it from a single Key light.

    The first I did take for the rim but looking through the others I took I saw these. and that rim on the pumpkins wasn't the only rim I was noticing. I saw it in faces and lots of other places. I think I took a lot of these more for reference if I wanted to model a pumpkin or try to texture one, but I can see how this shows a lot of what we've been talking about too.

    And as I'm posting this... I'm even noticing contact shadows and more :D

  • Woohoo! 2-3 weeks before Blender 2.8 Alpha 3 Beta!

  • theluthier Here's the render I had made with the furniture, I'll try to make it better for the homework because I haven't been able to figure out what is wrong with it. It probably is the lighting but it can also be the aesthetics, that is bad decoration maybe? perhaps the materials on the assets. Also Blender was giving me a hard time at rendering.

    This is a render without the assets, lighting feels cleaner.

    And this is what I'm aiming at, that clean, white subtle light and realistic feel in the image

    • crew

      dostovel I can kinda see what you mean about darkening upon adding furniture. Still I don't think it's unrealistic. Perhaps lightening the furniture would help. Make it a light grey couch instead of dark grey; same for the ottoman.

      Also what are your bounces up to? Using the "full global illumination" preset should brighten up significantly if you're not using it already.

    • theluthier It's at full global illumination, 128 bounces all over. Denoising makes it look all smooshy and sploshy, so I was going to bump up the samples really high so denoising doesn't have to work so hard. 

      Maybe I'm being too hard on myself, but I think it looks really bad. I'm aiming at the quality of the renders you showed on the presentation. I'm going to start the scene from scratch, take out all the furniture, re-think the interior decoration and re-think the lighting and check the materials as well as Blender settings.

    • crew

      dostovel I really think the S&L is NOT the problem with your render. I think it's the architecture style and decor. Everything I showed in the presentation is intentionally decorated as if for a magazine. Looking at your render I classify it as a very realistic but generic apartment. It reminds me of where I lived in college. Nothing against apartments like this but is it something you'd find in a decor or architecture magazine? Not likely.

      That's the big issue imo. Let the "magazine factor" guide your archviz efforts.

    • theluthier Alrighty, I'll put the efforts to try and get the feel of "wow look at this place, let's get outta here, this guy is surely doing something illegal" lifestyle apartment look.  

    • dostovel well damn. Just look at that. It's amazing. Don't think it's bad I asked 4 people here and all of them loved them. Really don't think it's bad. It's really great. At least I love what I am seeing 

    • yyukinoh1989 Thanks Yukino. I guess there's no other way with art than to always be unhappy with what you do becuase you're the one that made it. Maybe it's the only way to get better and better. 

      Hey n647 is that from Final Fantasy 7? where Sephiroth was kept or somewhere along those lines?

    • dostovel yea, well was where Jenova was being keept in nibel reactor, want to make the glass broken like jenova has already been taken

  • theluthier there is "45" instead of "Week2" written in a spreadsheet

  • theluthier  what will be the best focal length for the camera in Arch viz scene ?

    • mmalhomsi wow that's a good question! Hadn't thought about that yet..

      With my 'real' camera I would pick my 50mm for close ups of certain details and my 35mm for a wide angle shot to get the whole room in the photo (while standing with my back against a wall to get the most in 😛). But you get some distortion with the wide angle lens and I don't think Blender has a correction function for that like Lightroom has for instance? So I'm very curious what theluthier would pick for a 3D scene, guess totally different 😬 Also I never really photographed interiors so what do I know? 😜

    • "

      ssmurfmier1985  thank u for ur answer :)  i m modeling my "blender corner " at home and i'm using true world scale in my scene  , but i'm having hard time setting my camera angle and focal length ! i know Nothing about photography :( 

    • mmalhomsi Cool idea!!

      There are lots of videos on YouTube which can get you up to speed in no time 😀

      A list of common settings:

      Focal length

      • 35 mm for wide angle shot, often used for outdoor/nature
      • 50-60mm for portrets/characters, this comes closest to what the human eye sees
      • Anything above is zoom


      • 1.8 gives extreme amount bokeh, soft edges of your subject, a lot of depth of field -> I usually find this too extreme, but it has its artistic purposes 
      • 2.8 - 4 is what I usually use for portraits, sharper details but still lots of bokeh
      • 4-8 is what I also use for close ups of objects
      • Higher than this means sharper details, but also sharper backgrounds so less bokeh/depth of field , which I would use for stuff like nature scene etc.

      Note that I am just an amateur photograph hobbyist, so I'm at no expert at all, not even close! These are just some values I've learned through observation and have come to like throughout the years. Hopefully they can give you a starting point.

    • ssmurfmier1985  this is very helpfull ! thank u for u help and kindness  ! 

  • This is s useful tip when it comes to architectural renders:

  • crew

    I can't offer better advice than ssmurfmier1985 about camera settings! I'd bet she knows more about cameras / photography than I do.

    Personally, I don't go too crazy with camera focal lengths. I know from my wife's photography interest that 50mm, 35mm, and 16mm (I think) are viable realworld camera lenses. So I typically jump between those and see what I like in Blender. Though I usually start out at 60mm as I've found to be my preference. I was taught in school that 35mm is equivalent to the human eye..

    All that to say: I try to stick to values that have realworld standards but ultimate decide on artistic taste and what achieves my goals (like seeing the whole room vs dof-heavy focus on a particular object).

    Very interesting tip from Chris Plush. I'd never considered the 2-point perspective thing for architecture 👌

  • i the only one wjho cant download the bathroom scene?

  • Just a few questions about the bathroomscene. Is it a really heavy scene cause cycles seems particularly slow, slower than in 2.79. And why does it feel like the hdri is shining trough my mesh when using eevee? Is there something wrong with hdri in 2.8?

    • aarev I'm not using the scene theluthier provided, but in my scene I also experienced problems with the HDRI doing funky things in Eevee. They got fixed after I added light probes (irradiance & reflection cubemap) and baked the indirect lighting. Also I reccomend using a reflection plane light probe for the mirror to get better reflections there.

    • ssmurfmier1985 I see, anyway i started anew in 2.79. The scene was running so sluggish in 2.8. Now in 2.79 its all good.

    • aarev All righty, 2.79 is more stable so I totally understand. Cycles will have no problems with the HDRI, and its less fiddely, so more power to you! looking forward to your end result :)

    • crew

      aarev The bathroom scene shouldn't be particularly high in polycount - not like the sportcar model from week 2. It's not a game-ready scene though as that's not the goal. The scene isn't that slow for me in Cycles and I'm on a 5 year old mac..

      I know the light-showing-through-walls issue with Eevee though. As far as I can tell it's an Eevee quirk due to limited physically accuracy compared to Cycles. Part of the reason I suggested Cycles. nekronavt do you have any tips to avoiding this issue?

    • theluthier I already shared this in my homework thread, but I'll also share it here since more people read this thread I think. 

      Have been fiddling a lot with Eevee the past couple of days, through trial and error I'm finally getting some good results :)

      Hope these tips help if you're struggling to get realistic lighting and shadows:

      Tips for anyone using Eevee: 

      • Using light probes to get realistic results is a MUST. Add an irradiance and a reflection cube, and then bake the indirect lighting. 
      • To get even better shadows, use multiple irradiance light probes. That way you get more samples of those, which in the end gives a more realistic result in the shadows (does take longer to bake so keep that in mind).
      • Use an extra smaller irradiance light probe in problem areas, like under a cabinet which is 'floating' a bit above the ground. This way the shadows underneath will look much better.
      • If you have a mirror in your scene, use a reflection plane light probe to get better and less distorted reflections.

      Also in regard to the issue aarev had, the HDRI shining through -> this gets fixed after baking the indirect lighting :)

    • ssmurfmier1985 That summary of your experiences is awesome Miranda, thanks a lot.

      Could you please have a short look  on this pic, just trying the lights there and Eevee is rendering some strange circle in the middle in the mirror, what can be that?

    • csehz Hi Zsolt, You're quite welcome 😊

      I experienced such artifacts  when a light source is too close to, or shining directly into, a very reflective surface. Had this mostly with area lights (those area lights do not yet understand how awesome Eevee is, so they're teasing us a bit 😛). 

      You could try to move away / rotate some of the lights, or change it to another type of lamp to see if that helps. Sometimes it also helps to change a material that a light goes through, or bounces against near a reflective surface, to a more rough surface (so less reflective). 

      I don't know from which light source it's coming in your scene, but if it's the lights next to the mirror, and above suggestions don't work, then you might have to move the lights to another position, turn them off or even delete one or both... 

      If it's coming from the outside light source it's probably from a round area light or spot light? If so I recommend changing it to a sun lamp. Had the least problems with sun lamps those seem to be well integrated.

      Also a question to be sure, are you using a reflection plane for the mirror? That also helps to get rid of weird reflections.

      Hope this helps!

    • those area lights do not yet understand how awesome Eevee is, so they're teasing us a bit 😛

      ssmurfmier1985 Exactly that is the approach! :-) 

      Thanks just again yes probably light source is too close to the mirror, anyway no I am not using reflection plane yet, but per your question will try to Google how to use it.

  • theluthier

     I see Wes is now a Unity Training Course 😂

    This problem occured before during last class I think, guess the web dev guy hasn't fixed it for you yet...

  • theluthier 


    Just to be sure,

    I see the class wrap stream starts 1 hour earlier than normally, is this correct  ??

  • hey guys i might try tomorrow to work on my model. now i have a problem .
    I would like to add blood above the principle shader (this gives the mess the collor) the blood is done in the diffuse shader and i somehow want that to layer it above the principle BSDF shader . right now i use a mix node but then i lose eighter the collor of the mess or i dont see the blood anymore .
    i have been trying to think of a way to solve this but i cant think well since of the medication i am taking sadly.

  • In some of the live streams Kent showed this image which has a background I so much like, also played with it at the beginning of the week during some hours, but finally gave it up it will not be my light match, since having no clue how that white sparkling shine comes from the bottom :D

    Knowing the methods of Kent there has to be a cylinder object probably in the background and only area lamps used, but being not sure the color of the cylinder is blue or just the light? And at the bottom the white is so strong that washing out the blue color? But the gradiants are so nice delicate there that it can not be so strong, did someone maybe tried this at some of the weeks? 

    Also in the right bottom corner maybe the floor is going down slightly, or just the white who knows

    • crew

      csehz Here's the .blend for that light setup if you want to take a look. The background cylinder is grey but the world is a teal color and the cylinder soaks up a lot of it. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by the white sparkling shine from the bottom 😅

      ..the gradiants are so nice delicate..

      Yeah gradients!

    • theluthier Thanks a lot that is very generous Kent providing the .blend file, I totally missed the color of the world out from the calculation, I understand the logic of the pattern now

  • What should i do when i want to credit an artist but he isnt showing his full name, shall i use the nick on their profile?

    • crew

      aarev Yes just so long as you're pointing to the artist the best you can. I'll credit the username if they don't show their full name. But I always hyperlink to the artist's portfolio (artstation for example), linkedin, facebook, twitter, or personal website. The link is more important than the name imo.