Orcrist Sword Project: Lighting, Rendering & Compositing

With the texturing process finished I moved on to lighting my scene.  I haven’t really dabbled into lighting seriously yet, but whenever I’m in Unreal engine its always something I enjoy fiddling with.  It’s my opinion that no matter how good your project is, it is either made or broken with lighting.  Did you know that animated movies can use hundreds of lights PER SCENE!!  One scene in Toy Story 2 had 283 lights!!  That’s crazy right?!  For this project however I was happy to settle with three lights.  I started with a spotlight which would shine directly on the sword revealing most of the information.  Then I created a Rim light to remove the silhouette and give it a subtle highlight from behind.  Then a Fill light completed the scene giving the sword a barely noticeable yellowish hue on the side.  I had animated the sword to rotate on the spot so I didn’t have to worry about moving lighting or the camera at all.

Screenshot 2015-08-27 21.46.17

With this done it was time to render the scene out, however with this project I wanted to get some practice with creating a proper demo reel.  This includes numerous animation passes with the model in it’s diffuse, shaded and wireframe modes so that viewers and potential recruiters can see how the model was constructed.  This required using the ‘Scene States’ tool in 3DS Max so I could easily switch back and forth between the model states in order to render much quicker.  I did run into a few minor issues because I kept forgetting to add my normal and specular maps to the passes before I clicked save.

Screenshot 2015-08-28 17.31.08 Screenshot 2015-08-28 17.31.20

After about 2 hours, the renders were complete and I threw the image sequences into Adobe Premier for compositing.  I was actually running short on time unfortunately so I simply threw the diffuse, shaded and wire pass’s together added a title for each sequence and then created some fade-in and outs.  Overall I’m happy with the sword, I learned a great deal about texture and mapping processes and also scene states to help with the rendering process.  The texturing process was a big let down for me as I got nowhere near the quality bar I wanted to achieve unfortunately, but I know now this all came down to lack of experience and knowledge.  I’ll be using the time I have over the holidays to learn as much as I can about all the modelling processes.

You can check out the model here: Orcrist Sword