The scene for Strip #282 (“In Bitter Hive”) is now set up too differently from my regular scene files. However, there are a couple notable changes that contribute to the harsh green lighting effects. First of all, the lights. In addition to my regular lighting rig, I added a secondary render using some specialized lights. Note that most of the parameters listed are specific to 3ds max.

The basic scene layout is shown here, from a top view:

Okay… The “standard” light setup uses a pair of spot lights and a Mental Ray “sky light” in order to produce my shadow pass.

Mental Ray Sky light:

  • Scene environment is a light gray
  • Standard white light
  • Full intensity: 1.0

Spot lights:

  • No shadows
  • Standard white light
  • Medium intensity: 0.6
  • 25% hotspot falloff used to give a soft blend into darker areas
  • angled so that they are roughly 25-50 degrees to the left and right of the camera’s directional axis

To this setup, I added a quartet of tinted omni-directional lights, inside the sphere of light surrounding te globe device in the middle of the room. This lent the impression that the greenish glow is coming from the glowing orb itself. I also allowed these lights to cast shadows, helping pinpoint the light source, even when it wasn’t seen in the… scene. 😉

Omni lights:

  • positioned inside the glowing sphere, so it looks like it is the room’s light source
  • faint (intensity 0.3)
  • Far attenuation (so it fades out in the corners)
  • Mint green-ish in color (R: 118 G:205 B:147)
  • Ray-traced shadows

Next up, here’s a screenshot of the scene in wireframe mode, showing th ecamera viewpoint of the second panel in the strip:

From this angle, the glowing orb itself is not visible, but we’ll see it’s effects when we render:

For contrast, let’s compare that image with the render from the “regular” lighting setup. I use the sky light and two spotlights to give me a generalized, well-lit scene without shadows:

Since I render without shadows on the color pass, I render a second, “shadow” pass for every panel, using ambient occlusion settings. I’ve already covered the how & why of the ambient occlusion pass, on this page: LINK. For this panel, here’s the shadow pass:

I render all these aspects of the panel separately at 1700px wide by 2100px high. This allows me to fit each panel into a range of panel dimensions and cropping as desired when assembling the strip in Photoshop. The first step in Photoshop involves a couple layer copies of the main “colour” render, the first one set to “Screen” at around 35%, and the second set to “Overlay” at around 35%. This serves to “punch up” the colour & contrast for the panel:

For the hive scenes, I next add in the green-hued omni-light render and do whatever scene compositing fits my fancy:

Last step! No I add in the “shadow” pass on top of it all, and set the layer type to “Multiply”:

Note the overly bright hotspot on the wall… That happens sometimes if I don’t have the camera angled just right. in this case, I got lazy and rather than re-render the scene, I just covered this up with a word balloon.