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5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon. Any reproduction, copying or redistribution in any form is strictly prohibited.

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software



Waldemar Belwon is a 3D Graphics expert and coach. Founder of the Dreamlight 3D Club, the leading authority in 3D training for new and semi-pro artists since 2007. Creator of over 100 bestselling 3D light products, props and plug ins for DAZ Studio, for the DAZ 3D market since 2006. Professional 3D artist since 1999, working with animations, logos and short movies. Professional camera man, 2D graphics artist, photographer and video editor since 1993. Former computer game programmer / designer and digital music creator.

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


Image by Waldemar Belwon


It's time to put the darkness and confusion behind you. The techniques you're about to discover, will change the way you work with 3D light forever. Not only will you be able to light your scenes much faster and easier than before, you'll also find a new confidence that you thought you never had. My intention with this ebook is to give you a way to work with your 3D lighting that means precision and control. Most importantly, it means PREDICTION. How would you feel if you could envision your results, and they would just be there ­ time after time? This simply equals more joy when it comes to your 3D art creation, regardless of whether you're doing indoor out outdoor scenes, what 3D software you're using, or what tools you have at hand. Let's be perfectly clear about one thing: Art is about YOU--the artist within you. It's not about your tools. It's how you use those tools that defines your art...

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


Some of the things I will mention in this ebook might come as a shock to you. That's ok. You might even disagree with parts of it, but I know it works for me and for 100s of artists that I have been coaching. Therefore, at least for a moment, let go of everything you've ever learned about 3D lighting, and read this ebook with an open mind. Let's get started...

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


Image by Dorothy MItchell


What are the roadblocks most 3D artists face with lighting? To start with, 3D lighting is THE most frustrating and difficult topic in the world of 3D graphics. Why? Because it's endless. If you compare 3D lighting to real world lighting, you have several times the options right there... Not only do 3D lights behave differently than their real world counterparts, they also have a gazillion more options and features not found in our reality as we know it. In 3D you have no lamp cables to handle or trip over nor do 3D lights necessarily cast shadows. 3D lights can go straight through objects and be tweaked for extreme precision effects, leaving photographers and cinematographers feeling envious. Is this is a bad thing?

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


I'd say no, because we artists love our creative freedom, but since there are much options out there, the sheer amount of knowledge needed creates a massive headache to most new and semi-pro artists... Common issues include extensive use of the dreadful trial and error concept. Darn, that didn't work. Let's try this! Nope, that looks... not so good! How about this? Arrghhh! Not even close! #%&"!!! Without knowing what needs to be done and why, most artists are doomed to endless random tweaking and frustration beyond words. This often leads to overusing heavy post work effects, such as glow, smear or high contrast to cover the lack of lighting skills. When this happens, artists start to blame the #%&" software...

Common Lighting Frustrations

#1: #2: #3: #4: #5: #6: #7:

Trial and error Random results Endless tweaks Adding too many lights Overusing heavy post work Not knowing what to do and why Blaming the software

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


Image by Adam Hattrell


How can I be sure that what I teach works? I've been training and coaching 3D artists since 2007, and I `ve come to understand what works and what doesn't. I get emails on a weekly basis from artists who have found their joy with 3D art, which makes me very happy. Here's what a few 3D artists I've come to know under the last years have to say: "I would have never come this far in two years if it hadn't been for Dreamlight's vast list of e-books, video tutorials, forum help and particularly the live training. Written and video tutorials are a good start to understanding but for me the live training has opened my eyes to the possibilities. Plus you can ask questions. Waldemar's recent Light Master series of videos was the final piece of the puzzle, in regards to 3D lighting, that I needed. Whether its Area lighting, Radiosity or just Portrait lighting I now feel I can light any scene in any software. All I need now is to prove it to myself." Peter Thompson

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


"I have been working with Poser and 3D art since 2001, a decade now. I am currently taking your Light Master class. At first, I wasn't sure the class was going to be worth the money I was spending on it. After all, I had taken a lighting class in college. But I must say that I am almost all the way through the class, and I think it's extremely worthwhile. Your lessons are clear, and you break the concepts down in pieces that are welldesigned. I've been taking careful notes, since I find I learn better when I write the material down. Your class has improved both my understanding of 3D lighting, and my confidence in my ability to light my scenes and produce art I can be proud of. This is a problem I've been working on for a long time, mostly by trial and error. I realized years ago that lighting is the key to creating good 3D art. You can have the most expensive texture, props and characters in the world, but if you light them dead on, they'll look lifeless and flat. Your techniques make the same image pop. Please note that I teach online classes on writing, since I'm a published best-selling author under the pen name Angela Knight. I'm considered a pretty decent teacher, so I know a well-constructed lesson when I see one. I have found your class to be well-designed, intelligent, and if you'll excuse the expression, illuminating." Angela Knight ­ New York Times bestselling author

"If we are lucky, in our lifetime we earn the privilege of getting to know and work with someone who can only be described as a genius. Since 2005 I have watched Waldemar Belwon share the incredible genius he has for 3D Art with countless others all over the world in way that allows them to learn and grow from his seemingly limitless experience and talent. His patient and caring coaching style has empowered others to expand their understanding of what is possible to a point where the impossible, suddenly becomes reality!", Mike Lewis ­ Spain

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


Image by Waldemar Belwon


Not even close! I've actually stumbled upon 3D graphics back in 1999, when I was still working as a professional camera man and video editor. My first impression was "Whoa!" That's some seriously cool stuff! I freakin' loved computer games and everything that moved on a PC screen since early childhood and was hooked ever since. Now how did that work out? Of course, it didn't! But it was fun... kind of! Seriously, I was really blown away with the potential and all the pure coolness in front of me. But I couldn't even make a single render that looked something more than a crushed potato under a 30 ton bulldozer... I'm not the person that sits and reads loooong manuals or watches 2037 hours of video tutorials. Nope, I'm a searcher, the trial and error rebel maniac that turns everything up side down to find the answers... BAD MISTAKE! ;) Hey, no one is perfect...

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software Boy, if I could turn that one around... Nope, I was a cool dude, right? I were to figure this out, piece of cake... Fast forward 7 years... Hello? Anybody home?


Yeah, I made SOME progress, but I was still a million years away from the real masters out there... At least that's what it felt like! So, 7 years of trial and error didn't do it. Phew, as hard as it is to say--I still have to say it... Trial and error sucks!

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


Image by Waldemar Belwon


Now, what DID change things around ­ and actually came as surprise to me--was when I started teaching 3D graphics in 2007. Back then, I already had been doing a few bestselling 3D lighting products for the DAZ 3D market place, and with my background in photography and working as a professional camera man and video editor most of my life, things started to fall in place. Slowly, a pattern started to emerge from the darkness...Hang on, I'll get there! ;) Now, most 3D artists I came in contact with, via my Dreamlight 3D Club, showed the same symptoms: They were clueless! What surprised me though, was that most of them were using trial and error to light their images. I started teaching what I knew, breaking things down to its smallest components. It went so well, that I later started live training as well. After having produced over 100 lighting products for the DAZ 3D market place, many of which became best-sellers, I realized one day that I was pretty good at this! Something just clicked inside of me.

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software I had found what was missing...


I saw artists around me really PUSHING through, stretching, reaching out to realistic render engines in their quest for beautiful art. Did it work? Nope, still random results! So, what did I find out? The CORE of lighting was missing. What core? See, what goes into your scene as far as lighting goes, will come out on the other end, despite realistic render engines and cool tools such as radiosity... Before we dig deeper into the core, let's take a look at some myths around 3D lighting, since they keep artists away from doing what needs to be done.

The Missing Link

The core of lighting is the most important part of lighting, since it predates radiosity and realistic render engines. What you add as far as lighting goes, will come out on the other end, despite what tools you use.

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


Image by Dorothy Mitchell


Here are some of the most infuriating myths about 3D lighting out there... Myth #1: To be good at 3D lighting, you need an expensive high end 3D software. The truth: BS! You don't. 3D lighting is NOT in the software. It's within your skills. This is one of the most vicious myths of all time, and I'm shocked of how many really believe in this and actually pursue that LIE ­ and end up even more frustrated! Myth #2: To produce great lighting, you need a fast PC. The truth: Nope! Great 3D lighting, again--is not counted in your RAM, CPU horsepower or graphics card. There are ways of using 3D lighting in such ways, that even an ancient PC can deliver wonderful graphics. It's not what you have, it's HOW you use what you have. The techniques I teach involve mostly using a completely manual approach, since that gives you maximum control. Using manual lighting also has the advantage of rendering faster-- hence a slower PC doesn't need to be a huge issue.

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


Myth #3: To become good at lighting, you can just view a video tutorials or read a book and you're done. The truth: Not even close! See, through my coaching and mentoring experience, having trained over 1000 3D artists, and 100s via live training--I KNOW that most of them still have issues after seeing a video or reading a ebook. The thing is, you MUST practice and repeat what you do--until you get it. Now, the best way of doing this is to have access to a complete training and on top of that be in an environment that cares for you and supports you. Because when you're left alone with your newly found knowledge, chances are high that you will hit the wall and encounter some problems. This is not something I made up--I see this on a daily basis!

3D Lighting Myths:

#1: #2: #3:

You need a high end 3D Software You need a high end PC A video tutorial or a single book is what

it takes to become good at 3D lighting

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


Image by Waldemar Belwon


So, what is the core and how will it help you? You're ready for it? I call these the 5 steps to mastering 3D lighting. They will work in any 3D software.

Step 1: What You Need

To really master 3D lighting you need to learn two things... 1. Understand WHAT to learn 2. HOW to use what you know See, the number one mistake most artists make is to try to learn everything... Often at once too! ;) You don't have to! It's really about narrowing down what needs to be learned, thus eliminating most of the junk that's out there. Stuff that you really don't need! © Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


This makes things easier and faster from the start. Now that you only need to learn SOME stuff, it's suddenly becomes a lot easier to grasp! Ok, so what do you need to learn then?

Step 2: The Story

Most artists spend lots of time throwing in tons of lights into their scenes without really knowing what they do and why. Hence the random results we talked about earlier! Now, what differentiates beginner's and most pro's from real masters, is their use of light to ENHANCE the story of their images. What story? Exactly my point! When did you last really think about what you're trying to tell with your art? When you carefully place lighting so that it brings out the story of your image it really digs out what's important and leaves what's not slightly darker. You make your images POP into the eyes of the beholder. Wow! For example, when you have a scary scene, don't go overboard. Use scarcity at its best: less is actually scarier! Got a hero or a cool dude? Amp the contrast to bring out the coolness! Now, this goes way beyond what we can cover in this ebook, and touches deep psychological aspects of your renders, such as object placement, relationship with objects, lighting intensity and color to name a few. But I can tell you one important thing: Your eyes will go from dark to light, so you can use this to guide the viewer to the focal point (the important part) of your image.

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


Tips For Enhancing Your Story


Focus on what's important in your image to tell the story and let other items be out of focus or darkened. A fast way of doing this is to add a black narrow and soft border in post-work to simply darken the less important elements of your image.

#2: #3:

To create scary effects, use less lighting and let the darkness do the talking.

Backlighting and shadows are scary--so use them creatively! For cool renders, like heroes or action--use high contrast and more

backlighting. Cool heroes demand a cool lighting!

Step 3: The Light Types

What I've discovered is that you actually only need to learn to use 5 light types. Yes. These are the old and mighty: 1. Distant Light (often called Infinite Light) 2. Point Light 3. Spot Light 4. Area Light 5. Self-glowing (light emitting) Surfaces

Image by Michael Ambruso

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software I chose these five because they differ very much from each other and can be used for specific tasks in your scene. Everything from good broad lighting to fine tuning micro precision effects. There's a light for every occasion!


For instance, I use Spot Lights for precision lighting, since this light type offers the most control of them all. Point Lights are great for simulating real world bulbs and Distant Lights for mimicking the sun. Area Lights and Lighting Emitting Surfaces offer soft lighting effects.

A single Point Light illuminating the entire set. Notice the scary effect from the surrounding darkness.

And that's it! These are the five you need to know. No need to dig into stuff like line lights, sphere lights, shape lights, real photo lights, negative lights and hell knows what they will comes up with next... Now, the real trick is of course learning HOW, WHEN and WHY to use these 5 gems... That's beyond the scope of this short ebook, but I can tell you that my favorite light type is the Spot Light. It needs careful positioning, rotation and narrowing of its spread angle, besides its intensity, color and shadow type. I love Spot Lights for the extreme control they offer and hands down ­ this is one of the most important light types you'll ever use.

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


The 5 Lights Types

#1: #2: #3: #4: #5:

Distant Lights are great for mimicking the sun Point Lights are the real world

counterpart of a bulb Spot Lights offer the most precision of all lights Area Lights are great for soft lighting effects Light Emitting Surfaces enable you to use images as

light sources

Step 4: The Ultimate Light Set Up

Ever heard of something called the 3 Point Light Set Up? If you haven't, read on... If you have, bear with me since I have a DEAL BRAKING point to make in a moment... ;) The 3 Point Light Set Up is an old photography light set up, still used today by most professional photographers. This 3 Point Light Set Up has become quite popular among 3D artists too, because of its ease of use. IIf you have issues with lighting I highly recommend you start playing with this light set up. It's very easy to use and once you get the hang of it, you can use it for a wide variety of renders.

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


The standard 3 Point Light Set Up, using a Key, Fill and Back Light.

To do this, you use three lights: 1. The Key Light: the main light in your scene. Often this light comes from an angle--from the front, side and above the subject in front of the camera. 2. The Fill Light: this comes from an opposite direction--still from the front and above, but from the other side of the camera, filling in the blanks of the Key Light. 3. The Back Light: this comes from behind and slightly from the side and above. Now, that's better ­ isn't it? To tell you the truth, it's not. This 3 Point Light set up doesn't work most of the time. It was made for portrait photography and while it will work in some cases, it's far from complete to cover your needs for every scene--especially when you want your lighting to work both indoors and outdoors... So, what do you need instead? During my work with 3D students, producing animations and over 100 bestselling lighting products for the DAZ 3D market place, I've designed what I call the 7 Point Light Set Up. Basically, it builds on the 3 Point Lights Set Up, and includes its Key Light, Fill Light and Back Light--but it also extends your set up with four more elements: Bounce Light, Ambient Light, Overall Light and Background Light.

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software Whoa... Behold the 7 elements of 3D Light!


Image lit using the 7 Point Light Set Up, featuring Key, Fill, Back, Background, Ambient, Overall and Bounce Lights.

What makes this 7 Point Light Set Up so unique is that when you learn to use it, when you discover the fragile balance of each of the elements and how they co-work together, you get pure magic. Literally, you get powerful means to light virtually any scene, both indoors and outdoors ­ in any 3D software. The 7 elements can be used to carefully bring out the story in your image and to enhance the mood you're after. The control you can have when using this light set properly is outstanding, leaving all the 7 components separated from each other ­ thus making it easy to control them separately. Life is good, eh?

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


The 7 Point Light Set Up

#1: #2:

Key Light offers the main light from the front, side and above. Fill Light gives additional lighting from the

opposite side of the Key Light--comes from the front, side and above.


Back Light creates a silhouette effect and separates the

subject from the background--comes from behind, side and above.

#4: #5: #6: #7:

Bounce Light adds additional lighting from below or nearby

surfaces, either manually or automatically. Ambient Light lights up everything without shadows. Overall Light gives overall lighting to your entire scene. You

can for instance use a single Area Light for this purpose. Background Light illuminates what's behind your subject.

Step 5: Easy, Speed and Automation

One of the biggest secrets for speeding your rendering time is to fake things. Simply replace 3D with 2D effects. It's commonly used in the gaming industry because it works! This technique uses flat plane objects with textures to mimic real effects such a trees, fog and lighting. So, how do you go by making 3D light easier? I've discovered this when doing animations before, when I was under time pressure. And I perfected this knowledge, while doing an insane animation project using a free 3D software, under even more extreme time pressure!

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


It's about making fewer lights do more for you. You not only use fewer lights that speed up your rendering, but you will also speed up your entire workflow, because--yes, you guessed it--you're using fewer lights... "Hey, can I substitute these two with just one?" It's about faking it when you need to and making it good enough. You don't have to follow any real world rules here. If something looks good, then it's good, whether you're using one or five lights to do the work for you. It's remarkable what fascinating effects you can get from using fewer lights... And even when using just one! Also, use Radiosity (automatic light bouncing) carefully, since it will easily overpower your scene. I like cool tools, but I don't over-use them, since they often take longer to render and also tend to mess up 3D scenes with unwanted effects! Try to light things manually as much as you can, that is ­ without using cool tools ­ since that will really give you an edge when time is of essence.

Easy, Speed & Auto


Try using fewer lights and let them do more work for you. For instance, can a Key Light and Back Light be the same light?


Use Radiosity for automatic lighting

effects, including Light Emitting Surfaces ­ but use it wisely. Too much will ruin the party.


Use manual lighting as much as you can, for more

control and rendering speed.

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


Image by Waldemar Belwon


Now, as I mentioned before ­ KNOWING is one thing. But that doesn't make you a light master. You HAVE to apply what you know, implement it and LEARN it. So, learning is about practicing until perfect. There is no other way. Many artists don't get this and think that there will be a nice sunny day somewhere in the future when they will be "ready". There is no ready. I've been doing 3D graphics for 12 years now. And I'm still not done yet. I never will be. Look at all the cool people in the movie industry who push boundaries all the time, and enter new grounds movie after movie... After 20 years they should have gotten "there", yeah? No! See, there will never be a place or time, when you're ready. Your journey is ongoing! This is the very nature of the human nature, no pun intended! Therefore, is VITAL that you surround yourself with likeminded people, artists that strive to improve their skills. However, there are things and techniques you can implement right away, © Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


that will make instant improvements in your art. What I mean by this is that there will always be a way to improve something good and make it even better... Each 3D scene is unique. Each idea and story is unique. You have a special gift within you-- that special something that makes your art uniquely YOU. You need to cherish that something, and make it shine... So, it's your job to find that gift of yours and perfect it. It's time you let your 3D art shine like never before...

Important Advice

Be among people who know what they're doing and who care for you. This is important, since artists need a calm and professional learning atmosphere.

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software



mage by Lily


So this is what you need to do in order to master 3D lighting! And it's not something I've read or studied. I've learned and experienced it my self, and I see the results with my 3D students. If you like what you've been reading, then there's more... I've put my entire 20+ experience into a new, unique and comprehensive training program called Light Master, which includes everything we've been talking about in this ebook. © Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.

5 Steps 2 Stunning 3D Lighting In Any Software


Now, Light Master is not a simple "place this light here" training. It's also not a simple "follow me along as I play with a few lights" program either. It DIVES into the core of lighting, shreds it into small, easy-to-understand pieces, gives you multiple options to feed your creativity and explains it all in mind-blowing detail. There's not other 3D lighting training like it out there. Light Master goes deep beneath the reasons of exactly WHAT techniques to use, WHEN to use them, and WHY. In other words... Light Master will show you exactly what you need to GET IT, whether you're completely new to 3D or have been using it for years. Go here now and read more about it:

Thank you for taking your time to read this ebook, and I hope it has given you some valuable insights in the real secrets behind 3D light. It's YOUR art, make it shine!

/Waldemar Belwon

3D Coach and Mentor, 3D Light Expert Founder of the Dreamlight 3D Club, the leading authority in 3D Graphics training for new and semi-pro artists since 2007. P.S. If you act within the next 24 hours, I'll give you a special offer--just my way of saying 'thanks' for reading this e-book:

© Copyright 2011 Waldemar Belwon.


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