Category Archives: Tutorial

Old School Lighting Update


Temporary cover for my Old School Space Lighting Tutorial.

Yesterday and today I have been working on some lighting stuff.  Some on lighting ships and some on basic rigs for ship lighting.  

I have to figure out the scope of  what the tutorial will cover.  Also if I will include a scene file with lights, stars and nebula meshs.  I’m not sure about that part.  I am also not sure how much I want to cover stars and nebula’s since those topics are covered elsewhere.  In a way though I feel I should cover the whole topic of space scenes.  We will see.  Might just use background space image.  Which as I have said is not my favorite.  Although I will talk about it as well as texture environments.

That’s it for now.

Lighting Tutorial…Another Topic.

Another topic I want to talk about in the Space Lighting Tutorial will be the importance of Diffuse, Specular Maps on space ship models.  How lights  interact with Specular Maps most importantally.

I used 3 of Fabio Passaro’s textures from his Star Fury to create this image.


The image is a composite of three texture maps.  The specular map breaks up the specular highlights, the diffuse map give different tonal levels to the color map. 

Plan on going into a detail on that since it’s crucial to Lighting Space Scenes well.

WIP: Space Lighting Tutorial

SlaveOne A8Final AStarfuryFinal extra Fill

Today I started writing my first draft of the space lighting tutorial as I walked through setting up my lighting.  I was kinda rambling.  Getting an idea for what I’m doing.  Putting a bit of it here.  I want to try and cover alot of stuff and give tips etc.  Lost of the tecniques will be old school. Which I hate to use that phrase.  Anyway.  It’s a start.  Here is some of it.

“Art like many other things is like jazz.  You need to know the rules before you can break them.  You have to master and undertstand how to play before you can improvise.  In CG you have to understand what you can do, that sometimes coolest way isn’t the best way.  You need to know when and what you can fake.

In space scenes we know the reality of lighting.  There is one light.  The sun. The sun is best represented, in my chosen CG package Light Wave 3D, by a distant light. The beams of light from the sun are parallel which is how the distant light works in LW3D.  That being said we will be using mostly spotlights.

I am not a fan of using a backdrop image. Nor do I like using textured  environment.  I prefer using the curved polygon mapped with a nebula. How to do that is explained in Kier Darby’s Space Tutorials.  Along with lighting techniques we will use here.  The curved nebula polygon is also explained as well as other Babylon 5 and Star Trek techniques in The Lightwave 3D Book published in 1997 with techniques from Mojo and others.  Oh while I’m thinking of it I want to thank Mojo, John Gross, Dave Jerrard, and others for there tutorials in Keyframing, NewTekniques, HDRI etc with out whom I would never been able to do what I do.


So right now I’m Staring at my local space view. If you dont already have one make one.  Local Space is a conveint LW scene to have.  You may make a collection of them.  A Local Space scene is a file containing your models and images for u basic space setup.  Models of stars and ur nebula.  It is your basic setup.  You can always open it and replace the nebula or us image editor to change its colors.  Nebulas should be subtle so you can lower the transparency.  Make sure to have additive transparency on the nebula and stars. This will eliminate errors caused by brighter color stars in front of bright white spots on the nebula.”

That’s it for now.