Realistic Lighting and Skies

The aim of this tutorial is to demonstrate an approach to lighting a landscape with the aim of creating realistic lighting conditions and an appropriate appearance to the sky (to either use as a clear sky or accept volumetric clouds).The appearance of the sky and the lighting within the scene are interrelated but there is a great deal of freedom for the artist to exert a high degree of control over both. Thanks to the integration of the influence control into Image Based Lighting (IBL) there is a far greater scope for including volumetric clouds (or other processor intensive special effect materials) into a scene which incorporates IBL and still offer reasonable render times by "excluding" the object to which the material is applied from the HDRI light source (controlled through the IBL tab). This option should be born in mind while watching this video.A clear empty sky with a sense of depth offers the idea basis for the addition of three dimensional clouds. The important thing for the artist is to establish the correct lighting for the landscape before the inclusion of the clouds (or any other processor intensive features - eg, forests) so that the lighting can be fine tuned without the overhead of waiting on the render to make the necessary adjustments.Here a scene taken from Cloudscapes 2 is used to demonstrate the process of working from a default Bryce sky to one which offers high quality lighting and built in flexibility, either to use as is, or as a step towards a final scene incorporating more sophisticated effects.From the perspective of realism, getting the lighting right is more than half the battle. A good model badly lit often looks less impressive than a bad model rendered with sophisticated lighting. DAZ provides many a good model. Bryce can provide sophisticated lighting, learn the steps and every rendering project will benefit from this knowledge.