An Attempt- Compositing

Dervla kindly helped me take some nice photos of the setup in our room.  I actually ended up choosing one of the photos that was taken to show the setup.

Below is my chosen image. I thought the unusual angle of which Dervla took the photo was quite usual- a nice 3/4 view.


I started off inspired by Gerald Duvleavy- using the photography setup. At a later stage, I would like to create a camera track similar to his creature work- maybe even animate my character a little.

When looking at the image I noted a few things about the lighting. There were 2 known light sources- the two DIVA lights and a bounce light (the light bouncing off the wall).

I set this up in Maya using some of the previous methods explored- including attaching an image to the render camera.

I used the idea from the video blogged previously previously about Arvid Schneider’s lighting tutorial. Creating two area lights, I sized these to the dimensions of the photography lights, messing around with the exposure until I got the desired brightness.

I then needed to recreate the shadows- using the shadow catcher material I have looked at before.  I was presented with the problem that I used a draping piece of paper over the tripod stand- so therefore the shadows would bend quite a bit.

Below is the set up for my scene.


Below is the original render attempt that I completed.


Above is my first attempt of creating this. I found that the shadows did not follow the material quite as expected, therefore needing to fix the shape of the shadow catcher plane. This was an easy fix- simply soft selecting the plane  to the shape- making sure the edge was more defined.

Alec commented that the shadows were too sharp too- an should have a sharper shadow with a softer falloff- sending me the below example in explanation.


I realised that I was being a bit silly- using Area lights, the larger the lights, the softer the fall off, so I went back and resized these lights to create what Alec suggested.


I made Click larger to stop my eyes crying everytime I tried to look at the shadow.

Alec said this was a lot better and that I should add feet to give a bit more illusion of where he is standing. I’m thinking suction cups. I showed Meabh and she suggested upping the light intensity a bit more as it is so close to the lights. That will be my next step.


Above is the next altered settings. I managed to fix the eyes too- using a photo mesh light that I had seen earlier, rather than using the emission in the material settings. I also realised that I forgot to include a plane to catch the shadows behind the character- so I made a plane and again applied a shadow catcher material to it. I gave him some feet too- just simple boxes for now.


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