3dRender.comDigital Lighting & Rendering: Third Edition

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The Third Edition of Digital Lighting & Rendering by Jeremy Birn teaches you to apply Hollywood lighting techniques in any 3D program. This is a complete replacement for the first or second editions, covering all the topics with new examples, details, and explanations. The new book provides plain-English explanations of the latest lighting, rendering, and 3D compositing techniques, and gives professional advice to help you in a career in 3D lighting and rendering. Order from Amazon (or just "Look Inside.")

Question: "I already have the Second Edition. What's new and different in the Third edition?"
The third edition is longer and more detailed, and every chapter has been re-written. There's a more modern approach to many topics, such as starting with a linear workflow and why that matters, and including technology like ptex and unbiased renderers. Modern software is used in examples and the chapters are full of new figures from new sample scenes. Besides technology-driven changes, many topics have been improved through re-writing and new exercises and examples,showing in-depth approaches to underwater scenes, creating different looks with bokeh, and detailed discussions of professional approaches to collaborating and sharing work on larger productions such as animated features.

All Software Supported
Digital Lighting & Rendering is "non-software-specific," but that doesn't mean it's just a bunch of useless theories! The book is written from the point of view of a very experienced professional, and shares production-proven techniques that are useful in almost any 3D rendering package. The book describes professional ways to light and render a scene, and includes many notes about specific software when appropriate. Cheats, work-arounds and old-school solutions are included as alternatives for techniques which might not be accessable to some users. Even for compositing techniques, examples are shown that work in Photoshop (as well as examples in Nuke) so even someone who doesn't have compositing software yet can start putting together render layers and passes in the ways described in the book.

Chapter 1: Fundamentals of Lighting Design
This book isn't just about how to adjust the look of your renderings, it's also about why. What do you look for? How do you tell good lighting from bad? Chapter one starts with visual goals of lighting design, the motivations for light sources, and walks step-by-step through how lighting designers cheat to achieve the results they want.

Chapter 2: Lighting Basics and Good Practices
When and how to start the process of lighting during a production, how to choose between all the types of lights in your 3D program, adjusting controls and options on lights. Updated with new examples: IES physically based lights, objects as light sources, etc.

Chapter 3: Shadows and Occlusion
Creating different looks with shadows. Controlling raytraced hard and soft shadows from different types of lights. Depth map shadows, how to fix bias and framing issues, fixing light leaks and artifacts. New coverage of occlusion sandwich technique and occlusion passes with displacement and reflections. Cheats and tricks to fake and manipulate shadows and occlusion.

Chapter 4: Lighting Environments and Architecture
Lighting sets and environments with natural light or artificial lights, by day or night. New examples of spill light, global illumination techniques, simulating global illumination, breaking up spaces with varied lighting, working with volumetric fog and atmosphere, new focus on underwater lighting.

Chapter 5: Lighting Creatures, Characters, and Animation
Creating different looks in character lighting; how to light characters in motion and follow emotional shifts in scenes. Adjusting key, spill, bounce, fill, rim, and kick lights to model characters with light. Strategies for developing character lighting rigs and lighting multiple characters. Mixing character lighting with set lights and global illumination. Tips and examples for lighting and rendering character eyes, skin shading and subsurface scattering, and lighting character hair.

Chapter 6: Cameras and Exposure
Understanding exposure on real cameras: f-stops, shutter speed, shutter angle, the zone system, how to shoot images to create HDRI. Matching with live-action cinematography and simulating camera artifacts in 3D: matching depth of field, new detail about adjusting bokeh effects, motion blur, lens breathing, chromatic aberrations, and lens distortion.

Chapter 7: Composition and Staging
Planning cinematic productions using different types of shots, using realistic camera rigs to simulate convincing camera moves, planning shots that will cut together well when edited, working in different digital and film formats and aspect ratios, using lighting to help improve your composition and enhance visual storytelling.

Chapter 8: The Art and Science of Color
New focus on the linear workflow, how to avoid problems with gamma and colorspaces, and why the linear workflow matters in lighting and compositing. Creating a compelling scene through developing a consistent color scheme. Understanding digital color, from the sRGB standard to bit depth and OpenEXR half-floats. The meanings of different colors, and using color to influence the emotional impact of a scene. Simulating a film color balance and matching Kelvin color temperatures for real light sources.

Chapter 9: Shaders and Rendering Algorithms
Explore the basic components of materials and shaders, different kinds of shaders, and what kinds of looks you can create. Understanding vocabulary such as diffuse, glossy, specular, BRDF, BSSRDF, energy conservation and physically based shaders. Different kinds of rendering algorithms: Reyes, raytracers, approaches to global illumination, and unbiased renderers.

Chapter 10: Designing and Assigning Textures
This chapter features examples of many types of mapping, the differences between displacement, bump mapping, normal mapping, and polynomial texture mapping, different strategies for alignment between maps and geometry such as UV maps, projections, and Ptex, and tutorials on creating texture maps, equalizing levels to create better tiling maps. This chapter will be available on-line as a free download.

Chapter 11: Rendering in Layers and Passes for Compositing
Approaches to splitting your scenes into render layers and render passes, how to recreate a complete scene from rendered elements, and the benefits to the looks development process of multi-pass rendering and compositing. Using straight vs. pre-multiplied alpha channels. Compositing examples updated to use Nuke (Shake examples replaced) as well as work-arounds in Photoshop that anyone can follow. Compositing with a linear workflow.

Chapter 12: Production Pipelines and Professional Practices
How feature films move through a multi-department production pipeline for visual effects or animated feature production. Understanding what all the departments do, how lighting fits in with the larger pipeline, and how lighting TD's put together assets from many departments in building a shot. New focus on strategies such as lighting key shots, referencing, and sharing light rigs that let multiple lighters efficiently collaborate to light feature films and other larger projects.

About The Author
Jeremy Birn is a Lighting Technical Director at Pixar Animation Studios, where he has lit shots in the movies Monsters University, Brave, Cars 2, Toy Story 3, Up, WALL-E, Ratatouille, Cars and The Incredibles. Prior to joining Pixar in 2002, Jeremy did lighting and rendering at such companies as Palomar Pictures, Wild Brain, CBS Television, and Tippett Studio, where he worked on effects for the feature film Evolution. Jeremy has taught courses at the California Institute of the Arts in Southern California and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. (For information about fiction by J. M. Birn, see TheSecretSaucer.com.)

Digital Lighting & Rendering on-line content Copyright © 2000-2014 by Jeremy Birn. Selected figures and text on 3dRender.com by permission of Publisher.