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Daniel Smith

Lighting Software

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Hi.

 

I'm looking for some lighting pre-visualisation software, not DMX control software. Just something where I can get a rough idea of how something is going to look.

 

What can you recommend?

 

Any industry standard software? If not what is the most common?

 

Thanks.

Dan.

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Hi.

 

I'm looking for some lighting pre-visualisation software, not DMX control software. Just something where I can get a rough idea of how something is going to look.

 

What can you recommend?

 

Any industry standard software? If not what is the most common?

 

Thanks.

Dan.

 

 

Im not sure what you're asking.

 

Do you want to something that plot's lighting or something that attempts to render a photorealistic view of what your lighting would do ?

 

I suspect you want something that actually renders an image but it's actually very very complex to do. I've used maya a fair bit, and although the lights *sort* of behanve in a real world way, it's very very time consuming.

 

You also would need to know the reflectance values of all your surfaces etc.

 

There is also some software out there that lighting engineers use to design light fixtures and once again, oyu need very accurate info to be able to get anything useful out of them. It's all pretty labour intensive.

 

jb

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Like John Brawley, I can only think of 3D software that will do what I think you're asking. And I don't think I've ever seen anyone actually previsualize the lighting in 3D software, allthough I have seen blocking previsualized like this. It would just be too time consuming to be practical.

 

If you want to achieve a certain kind of effect, and you aren't sure how to, I would recommend trying it out in advance if you can. Or maybe you can find some reference stills for the look you want and post them here for input on lighting setups.

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I know what you mean but it's no where near as advanced as maya, it's just a very simple pre-vis. An LD showed me it once, just can't remember the name.

 

You can build a very rough set, put in place all the rigging (trussing etc.) and then put in the lights, it only gives a very simple preview (nothing near photorealistic) but it's a good way of planning and showing people your ideas.

 

(I'm the lighting director on a debate programme for next week and I'm just trying to get a bit flashy..)

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I've seen lighting previs been done a couple of times, but it's mainly been used for continuity purposes (the position of the sun/key) throughout a sequence. Most lighting previs is done through concept art or reference photos.

 

If you want to see what effect a light will have on an object then something like Maya (and Max, xSI, etc) will do the trick. But it's not something you can jump in and start working right away. Something like Poser might be what your after.

 

There is an neat little image relighting trick that is quite useful for previsualising lighting - although I'd say it's more for practicing and learning than something you would use practically, I don't have time to go over the nitty-gritty details right now. It involves taking multiple pictures of the same object with each image shot using a single light source from different posistions (key, fill, rim, edge, background, top, bottom, straight, etc). You then mix these images in a compositing application like Shake or After Effects (might work for Photoshop/Gimp) and by adjusting the intensity and colour of each image you can relight the shot as you please.

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If a lighting director showed you the software, it's likely "VectorWork Spotlight". It's a 2D/3D software, but the "Spotlight" version is for event and entertainment lighting. I know of a few gaffers who use it for mapping out very large sets and for working out lighting board cues.

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