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Christiaan

How to tone down brightness but not lose shadows?

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I'm finding the heliodon at 100% with the White HDRI to be a little too bright, so I've toned the sun brightness down to 60%, which is cool but I'm losing the shadows too.

How do I tone down the brightness but maintain the contrast of shadows?

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Not an exact solution, but I often use PrintPDF (Mac Native) then Save a Copy and use the Quartz Filter(s): Lightness Increase/Lightness Decrease. This usually gets me where I need to be for printed output. For live VW's stuff I'm sure there's an answer, but it's not coming to me readily.

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After all that I think I actually prefer the toning down of the sun. Or at least maybe I need to find something in between by toning down the sun a little and the HDRI not so much.

One of the left is sun at 60%. One on right is HDRI at 50%.

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Sun at 70-80% and HDRI at 70-80% seems to be the sweet spot.

Turns out it wasn't. The planning officer would like to see more modulation in our street elevations. In other words our shadows need to be darker.

However I'm having trouble making the shadows darker without washing out the rest of the building. I can adjust the heliodon/HDRI so it renders with nice dark shadows where there are definite shadows but the rest of the model gets washed out, such as adjacent walls becoming the same tone.

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My guess is that you already have done this, but I think it's worth mentioning to also turn off the ambient lighting.

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A lot depends on how much brightness you've given your textures.......I guess you could see this as the ambient in the old Lightworks textures. Try lowering these to 70-50% and then increasing the sun brightness......but not white stucco and other white textures, they usually need a lot of brightness.

Edited by Vincent C

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Sorry C. just realized it's only available if Color is selected, not with the other options.......bummer.

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Years late to this conversation, but I am having a similar issue.  I can't seem to get very dark saturated shadows or enough contrast between highlight and shadow.  See attached screenshot. 

  1. Environment Lighting = HDRI Blue at 150 percent - 100% saturation.  HDRI white seems to wash things out further.
  2. Ambient Lighting on:  Light blue at 18 percent, with Ambient Occlusion - 48".  To be honest turning it off doesn't seem to help much. 
  3. I used a different HDRI for reflections and another one for the background.  That shouldn't affect General Illumination.
  4. Right now I am only using Helidon for soft shadows, but selecting Physical Sun or Sky settings doesn't seem to change much.  What exactly do those settings control anyway?
  5. Right now brick is a color, not a texture.  Does that make any difference?  

 

Maybe this is as good as it gets?

 

1177359884_ScreenShot2018-05-29at9_19_44PM.thumb.png.9227e41f0116bc239d90cf894becea5d.png

 

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Turn off indirect lightning and HDRI Lightning. Then modulate the shadow darkness by the ambient lightning.

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1) If you have any objects in the scene that are colored with just obj attributes, but not a texture, they will reflect too much light by default and over-light the little nooks and crannies I find. Even for simple white walls I create a cool or warm white color based texture with little or no reflection and I get better results.

2) I advise sliding Ambient Light to 0% but leaving it enabled so that you can still get the ambient occlusion effect. this might not have an obvious effect immediately but once you go further in my steps itll start to show as very washed out if you leave ambient light on.

3) Drop the brightness of your Heliodon, I'd start with 30%. Do the same for your environment lighting, this should render way too dark, which is counterintuitive but what we are going for at first.

4) once you have a rendering that looks moody and too dark for an outside render, add a Renderworks Camera to your scene, I usually do this in a viewport. Place it anywhere you like, then just use Match Current View to lock it to that view or after picking a saved view, i find this much easier than trying to aim it manually. Enable Exposure on the camera.

5) The exact exposure settings will depend a lot on the scene and take some tweaking. I normally leave ISO alone and just mess with the shutter speed. Often 1/30 gets me the birhgtness while maintaining the contrast between light and dark. If it doesnt, you can go to 1/15s and see how that looks. Sometimes, I've dropped the sun and/or environment to below 30% and raised the brightness of the scene using exposure instead.

I have a series coming out on this, but it wont be public until after the Summit this year, if the above doesnt work for you at all let me know and I can take a look at the file directly.

 

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On a related note to some of the above, I have stopped using single solid color backgrounds for the Environment Light of my renders, they seem to be either too bright by default, or lead to the circles/fireflies in corners when coupled with indirect lighting. I nowadays use a pano image background, an HDR image, or Physical Sky.

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Thanks Herbie.

 

Herbie.  I tried your approach but decided instead to reduce ambient lighting and make it warmer.  I also bumped up the HDRI lighting.  I turned on indirect lighting exterior 3 bounces.   

 

What I really think what needed to happen was that the brick needed a texture to render properly. Plain color is too flat and doesn't interact with the light properly.  I also tweaked the glass reducing the reflectivity maybe helped.  I still need to fix the window frame colors, roof and a whole bunch of other stuff. 

 

Jim, my next set of explorations will be to try your approach!  This is a bit of an experiment for me so that I can understand how to get the best output with native VW tools.

 

 

 

 

   1168851395_ScreenShot2018-05-30at8_43_22AM.thumb.png.ed7f4ead03ae02d4f9cd60eb91eb81e3.png

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I looks like you're taking screenshots of the rendering in a Design Layer I would do this in Sheet Layer Viewports.

It will allow you to maintain multiple rendered VPs for direct comparison, Reduce the Sheet Layer dpi to speed up the process and Save Veiwport Cache so you can save your multiple rendered (labelled) views with the file

Edited by bcd
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Thanks, BCD.  Good practice! 

 

These design layer renderings actually run fairly quickly.   But setting up viewport and lighting adjustments via the viewport rendering settings would allow me to assess the render/lighting/material effects more systematically.  

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