Sunday, 7 December 2014

IBL Lighting VS Mesh Lights

Due to the recent release of a new DAZ3D plugin called Reality 4 I have been testing out some of the new features such as applying material presets to 3D objects to make them look more realistic. Prior to the release of this plugin every 3D object in a scene used an image map texture which basically means that a 3D mesh was wrapped with an image. With the new plugin 3D objects can now have textures such as marble wood and water applied to them which enables digital designers to create quite amazing textures. 

This feature makes it possible to apply elemental effects to 3D figures much like the effects used in  the "Girl with Dragon Tattoo" & "Die Another Day" opening sequences.

Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Die Another Day
In the two renders below I used the same model and camera angle however the lighting method is different. One of the renders uses mesh lighting which is basically a custom made light projected at the model with the intensity and similar to that of sunlight. The 2nd method uses IBL lighting which is a lighting method where a panoramic  image is wrapped around the scene and the 3D scene adopts the light sources of the panoramic image. This technique is useful when rendering reflective surfaces such as metal and water perfect for rendering cars etc. I conducted a fair test on both lighting techniques as both of the renders were given 1 hour each to render, the results can be seen below

Here is the IBL image used for render 2:

Render 1: Mesh Lighting

Render 2: IBL Lighting

You can see that the blue of the sky in the IBL image is cast on the model's white hair and sunlight is only casting on her left arm and the rest of her is shaded from the sun. IBL does produce a more realistic 3D scene however I would argue that IBL lighting does produce much more noise in the render which overall hinders the image clarity/quality of the render compared to the mesh lighting method used in render 1.

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