Source Filmmaker

Source Filmmaker

sonosublime Jun 3, 2014 @ 7:29pm
Lighting
Hi all,

I just want to ask people some general questions about lighting:

1. Do you always use lights in scenes? Even in ones where the natural lighting is enough to not need it?

2. In a situation where only 1 character is involved, I plan to make use of SFM's built-in light kits.

However, when there are 2 or more characters involved, I plan to do this:

If they are close together, I plan to use this tutorial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6McfZmwgBQ0&feature=youtu.be) to make my own 'light kit' to light all of them.

- If the characters are standing a fair distance away from each other, I would use SFM's built-in lights kits on each of the individual characters.

Does this method seem okay?

I should mention that I export my movies in MP4 format, which often causes the final product to come out darker than how it actually looks in SFM.

Many thanks!
Last edited by sonosublime; Jun 3, 2014 @ 7:36pm
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Showing 1-13 of 13 comments
R234 Jun 3, 2014 @ 7:52pm 
I don't use lights much. Most people would say I'm wrong, but I actually have a couple of reasons to not like them.

First, they don't support some of the nicer shader effects used on some models, especially lightwarps. That's particularly problematic with TF2 models, since the sharp lightwarp with that slightly reddish gradient is an important aspect of TF2's art style. Rim terms are also not supported, though they can be simulated to some extent by placing a light behind the model.

Second, they're unidirectional. This can make it difficult or even impossible to create the wanted effect at times. Try creating a scene where a character is walking in a dark corridor with a lit torch in SFM, you'll see what I mean.

Projected texture lights don't always cut it if you ask me, and I was actually baffled to notice they don't allow us to use dynamic point lights, they'd be hella useful. Heck, they should implement CS:GO's cascaded shadow mapping in SFM, would make outdoor scenes look a lot better.
6000 ANGRY BEES Jun 4, 2014 @ 1:09am 
Originally posted by sonosublime:
I should mention that I export my movies in MP4 format, which often causes the final product to come out darker than how it actually looks in SFM.
Change the compression option to H.264.
sonosublime Jun 4, 2014 @ 4:39am 
Originally posted by R234:
I don't use lights much. Most people would say I'm wrong, but I actually have a couple of reasons to not like them.

Yeah I don't like using them too much either if I can avoid it, for the simple reason of increased file size and lagging camera manipulation.

However, some of my scenes are quite dark and I don't have much of a choice there.

Originally posted by 6000 ANGRY BEES:
Originally posted by sonosublime:
I should mention that I export my movies in MP4 format, which often causes the final product to come out darker than how it actually looks in SFM.
Change the compression option to H.264.

Thanks, that looks kind of good. I think I like the 'washed out' look of H.264 compression a bit more than the dark and saturated look from MPEG4 compression.

However, it seems that the resulting file can only be opened in VLC and not Windows Media Player.

Also, how can I load the file into Windows Movie Maker to compress its size?
Last edited by sonosublime; Jun 5, 2014 @ 7:32pm
raptornx01 Jun 4, 2014 @ 6:51am 
It's a matter of what the scene dictates. if you can get away with just map lighting, then go for it. save alot of effort.

but sometimes you just have to and often can get better results (depending). go with what you are comfortable with, but don't shy away from testing things.

as for WMM, i've never tested it with h.264 so i dunno.
sonosublime Jun 5, 2014 @ 7:32pm 
Originally posted by raptornx01:
It's a matter of what the scene dictates. if you can get away with just map lighting, then go for it. save alot of effort.

but sometimes you just have to and often can get better results (depending). go with what you are comfortable with, but don't shy away from testing things.

as for WMM, i've never tested it with h.264 so i dunno.

Ok, I'll try not to mess around with lights too much then.

Does anyone know how to reduce the file-size of a movie exported with H.264 compression? Normally I would load the file into Windows Movie Maker, but I can't seem to do that here.
raptornx01 Jun 5, 2014 @ 9:27pm 
can try rendering each scene/shot individually.
sonosublime Jun 7, 2014 @ 2:55am 
Unfortunately, rendering each shot individually still does not allow me to load the file into WMM.
Last edited by sonosublime; Jun 7, 2014 @ 2:55am
raptornx01 Jun 7, 2014 @ 8:43am 
unless you can get access to another editor such as sony vegas, after effects or hitfilm you only real option is to render as a png image sequence then use a program called virtualdub to convert that sequence into a video.

(unless WMM can accept an image sequence, but i doubt it. never tried though)
psi onix Jun 7, 2014 @ 12:08pm 
one thing is for sure, Valve doesn't seem to care if you use lighting or not. that chinatown vid that won the action saxxy had zero lighting. the lack of lighting was pretty noticable and to me rather bland looking, but it still won.
raptornx01 Jun 8, 2014 @ 10:34am 
It had other things going for it though.
sonosublime Jun 8, 2014 @ 9:12pm 
Originally posted by raptornx01:
unless you can get access to another editor such as sony vegas, after effects or hitfilm you only real option is to render as a png image sequence then use a program called virtualdub to convert that sequence into a video.

(unless WMM can accept an image sequence, but i doubt it. never tried though)

Ok then. That's a shame.

Would you please be able to direct me toward some tutorials about exporting image sequences and audio separately, and then putting it all together into a movie? I've heard of this method before, but have no idea how to do it.

And roughly how much hard drive space would the image sequence for a ~30 min movie require? I imagine it would be quite a lot.

Originally posted by Psi:
one thing is for sure, Valve doesn't seem to care if you use lighting or not. that chinatown vid that won the action saxxy had zero lighting. the lack of lighting was pretty noticable and to me rather bland looking, but it still won.

I'm still a newbie with SFM, and figure that I'll only use lights for dark scenes that would otherwise be impossible to see the characters.
Last edited by sonosublime; Jun 8, 2014 @ 9:14pm
raptornx01 Jun 8, 2014 @ 10:47pm 
Wait. 30 minutes? NO WONDER you were having trouble. that file must be huge. when I mentioned rendering single shots. i was thinking it was for a 30 second to couple minute vid and was thinking of clips a few seconds long.

how big they are really depends on the scene. a 1080 image that is nearly black may only be 2-300kb. up to 1mb or more for brighter shots (i've seen as high as 7mb). one couple second clip from my most recent vid had nearly 700 images, and they total 570mb.

here's a basic how to for import an image sequence in virtualdub. just import the wav as well (or leave that for wmm). just export it as an avi or mp4.

http://www.virtualdub.org/blog/pivot/entry.php?id=34

EDIT: you CAN import an image sequence into WMM. but the process isn't as straightforward. in your project, go to add videos and photos. then select all the images. by default it will make each image last for 7 seconds.

but what you do is, when you first add them they should all be selected (if not just select all if that is the only thing you have there. go under the video edit tab and it should have a selection for duration. change it from 7.00 to, i believe, .04 if you are running at 24 frames per second. (i could be wrong about that, it may take some tweaking with speed)
Last edited by raptornx01; Jun 8, 2014 @ 11:13pm
sonosublime Jun 12, 2014 @ 12:40am 
Thanks for that link. I imagine I would probably use Virtual dub or something similar rather than WMM to put the image sequence together.

The movie itself is 30 mins, but I generally only export several shots (up to about 2-3 mins) at a time.

Wow, 2 sec movie had 700 images?! That's insane!
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Date Posted: Jun 3, 2014 @ 7:29pm
Posts: 13