Source Filmmaker

Source Filmmaker

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Three Point Lighting
By haroonY
This guide will teach you how to do basic three point lighting in the Source FilmMaker
What is Three Point Lighting?
Three-point lighting is a standard method used in visual media such as video, film, still photography and computer-generated imagery. By using three separate positions, the photographer can illuminate the shot's subject (such as a person) however desired, while also controlling (or eliminating entirely) the shading and shadows produced by direct lighting. Source: Wikipedia[]

Three Point Lighting consists of three points of lighting. The Key Light, the Fill Light and the Back Light. There is also an optional Background Light, that can be used to light the background.

In this guide, I will be showing you what each light does on a subject, and the effect it has on the subject/scene.
An example of 3 point lighting. Source: Wikipedia[]
Three Point Lighting in Source FilmMaker
Firstly, here is our subject (The Heavy) without any lighting at all in our scene:

Most of us can agree that this looks pretty bad. It's dull, and our subject camouflages in with the background. The first step to making our subject look a lot better is to add our Key Light:

The Key Light servers as the primary light source for the pose, marking out our subject. It's a rather intense light, which is pointed directly at the subject. If you want it to be colored, use lighter and more saturated colors to keep the theme of an image/scene.

However, if we only use the Key Light, there can be dark looking areas on our subject. This is where the Fill Light comes in. It's purpose is to be able to fill in the shadows that are created by the Key Light, while allowing the Key Light to be the primary light source. It is best to place the Fill Light at an angle that is opposite to the Key Light. Lets add our Fill Light:

Now there is one last thing for us to add to make this complete. Even though we have neat looking lighting, nothing makes it really stand out from the background. This is where our Back Light comes in. It's just a simple light above and behind our subject which gives them a little bit more of a "shine". This will make our subject stand out from the subject without being too in your face. Lets add one:

The Back Light gives a small, almost noticeable shine to the back part of the subject, but if you look carefully, it is noticeable!
Congratulations! You have just learned how to create Three Point Lighting in the Source FIlmMaker! You can use this in still images, or in videos as well.

And that concludes this pretty easy tutorial on Three Point Lighting. Have a free final render;

Feedback is also greatly appreciated!

Credit given where credit is due;

This guide is based off UberMunchkins' Three Point Lighting guide. Go check it out![]

One image and some text is from Wikipedia[].
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zeeby Mar 29 @ 4:08am 
@TruBlu look at the hand
TruBlu0014 Jan 19, 2017 @ 4:49pm 
Guide was helpful but didn't see much difference when adding the Fill and Background Lighting in the images.
Northern Breath Jul 13, 2016 @ 9:42pm 
@Black_Ronin I don't know if your question was answered or not, but you right click in animation set editor and click on existing elements. A window should come up w/ something that says "Camera 1" click on that. Then you highlight the existing element to where it shows fov, focal distance, aperture, etc. move the slider that says tonemapscale to the left to make it darker. It helps with brighter maps such as upward and make maps like thundermountain darker.
Black_Ronin Jul 9, 2016 @ 6:19pm 
Really easy to follow, and helpful! My only question. How did you get it to be so dark? I can't seem to figure that out in my SFM... Got it tonight.
Knightingale Jun 6, 2016 @ 6:43pm 
This was really damn helpful! Thank you for making this guide!
Derkiscrazy Jan 23, 2016 @ 5:44pm 
wikipedia isn't a reliable source, thanks anyways!
Penguin Mar 8, 2015 @ 1:31pm 
Nice tutorial thanks!!
Ziphy Sep 11, 2014 @ 4:42pm 
Quick and easy way to do this:

Right-click on any bone, select DAG utilities menu>create_lights_constrained.

This creates a lighting setup constrained such that the back light is always behind the subject, even if the camera moves
Furry Enforcer User Jul 19, 2014 @ 3:28pm 
omg thank you for this! ;_;
Vixen Jun 13, 2014 @ 3:35pm 
Helped me out Significantly! Thank you very much!