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iClone 8 User Tutorial : Creating Interior Visuals with Volumetric Lighting

Final scene render by Benjamin Sokomba Dazhi
Benjamin Sokomba Dazhi – Professional iClone Animator

Hi, I’m Benjamin Sokomba Dazhi and I want to welcome you to this iClone 8 (iC8) tutorial. As you all know I am an animator and my major 3D tool is iClone. I’m so excited to bring you this tutorial, as we all know that iClone 8 was just launched and it came with a lot of features that we are going to explore.

So for today’s tutorial, we are going to see how we can enhance the visuals in our iC8 projects. We are going to start with the volumetric lighting, which is nice and really good for enhancing any scene, making it look more organic and atmospheric.

Let’s get started.

I have a scene that I already prepared with no 3D lighting. It’s just dark. So we are going to light it up and see how the volumetric lighting will make it look more visually appealing. The first thing we are going to do is make sure that we turn on Global illumination. (Fig 1.0) We check it, and make sure it’s on. Usually, at the default setting, everything works well.

Fig 1.0

The next thing we are going to do is create our Point Light.

Fig 2.0

What we are going to do here is to give a subtle ambiance to the 3D scene. (Fig 2.1)

Fig 2.1
Fig 2.2

Now let’s choose a Color for this 3D lighting. (Fig 3.0) Use something cool like blue or you may opt for anything bluish.

Fig 3.0

Then we are going to strategically place the 3D lighting in the scene. To achieve this, we are going to click on Edit and then duplicate as shown below. (Fig 4.0) We are going to duplicate more of the lights.

Don’t forget that we are using Point Light in this 3D scene. The point light here is casting very hard shadows and this is not really good for this type of project.

Fig 4.0

So when the point light is causing a lot of hard shadows, you come to Modify and you switch off the Shadow as shown in Fig 5.0.

And now, you only see the light source.

Fig 5.0

Keep duplicating as shown below. The control for duplicating is Ctrl+Shift+D. (Fig 6.0)

Fig 6.0

We continue to duplicate.

Fig 6.2

Our purpose here is to try and lighten up the scene with all the ambiance, in order to give it a nice subtle look as shown in the scene below. (Fig 6.3)

Fig 6.3

So that’s it for the ambiance. Now, we are going to the main thing which is creating Volumetric Lighting.

We are trying to get the Volumetric Lighting from the window in the 3D scene. To achieve that, we are first going to create a Spot Light, not a pointlight. (Fig 7.0)

Fig 7.0

We carefully place the light here. We love it at that position close to the window as shown in Fig 8.0 below. That is where we want to bring in our volumetric effect.

Fig 8.0

Next, you come to the Modify panel and enable Volumetric Light. (Fig 9.0)

Fig 9.0

Switch it on. You can see it’s already showing here below.

Fig 10.0

Play with the parameters, especially the medium density multiplier which is what we are going to work with. (Fig 11.0)

Fig 11.0

When you move the slider forward you can see that it could be too harsh, or it could be subtle.(Fig 12.0)

Fig 12.0

It just depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

Fig 12.1

So you can carefully place it here as shown below in Fig 13.0.

   Fig 13.0

Next let’s change the color. (Fig 14.0) It is called scatter color and I changed it to blue.

Fig 14.0

Or you can simply go to the light source multiplier and change the color there as well. (Fig 15.0)

Fig 15.0

Let’s choose a cool color like blue as shown below.

Fig 16.0

You can now see how subtle it is and how it’s giving the scene more depth. (Fig 17.0)

Fig 17.0

The next thing we’re going to do is to create a light source here and bring this volumetric light here too as shown below.

Fig 18.0

Now we are going to create another spotlight and place it directly under this lamp shown in Fig 19.0

Fig 19.0

We’ve now placed our spotlight inside the lamp.

Fig 20.0

A side note: The models that are used in this scene are from the Reallusion Content Store. They have beautiful and well-modeled props and assets that you can use for your projects and this is one of them. The content store or the Marketplace.

Now let’s change the color to a warmer color.

Fig 21.0

Let’s use this Golden Yellow color.

Fig 22.0

Scroll down under modify and go to the volumetric light to activate it. (Fig 23.0)

Fig 23.0

You can play with the medium-density multiplier.  And you can see the light is now more obvious as shown below.

Fig 24.0

See that the spotlight beam is going out of place. We can modify it as shown in Fig 25.0.

Fig 25.0

If you don’t want the angle to be out of place, you can also realign it, let’s say to the arrowed direction a little.

Fig 26.0

We can scroll to view from different angles to ensure that everything is properly aligned.  Just click on the beam and take it a little lower to the point as shown in Fig 27.0. It is important to note that when aligning what really matters is the angle from which the camera is capturing the scene.

Fig 27.0

If in some cases you see that the light beam is too narrow at the top and you want it to fill, you click on modify then you click on start. You can just increase the number by say two places up. This is shown in Fig 28.0.

Fig 28.0

This is how to get the light beam to become less narrow.

Fig 29.0

You can raise the beam and re-align it as many times as you would want. So let’s say this looks good for now (Fig 30.0) but you can keep playing around with it till you get exactly what you’re looking for.

Fig 30.0

Next, let’s duplicate the light again.

Fig 31.0

We place the duplicated light here as shown below.

Fig 32.0

Make sure the light is placed inside the lamp and not on top of the lamp.

Fig 33.0

You can take your time and re-adjust the volumetric light until you get what you are looking for. You can keep tweaking it if you have a lot of time and patience to get the desired result.

Fig 34.0

You can also work on the angle. (Fig. 35.0)

Fig 35.0

Keep aligning it until you get the desired result you’re looking for. You can also add the volumetric lighting here too.

Fig 36.0

Now let’s look at it from the frame so you can see that the volumetric lighting is there and it’s subtle. (Fig 37.0)

Fig 37.0

Always remember that it depends on the angle of your camera. It may not look well placed from the preview camera but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the final frame you’re trying to capture.

Fig 38.0

So to give this place more atmosphere, showing that light source,

Fig 39.0

We click on the material name ‘lamp_light’ under the Material list under Modify.

Fig 40.0

Next, we click on Glow under Texture settings.

Fig 41.0

This gives it a nice warm effect.

Fig 42.0

You may have your own custom textures but this is just what I’m working with now. Do the same process for the other lamp light. Apply a glow texture to it as well. Again you can use or create your own textures and work with them. I’m only working with what is available right now.

Fig 43.0

Now we still have other places we want to put our volumetric lighting.

Let’s duplicate.

Fig 44.0

Let’s click and drag to move it around.

Fig 45.0

You can decide to put it at the door, as that will be cool too. It just depends on the look you’re trying to achieve. But for this, let’s just place it at this window as shown below so that we can have the volumetric effect at the window too. (Fig 46.0)

Fig 46.0

Like what I said earlier it depends on the angle of your capture. Where you’re trying to capture is what will determine your light placement, not the angle from the preview camera.

Now, I’m trying to realign the added light. First you can switch off all the light in the scene if you want to so that you can see the scene really well without any obstructions. How to do this is shown below.

Fig 47.0

We can see the volumetric light from this window and from this selected lamp in the scene .

Fig 48.0

There’s something I want to do. I noticed that this wall shown in the scene is looking very boring. I need it to have depth and be more interesting.

So let’s create a point light. (Fig 49.0)

Fig 49.0

Let’s place it here as shown below.

Fig 50.0

Note that the light I am putting here isn’t volumetric light but it’s just part of things I do, tips or techniques that you can use to give a scene a nicer look and depth.

Fig 50.1

So I’m going to go to the modify panel under this point light and put a texture. (Fig 51.0)

Fig 51.0

This is the IES. There are a lot of textures here.

Fig 52.0

Let’s go with tracking.

Fig 53.0

So what I’m trying to do here is to make it look like this spot light is illuminating this part of the wall.

Fig 54.0

Next, let’s duplicate it and put in the other light from the ceiling as seen in Fig 55.0

Fig 55.0

You can see how it’s giving the scene a nice and interesting feel, instead of just a boring plain wall without anything happening.

Fig. 55.1

Let’s try it for a different angle. I’m still going to use the same techniques. I feel this wall is too plain. Let’s create a point light here also and give it that same texture. (Fig 56.0)

Fig 56.0

To do this, like before, click on modify and then IES.

Fig 57.0

Let’s go with tracking as well. Don’t forget that there are lots of textures that you can use, but I’m just working with the tracking effect for this one. (Fig 58.0)

Fig 58.0

Mind you, the effect will not show until the light is close to and casting on a surface. It just depends on how you want to show it.

Fig 59.0

So now, let us duplicate this also and put one here as seen below. You can see how nice it makes the wall look.

Fig 60.0

And so here you have it ! 😊

This is how you can enhance your visual scene in iClone 8 using the volumetric effect, lights and different textures on the light for more depth. This makes your scenes more interesting and takes them from plain and boring to something superb.

Fig 61.0

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and I hope you start making wonderful projects with the new iClone 8 and while exploring these new features to enhance your projects.

Thank you for having me.

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