If you are starting this tutorial here, you will need the result of the previous section.

Now let's look at the lighting.

Top Key Light

The main lighting direction is going to be coming from the top and slightly to the front. This will throw the shadow slightly behind and place a large highlight on the top of the pen. It will also light up the back and floor of the curtain thereby providing a gray reflection.

  • Delete the key and fill cylinder lights from the scene, leaving just the top light.
  • Select the top light and change its Light Type to Quad. Set the Exposure to 13.5 and the Quad Size to 70 & 250.


  • Turn the light round so it is facing the pen and straighten it up. Move the far edge so it is sitting against the back of the curtain. This will prevent any dark reflections on the back.


  • Render the image to see the result of adding the top light.


Front Fill Light
  • Now we need to add another light to the front to lessen the black strip and brighten up the floor.
  • Duplicate the top light. Lower the Exposure to 10 and change the Quad Size height to 50.


  • Move the light round to the front.


  • And render the scene again...


The background is still quite dark but we will address that in the next section.

Ground Light

Let's add another light to lighten the background. Duplicate the top light and set the Quad Size height to 40.


  • Rotate the light around so it is angled towards the pen and away from the backdrop. We only want it to light the ground as lightening the backdrop would subsequently lighten the reflection in the rear side of the pen.


  • Render the scene to see the result.


  • And not surprisingly it's all too bright. Lower the Exposure of the ground_light down slightly to 14. We don't really want the light to brighten the pen, only the background. There are a few ways we could approach this, perhaps by tweaking the shaders or by light-linking but as this is a lighting tutorial let's use a lighting solution.

The background is purely diffuse, it has no specular component. The pen is purely specular and has no diffuse. This allows us to remove the specular contribution of the new light so it doesn't affect the pen.

  •  In the Contribution tab set the Specular contribution to 0. This light will now have no effect on specular and will only light the background, not the pen. 


  • Render the scene again. The background should still be brighter but the pen will look the same.


Render Settings

There isn't a lot of noise in the image but you could increase the Glossy and Diffuse Samples and the Light Samples on the main light to have a cleaner render.

The one setting that does need to increase is the Glossy Depth. This is the number of times a glossy ray bounces. The lack of bounces is visible at the catch of the pen, where the glossy reflection is black.

  • Increase the Glossy Depth to 3 to fully reflect the catch into the body.




Final Render


Scene Analysis

It is worth looking at the AOVs to understand how the contribution of the lights and the environment effect the look of the pen.

The direct_diffuse and indirect_diffuse AOVs show only the background.


The direct_specular AOV shows the direct lighting of the main light as a large white highlight) and the fill light as the smaller gray highlight.


The indirect_specular AOV shows the indirect lighting after it has reflected back from the studio.


 Looking at the studio setup from the side we can see how it reflects in the pen's cylindrical shape.



You can download the result of this section below.



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