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Old 10-09-2005, 08:33 AM   #1
Lifire
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Default lightning effect (dynamics)

I created this lightning effect and set the values to what I thought looked best to me. Then I added a background in maya (on a plane) to set up a good perspective, but when the lightning is in front of the background, it gets way too bright and has a huge glow. The only way to disable this is to turn the glow almost all the way off, but then it defeats the purpose. The first image is the effect settings.

I deleted the only light in my scene (direction light) and that seemed to take the glow off the background, but then I have no lights

So is this most likely a problem with my directional light, my lightning effect, or my background plane (shader)? Any ideas what settings I should change?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-09-2005, 08:36 AM   #2
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This is the effect with no background behind it (as seen from the camera).
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Old 10-09-2005, 08:37 AM   #3
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The effect with a background behind in maya.
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Old 10-09-2005, 08:38 AM   #4
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And finally, what I want it to look like as a straight render from maya (but this was done in PS).

I also tested the light intensity, but that doesn't help. Besides, I would lose the color it casts on objects.
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Old 10-09-2005, 07:15 PM   #5
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Well, from my experience with shots including lightning, I would do one of the following instead of using Mayas Lightning effect:

1. do it in POST!

In post, you have way more control over position and look.
It is pretty much a safe bet that anything that needs glow, it would be better, and more controllable in post.

2. Create a curve between your lightning start and end points/objects, and attach one of the many lightning Paint FX brushes, and control it from there


Also, from the docs regarding the lightning effect:

Light Intensity:
When you create lightning, a light at the center of the lightning is also created, which casts light on surrounding objects. The default intensity of the light is based on the Glow Intensity attribute, and the difference between the Lightning Start and the Lightning End attributes. The Light Intensity attribute multiplies this default intensity. Increase the value of Light Intensity to increase the lighting of the surrounding objects.


Adjust the lightning shader:
In the lightning shader, Color, Incandescence, and Glow Intensity are set by the lightning attributes and cannot be changed in the shader.
You can adjust the other shader attributes.
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Old 10-09-2005, 08:15 PM   #6
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Great suggetion! My two main problems with doing this specific project in post (for an animation):

1) Time and work. I would need to keyframe the lightning positions as well as a layer mask for when other objects would cover it up.

2) I would lose the light and color that it casts on other objects.

So I'll test the paint FX.

What's odd though, is that if I reopen my completed model and then add another plane with the background I have been testing, it renders the lightning in front of it just fine... after I move the plane and change my camera view, it seems to intensify the glow, which doesn't make much sense, so I have no explanation for the changes.

Maybe there is some light linking I can do to turn off the light and reflections the plane with the background receives from the lightning light node?

Edit: Tested the paint FX and it doesn't want to make the curve paintable. Also, are the only lightning brushes in the electric folder?
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Old 10-09-2005, 09:29 PM   #7
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My responses are below your questions:

1) I would need to keyframe the lightning positions as well as a layer mask for when other objects would cover it up.
Yup, I understand
2) I would lose the light and color that it casts on other objects.
Well, like you say below, you could create another light with the same color and link it to the Intensity-Out and RGB-out of the lightning light, and use light linking so it only affects your chosen objects.
...after I move the plane and change my camera view, it seems to intensify the glow, which doesn't make much sense, so I have no explanation for the changes.
Weird, it migh be a distance to camera-normal issue... not sure..
Maybe there is some light linking I can do to turn off the light and reflections the plane with the background receives from the lightning light node?
Yep, I would try that if you aren't comfortable with doing this in a 3d compositor where you can control light color on only your object layers.
...Tested the paint FX and it doesn't want to make the curve paintable.
That is because the default lightning effect "bolt" is not a curve persay, it is an extruded softbody, and therefore with its dynamic connections, is not accepting your command to be paintable.
...it should still work tho... weird...
Also, are the only lightning brushes in the electric folder?
Yes.
You can tweak them to make them look, and act the way you want, as well as animate the control curve for more interesting effects as well.
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Old 11-09-2005, 04:18 AM   #8
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Also, just "in case" you wanted a BASIC step-by-step on doing lightning/electricity/arcing effects in Post (specificly AE), here is a post tutorial for ya regarding this:

http://aftereffects.digitalmedianet....e.jsp?id=31296
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Old 11-09-2005, 06:12 AM   #9
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"That is because the default lightning effect "bolt" is not a curve persay, it is an extruded softbody, and therefore with its dynamic connections, is not accepting your command to be paintable.
...it should still work tho... weird..."

It won't let me because the curve is not a nurbs or polygon object.

I don't know if I completely understood what you suggested with paint FX. Are we talking about lightning effects or the electric brushes? The burshes have to be painted on a nurbs or polygon surface, which a curve is not, and you can't make it a paintable object. Please specify further

Thanks for the help. I'm sure I could do this in AE with no problems, but I just think it would be quicker and more efficient for this short clip just to do light linking, but I don't know how to go about that. I guess I'll research that later. I'm fairly new to maya, but I've only played around with modeling before. I have never really learned about lights, rendering, or effects, that's why I have all the "newb" questions.
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:02 AM   #10
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No problem

Also, just fyi for future reference:

You can manually attach brushes to existing CV or EP curves, in effect, turning the curves into Paint Effects strokes. This is a convenient way to convert existing curves into strokes. Laying the stroke path using a curve may also give you better control over the stroke path (for example, if you want a single stroke to wrap continuously around a 3D object).


To attach a brush to curves do one of the following:

-Select the brush preset you want to apply to the curves, such as a lightning brush

-or-

Get brush settings from an existing stroke. (Select the stroke and select Paint Effects > Get Settings from Selected Stroke.)


Then, modify the brush attributes, if necessary (Paint Effects > Template Brush Settings or use the Ctrl-b (IRIX, Linux and Windows) or Control-b (Mac OS X) hotkey combination).

NOTE:
For information on modifying brush attributes, see "Define template brush settings" in the docs


Then:
Select the curves you want to attach a brush to.
Select Paint Effects > Curve Utilities > Attach Brush to Curves.

Done! Easy as pie

Good luck!
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:07 AM   #11
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Ah, much appreciated :attn:

I'll have some fun with those later.
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