Print at Mar 24, 2019 9:38:45 PM

Posted by Ceciliabr at Feb 23, 2016 4:10:51 PM
Re: high quality pictures at night - outside
Hello Bart,

I really need to see your project to be able to comment on this, so instead I will try to say something about my own procedures for rendering exteriors after dark.

There are no lights provided in SH3D when the sun has set, so I have to add my own lights : perhaps moonlight, some streetlights, the faint city lights illuminating the horizon, and of course the lights illuminating my object and it's surroundings.

First of all I make a new level, some fifteen-twenty meter above the top of my construction, where I spread out a dozen or more halogen lights. This will be the general light for the scene, and I will adjust the intensity until if gives the desired result.

Then i make another layer, or level, this time some three to five meters above ground, where I can place lights to illuminate the wall of the house, and the surroundings where needed.

For daytime a blue sky, or a textured sky, will produce a nice result, but after dark the sky will go completely black, unless it's textured. Neither a completely black sky nor a daytime sky, will normally give the right impression, so you need to apply a night-texture to the sky. I'm normally using gradient textures that I make with Photoshop. A light orange at the horizon, with a quick fade to a very dark blue. You can add a faint overlay of real clouds to make a more interesting sky, you have to experiment – and keep in mind that only a fraction of the lowest part your texture will actually be visible – and also that the rendered sky will look a bit different than it does in the preview-window. The gradient at the bottom should be very small. I normally make my sky-textures in 2560 px x 1440 px, which is the size of my display.
I normally render low quality previews a lot during the process. Setting light for a night scene can be quite a challenge.

This, of course, requires a powerful computer, preferably a twelve core processor like the one you are using, and a lot of ram. I have edited the memory configuration ( the info.plist) to 16348m, and I have no problems rendering 4K pictures.
A complicated 4K rendering can take many hours, so I usually start them right before bedtime, and normally they are done the next morning. I have never actually timed a 4K rendering, but a A 2K rendering takes 2-3 hours, depending on the complexity.
Sh3D ( or Sunflower), does not use the graphic-cards for rendering. That's probably why it's so slow, but on the other hand, that leaves the graphic cards free for simultaneous rendering in other programs.

I hope this makes any sense…
If I find the time I will post some pictures to visualize the process.