P3: Creating a Gritty Office Den

Adding lights to my scene.

Objective

Determine your lighting. Will the scene be in the morning, afternoon, or evening lighting? Will it be illuminated by the daytime light or by the interior lights?

Plan

My initial plan is to set the mood with the sunlight coming in from the windows and have volumetric fog casting rays of light. I want the scene to be dark and moody like in Resident Evil and Deus Ex. Partly sunny. Proper lighting will do just that, as long as I don’t have the rest of the lighting too intense from the directional sunlight.

For the interior lighting, I want the lamp sconces to have a dim light. I also want the bulbs hanging from the ceiling to be dim. Just enough to emit light within range. Lighting from the candles will help as well as the tv and computer screens.

In part 1 of this small series, I talked about my inspirations and how it’s going to help. I have those references opened on my second monitor as I work on the scene. Again, it is always a good idea to have references for everything.

Emissions

Lamps, sconces, tv screens, and bulbs are the only materials that will emit light. They don’t require a light source and it’s cheap in performance. They will cast a dim light to set a dark or a cozy mood. One thing to remember about emissions is that the material must have baked lighting ticked. To have it cast light on other objects, the objects must also be static.

The yellow lamp only has an emission texture to cast light. Because everything around it is static, it is lighting the wall.

I have the sconces not generating much light to its surroundings because I do not want to intensify the material than what it is (at the moment). I will adjust once I substitute the lighting with a cookie point light.

Directional Lighting (Sunlight)

Directional lighting must set the mood. Or at least set it in a position where the direction of the light hits an important area. In my case, I have three windows that lead to the outside. I want the light to come in from them.

The image above has light hitting the curtain which can indicate that there could be something inside important around that area.

The image above has intense lighting on the painting. The light source here is larger than the others, so I would make this area very important in some way.

Cookie Point Lights

The point lights make up the majority of the lighting around the scene. Since we have sconces that need major help, I wanted to take care of it right away. I found a cookie texture on google. If you don’t know what cookies are in Unity, they are masks projected from a light source. So in the texture below, the black areas will be masked, only emitting the white areas.

I want the sconces to feel like it’s emitting light from them. I created point lights for each sconce and applied the cookie texture.

I might also add cookies to some of my other light sources, but that is currently undetermined.

Point Lights

Next, I added a point light above the bed. It could also be an area light which I might change soon.

It’s an important area so I want to make sure it’s properly lit. You can see the light cast onto the bookcase unlike before.

Next, I added a point light to the candle prefab which updated every one of them on the scene! Another reason to love prefabs!

I also added a point light to the fireplace. I gave them a nice orange-red color to glow around the room.

Area Lights

Lastly, I want the tv screen to emit a cool color around its area. The emissions material on the tv is not strong enough to do the job without losing its contrast. So I decided to place an area light in front of the tv screen.

You can see me turn on and off the area light on the image above. It does a good enough job for now.

Conclusion

Light can be tricky. It’s all about playing with the settings to get that mood you want. It’s not 100% finished, but I will keep adjusting the lighting as I develop the scene.

My next post will be about adding fog and volumetric lighting for that extra mood!

Gabriel

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