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Lighting without Lights

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Burnzoire, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. Burnzoire

    Burnzoire L1: Registered

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    Lighting without "lights"?

    Hi guys. I'm new here but not new to mapping (build, worldcraft, radiant, unrealed, hammer). But there are still plenty of things that elude me!

    My question is something that I've had a hard time finding an answer for, and I've read a ton of lighting articles.

    How do I light a room with spot lights, without ending up with nasty dark ceilings & corners, and horrid lightmap glitches in low-light areas? I don't have screenshots with me at the moment, but I'm hoping you can tell me what I'm doing wrong.

    My process of creating a light in TF2 has been (from top to bottom) prop->sprite->spotlight->light. Without the light entity I have found it impossible to light large indoor rooms, or even small brightly lit rooms like spawn rooms.

    I looked at a decompiled map yesterday to see what I was doing wrong yet I don't see them using light entities anywhere. They use a lightglow but I didn't think that actually affected lightmaps? Is there something else I'm missing?

    Thanks in advance,
    Burnzoire

    ps: Perhaps a tutorial is needed for lighting rooms of different shapes and sizes? Indoor, outdoor, mixed? I hope I haven't overlooked the obvious :blush:
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
  2. DerrikeG

    DerrikeG L1: Registered

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    You should read the tutorial here for some nice lighting techniques.
    I personally use a large spread with symmetrical lighting all around a room.

    Lighting indoors, can give almost a sense of direction, notice how the lighting here highlights the door and pretty much guides the player out of their spawn.
    My light settings.
    (The top lights use 600 brightness as opposed to 800, also they're upside down.)
    The image also uses env_sprites set to 255 if you couldn't see them in there.

    This may not answer your question completely, so I'll give another example.
    I had to use spotlights with 1600 brightness and an inner/outer angle of 60/75 (four of them along the wall) on each wall of a 2048*2048 room to get it reasonably lit.

    You may have to go overboard on lighting sometimes, be it one really bright light or a bunch of not-so-bright lights, but try and use these two methods within reason.
    (You don't want a curious player to walk up to a light and feel like they just hopped into a supernova.)
     
  3. Altaco

    Altaco L7: Fancy Member

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    If you're getting really dark areas it's quite possible you have a leak. When you have a leak vrad doesn't run all the way (it doesn't compute light bounces) which results in patchy and darker than usual lighting.
     
  4. Open Blade

    Open Blade L7: Fancy Member

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    Yup, see if you can load a pointfile and that will let you know if you have a leak. If you can't see the texture on the ceiling at all then it's a good bet you have a leak. If it's just too dark because your using spot lights, you can always place just a normal light bulb closer to the ceiling at a low level output and it will give a nice spread of light but you can't really tell it's coming from any source because the setting is lower. I do that all the time.
     
  5. Burnzoire

    Burnzoire L1: Registered

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    Thanks for your replies. I'm at work so I can't check for a leak, but I'd be very surprised if there were one. I'll triple check anyway.

    [​IMG]
    Take this for example - you can see the ceiling just fine even though the spot is aimed down (and yeah I've already read that tut plus many others). In my map, just using a spot would result in a dark ceiling, i.e no bounce. Does this mean I have a leak, or perhaps I need to do an advanced compile? I'm running it with lighting at "normal".

    I'm asking here simply because I wasted so much time getting it right that I just gave up and put lights in addition to spotlights to get the desired effect. After seeing that valve don't do this I really must figure this out.

    When I get home I'll check for leaks, and post some screenshots if the problem persists.

    cheers
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  6. Burnzoire

    Burnzoire L1: Registered

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    on re-reading this it must be what is happening. I thought I would have noticed a leak :|
     
  7. FaTony

    FaTony Banned

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    I know how valve did lighting without light in hydro. Prop_static, func_illusionary with all expect bottom sides nodraw. bottom side covered by light/light* texture. Go see spawnroom and corridor under radar dish in Hydro.
     
  8. Burnzoire

    Burnzoire L1: Registered

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    Ok so I've taken my "light" entities back away, and have some screenshots of it with just spots. It's not as bad as it used to be, in fact it's probably fine now (after tweaks). Not sure what to make of it...

    But one problem still remains, and that's the blotchiness, though it is obvious now that it is caused by the bounce of env_light from the windows. Wow it's made a meal of my lightmap! Any idea how to combat this?

    note: rafters layer was turned off for this test
     
  9. Sgt Frag

    Sgt Frag L14: Epic Member

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    Lighting always takes a long time if that's what you mean by 'made a meal out of my lightmaps'

    I like to use a regular light entity. Give it a brightness of 200 (standard, you don't want to blind people), a 50% falloff radius of something small like 100 (make sure the yellow helper shpere doesn't touch anything-adjust accordingly), make the 0% falloff large like 1500-2500 depending on room size.

    That'll give you a soft fill light that wont kill shadows but will add some light to the walls/ceiling.
    Keep the inner sphere away from stuff or you'll get a 'hot spot'
     
  10. FaTony

    FaTony Banned

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    Make it 1 constant 1 linear.
     
  11. Burnzoire

    Burnzoire L1: Registered

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    Nah I mean it's made a dog's breakfast out of it - i.e a mess. As you can see in the screenshots, the squares of light from the windows are bounced all over the place.

    It's less noticeable if I add Lights to fill it out, just wondering if that was avoidable.
     
  12. eerieone

    aa eerieone

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    hmm, i usually just place an env_light, not too strong of course, and then let bounce do its magic
    with 30-50 bounces you should get well lit rooms and ceilings, as well as more believeable shadows
    but it takes extra-time to compile, but it´s definately worth it
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  13. Burnzoire

    Burnzoire L1: Registered

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    Well if it works for cashworks, I'll give it a shot. Cheers! I assume I'll have to read up on expert compiling then ;)
     
  14. Sgt Frag

    Sgt Frag L14: Epic Member

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    talking about bounces.

    I heard that you can change the amount and standard is about 20. Although I only get 15.
    Someone during a gameday told me that hammer was just probably done calculating and didn't need to do anymore. I wasn't sure if that was right or not and haven't had time to look into it.

    How do you make it do more bounces?