A simple guide to rendering a night scene.
Night scenes can often take a bit more time to set up than a daytime scene. The tricky part is getting the right balance between exposure and lighting.
In this quick tutorial I am going to show some basic settings for rendering an exterior night time scene. First thing to note is that I have the Shaderlight settings on ‘Exterior’.
A little tip…
Something we do here at the Shaderlight HQ when rendering a night scene is to create a custom ‘nightsky’ jpg to use as the environment background. This is just a small dark blue image file which will then bring some light into the scene giving it that ‘blue’ night time glow.
Under the Lighting heading in the Shaderlight Render Settings, set the Type to ‘Custom’, then under Image navigate to the location of your ‘nightsky.jpg’.
The next thing is to set the exposure. Auto Exposure works just like your digital camera.
- If your lighting is very bright, the exposure is automatically adjusted so that the image isn’t burnt out.
- If you have very little light, the exposure is adjusted so that you don’t have a very dark image.
For this particular night-time render, I have turned off Auto exposure. This then allows me to have full manual control over the exposure levels and to be able adjust them accordingly for my render.
The scene lighting has to be balanced using a combination of light Intensity and scene Exposure levels. In this scene I have used Spotlights and Area lights to cast light up the sides of the building. You can see the Light Intensity is not that high, which is because I don’t want them to be too bright in my night render.
I have used the ‘Lighting Environment’ for the Background setting, which means that Shaderlight will render the environment that is lighting the scene instead of the SketchUp background. You can then upload your background image and adjust the Brightness levels to suit your scene. It is best to check you are happy with your settings as you do them by rendering on a low quality. This will allow you to change them if you need to and using ‘Auto’ update you will be able to see the changes happen as you make them.
Once you are happy with all your settings, you can the render your model at high quality.