Lighting & Rendering Destruction FX in Houdini & Nuke

Taught by Liam Whitehouse

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
April 2015 
8 hours 40 minutes 
Autodesk Maya, Side FX Houdini and The Foundry Nuke will be used in this course to complete photoreal lighting for the visual effects destruction scene which was started in the HOU213 course. You will have access to highly detailed assets which have been made by fxphd which will allow you to render out lighting passes for a detailed Nuke composite. This course will cover some finishing touches to the FX work as well as an in depth look at the lighting process for feature film VFX.

For any 3D artist wanting to learn how to complete photoreal lighting for large scale CGI scenes, this will be an excellent course to undertake. This course will allow you to light other photoreal vfx scenes using the same techniques and procedures used to integrate CGI vehicles and assets into background film footage.

The course is taught by Liam Whitehouse who has been in the 3D and visual effects industry since 2003, graduating from Griffith University with a degree in Industrial Design. Liam has been recently teaching VFX at Griffith University Film School, and Nuke at Queensland College of Art in Brisbane Queensland.
Lighting & Rendering Destruction FX in Houdini & Nuke
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1

A brief overview of the history up to date of Computer Generated Lighting Technology. Covering the first rendering engine and computer PIXAR Renderman up to the current Physically based lighting systems used today. We also delve into reference photography of buildings and how sunlight reflects off the glass. Key attributes of real life lighting will be studied and noted to allow for reproduction in Nuke composites.

Class 2

Lighting and Color Science. An overview of color spaces, look up tables (LUT's) the CIE and DCI Color diagrams, 8bit color vs 16bit color and an explination of computer monitors and color grading monitors like the Dreamcolor and Eizo CG monitors used by Lighting Artists to reproduce cinema colors on their desktop.

Class 3

How to capture and use High Dynamic Range Images, so that they can be used to integrate any 3D object into any 3D environment in a photorealistic way. The concepts behind the HDR workflow will be covered as well as a look at gamma curves and lighting reflectivity from the HDRI in 3D software. Finally the importance of matching the background plate or photography and the HDRI orientation and color will be covered to put together a test scene to highlight correct HDRI setup.

Class 4

Finalizing FX Elements from Visual Effects Shot. Often additional minor elements may be requested by the Sequence Lead and these can be fine tuned or added in so that they can be lit and rendered ready for compositing in Nuke. All the FX Elements need to be setup in the best way possible for Rendering in separate passes or AOV layers for the Compositor. We cover how to setup new or existing fx elements for rendering.

Class 5

Setup of HDRI lighting and Projection mapped background plate. We cover the correct professional setup of the high res background plate which is projection mapped onto building geometry, as well as the import and setup of the HDRI image for lighting the scene. The orientation of the HDRI can be changed to adjust the lighting and the brightness adjusted.

Class 6

Rendering of first lighting passes for import into Nuke. We cover planning out the AOV passes and separate layers required for compositing the shot together in Nuke. 3D Software is slow to re-render minor changes while Nuke is faster, so this will be shown in example scenes. The advantages and dis-advantages of "lighting in Nuke" will be covered showing the file sizes and scene complexity for outputting lighting render passes to re-light the scene in compositing software vs using the 3D package to finalize lighting.

Class 7

Compositing in Nuke overview. We cover a basic overview of the Nuke interface for beginners then dive straight into channels and setting up read nodes and merge nodes to composite the render layers together. Once the Composite setup is finished we will cover how to import updated renders easily into the comp.

Class 8

Color Grading 3D Renders in Nuke. The color grading of separate nodes in Nuke including the background is one of Nuke's most powerful features over 3D applications. The ability to work in the Linear Floating point workspace of Nuke allows students to adjust the color of any element without damaging the image data. Students will learn how to use all the different color correction nodes and how to color grade 3d elements into photoreal backgrounds.

Class 9

Special Effects in Nuke. The lense flares, light glows, sun flares, explosion glows, sparkles, grain and other effects can add in the most important natural effects to cgi elements. We cover the optical effects visible in real life and explain how to apply them in Nuke using special render passes. These optical effects will add in the finishing touches to the lighting composite in nuke.

Class 10

How to update review versions with 3D and Nuke files and how to render out the review quicktimes and full HD uncompressed formats for Editors. We go in depth into the exporting of small files for internet preview and large files for cinema delivery for VFX shots. The naming, compression and file naming burn in of review versions will be covered in setups you can use for your own vfx projects.