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Seano

Does actual scene scale affect lighting?

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I have tried to work to real-world scale for some time now, since it makes working with models sourced from CAD as well as custom models easier to compare to real-world measurements.  Many of my 3D product models are relatively small, i.e. between 6 inches and 6 feet.   I was under the impression that scene elements such as lighting in Cinema 4D were independent of scene scale, but recently read (in a discussion elsewhere) that Cinema 4D's lights do not scale down to small product size.  This claim wasn't refuted by the respected, knowledgeable OP in his reply to the comment.  Am I missing something, i.e. would I get better lighting and render results if I scaled up small scenes?

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If you are using GI then yes absolutely . If you are using physical renderer then also yes as some aspects such as absorption and occlusion are physically scaled, however the lighting and materials beyond this are relative rather than absolute. As a general rule of thumb it's always best to work 1:1 unless you have a serious need to do otherwise. Particularly if you are planning to share your files with others.

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Light falloffs and especially IES lights are definitly scale dependent. The moment you want to get physically correct results you should start caring for correct scene scale.

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If light has a falloff then yes it depends on the scene size. ie. a 100 watt light bulb might illuminate a room nicely, but if you put that bulb in a dolls house everything will bleach out.

 

One bit of advice for anyone working on smaller scale scenes (products, bottles, phones etc). In your project settings, change the first scale setting from cm to mm. This will cause all default objects and scene elements to be 10x smaller.


Matthew O'Neill - 3D Fluff - www.3dfluff.com

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  • Thanks for the comments.  So I take it that the claim that 'Cinema 4D's lights do not scale down properly for small products and scenes" would be completely incorrect? 

     

    Even for projects not destined for hyper-realism, I try to maintain workflow practices, such as keeping measurements to scale, that would support realistic renders, and would like to continue with this unless there is a really good practical reason no to.

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