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Digital Lighting & Rendering 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1562059545
ISBN-10: 1562059548
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

New Riders' [digital] series is performing a tremendous service to the computer animation and graphics community. The newest addition to this family is [digital] Lighting & Rendering. Author Jeremy Birn has long been regarded as a talented computer graphics artist and generous writer, and he's been sharing his techniques and discoveries for years.

Using computer graphic and 3-D tools to create accurate images is easy; using them to produce beautiful, inviting, memorable images requires more than technical skill. [digital] Lighting & Rendering introduces reasons and techniques for using light, shadow, texture, and composition. The book is not software-specific, but demonstrates techniques that are applicable to almost any 3-D graphics application. It is assumed, however, that your 3-D software of choice supports such basic rendering features as soft shadows, light maps, colored gels, depth-of-field blur, motion blur, and so on.

The first half of the book discusses lighting and shadow: lighting workflow; light types; using lighting rigs, such as three-point lighting; shadows and shadow type; and light quality. Lighting--how it's used, where it's placed, the kind of shadow it casts, its intensity--is critical to any image, whether you're creating a photorealistic computer re-creation or a surreal fantasy picture. [digital] Lighting & Rendering explains not just how to use various lighting techniques, but why.

An outstanding chapter on color and its use through composition and lighting offers insight into how colors are perceived and how color affects a scene. The importance of color, hue, and saturation should not be underestimated, and the examples in this chapter, like in every other, drive home that point.

Additional chapters cover exposure, composition and staging, materials and textures, and compositing. There is no accompanying CD-ROM, but the platform-generic nature of the book (and of the subject matter itself) makes it unnecessary. The book is designed to educate and inform; it is up to readers to apply what they learn to their own projects.

Although fewer than 300 pages long, [digital] Lighting & Rendering is an informative and important book, useful to any computer graphics artist. Each page is filled with fascinating, immediately helpful information about the craft. The publisher spared no expense on the book's production, either--every page is in color, with at least one color photo per page illuminating the text. Mr. Birn's experience and insight are not to be underestimated, and this book is not to be missed. --Mike Caputo

From the Back Cover

Digital Lighting contains strategies for lighting design that are relevant to any digital artist. It presents an awareness of computer lighting models, how they differ from real-world lighting effects, and how to approach 3D lighting projects differently from practical light. Topics covered include: What good lighting can do for you; Light sources; Shading; Shadows; Exposure and content; Color: temperature, correction, mood; Qualities of light; 3-point lighting; Indirect illumination; Multipass rendering and compositing; Lighting in production; and Case studies: natural lighting, interior lighting, character lighting, and effects lighting.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders Press; 1 edition (July 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1562059548
  • ISBN-13: 978-1562059545
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,027,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I recently evaluated several books on this topic for inclusion my spring term reading list, and Jeremy Birn's "Digital Lighting & Rendering" has emerged as the clear winner. I learned a great deal from reading it myself, and am highly recommending it (although not assigning it) to the students in my Advanced Rendering class.
The book has "quality" written all over it: color printing throughout every page, Mr. Birn's own professional 3D renderings illustrate every section with an inspiring attention to detail, and every topic from art theory to the latest rendering algorithms is accurately researched and crisply described.
The book did not include a large number of tutorials or step-by-step projects, but was generously spiced with tips, tricks, and web links that I found immediately useful to my 3D work. The processes of developing professional lighting schemes, color schemes, and cinematic compositions were covered with a depth and thoroughness that has actually helped my concept sketches and oil paintings almost as much as my 3D work!
It was not focused around any specific application software, although I noticed a high-end bias, with examples and screen-shots frequently based in Softimage, Maya, 3D Studio Max, Lightwave 3D, and Renderman, although this book could easily be used by any reasonably experienced artist working in Hash Animation Master, POV-Ray, Truespace, or other affordable programs as well - high quality lighting is equally important in any 3D rendering package, and Mr. Birn has beautifully presented everything that a professional 3D artist needs to achieve it. In a sea of weak and mediocre computer graphics publications, this is a shining example of what can happen when an accomplished pro labors to share all of his knowledge - if you are currently creating any 3D renderings, I recommend buying and reading this extraordinary book as soon as possible.
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Format: Paperback
If you aspire to be a 3D artist (3D modeling, animation, rendering), and you've never had traditional training in drawing or photography, I highly recommend that you study this book. It covers many important topics that you may have missed out on. This book includes color theory, light (and shadow) behaviors, composition and many other topics that are vital to all forms of art, including 3D computer art.
The author compares computer-world aspects of lighting and rendering to their real-world equivalents and demonstrates that a photographer's tip can be a 3D artist's tip (and visa versa). This makes the book more than just an excellent computer 3D rendering book; this book is also a great addition to any photographer's bookshelf.
Each topic is wonderfully illustrated with color images that depict exactly what is being discussed; clearly and without distraction. For example, you can see for yourself what the different properties, capabilities and shadow types are among point lights, area lights, spotlights and so forth without having to wade through technical jargon or executing tests with your 3D software. These types of lights are demonstrated on simple spheres, on a flat surface, instead of full 3D scenes, allowing the reader to see the vital details quickly instead of being forced to study the image and draw conclusions.
The author guides you through selecting the most effective light type, the number of light sources to use and where the lights should be placed into your scene, depending on what your objectives are and how much time you have to render the final work. This makes the book a great guide to have on hand during the setup process of your 3D scenes.
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Format: Paperback
Jeremy Birn puts everything together in one book that you need to produce professional quality photo-real renderings. Overall the skill-level is fairly advanced and non-condescending - although the beginning of each section seems to start with basic definitions that most readers probably already know, most sections pick up to a more professional level a few pages later and strike a good balance between being useful and being readable.
I'd say that about 10% of the contents of this book are unique "golden nuggets" - original tips and explanations that I hadn't seen anywhere else - stuff that doesn't appear in software manuals, is skipped in other books, and is worth the price of the book by itself (thanks to Mr. Birn for a new approach to making shadows-only lights, and a technique luminance-equalizing tiling maps I was just using today!).
30% of the info in this book is what you'd expect to find in any good cinematography text, only Birn explains it all along with useful translations into 3D- this is the main guts of the book, and it's beautifully executed.
Maybe another 30% is art theory, color theory, and other tips on what makes a better-looking final rendering - any good artist should know this stuff, and this is one of the best-written overviews of the material I've seen.
Another 30% is info from the computer science, image processing, compositing techniques and other technical info - here the book really shines for explaining & illustrating advanced algorithms in non-nerdy terms. Web sites that discuss some of the topics the book covers (such as Photon Mapping as an alternative to conventional Radiosity) require really hardcore math, whereas Birn explains it all clearly with production-oriented pros and cons of the techniques.
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