Poser Tutorials


Poser Pro Lighting Basics

This document covers the use of the Face Room including: Lights, Render Settings, Materials, and Close.

Successfully lighting a scene is dependant on a number of components. In addition to the lights, the surface Materials and the render settings play a key role. We’ll focus on the lights first then the render settings, and then move into the object Materials.

Requirements: Poser 7 or later.

Section 1

For this tutorial. we’ll delete the default male character and load Sydney from the Content Library. Open the render settings and for now just move the slider one notch to the right and uncheck the Gamma correction button. We’ll get back to those settings later on in the tutorial.

Now, lets switch to the Face Camera and hit the Render Button. Your result should look similar to the image below.

This is obviously not the most lifelike render. One major factor contributing to this look is the default lighting, however successfully lighting a scene is dependant on a number of components. Among them, the surface Materials and the render settings. We’ll focus on the lights first then the render settings, and then move into the object Materials.
We’ll position our 3 lights in a vary basic studio format. We’ll use one light as our main light and position it directly at the figure, then use a fill light off to the side to remove abrupt shadows, and then use the 3rd light as a backlight. In the most basic studio setting a backlight might not be used.

2. First, let’s set the color of all of the lights to white. On the lighting controls slick on the center default light

This will update the properties palette to show the parameters for “Light 2”. On the properties palette, set the R,G,B values of the light to 1.0.

Now, set the name of this light. We’ll change this one to “Main” set the type of light to “SPOT” and leave the intensity set to 100%. Your settings should look like this:

Now, from the Object Menu with the “Main” light selected, choose “Point At...”

The point At Dialogue box will open displaying the scene hierarchy. Choose the “Head” Actor.

Now, select the light in the upper left. This should be “Light 2” repeat the steps above but name the light “Fill” and set the intensity to 50%.

Finally, select the light o the lower right. This should be “Light 3”. Repeat the steps again but do not change this light to a Spot light, leave it as an infinite light. Rename it to “Back” and set the intensity to 65%.

Your scene should look similar to this:

We have included a set of lights named Tutorial, in “Light” library of the runtime for this tutorial.


Now, let’s position the lights. Again, we’re simulating a real world basic lighting setup.

First, move the Main light in front of the figure at eye level but slightly to the right. This will be the light that predominantly laminates the scene.

Next, let’s move the Fill light down a bit. The idea for this light is that it removes any harsh shadows caused by the Main light, and “softens” things up a bit. Finally, position the backlight directly behind the character. In this case the backlight won’t do much until we get some more advance materials on the character. You’re scene should look something like this:

Render with default settings now and you should get something like the image below. This is a noticeable improvement over where we started but there are still some glaring problems that dispel any realism. For example, the skin looks flat  and the eyes are flat.

You can compare the renders side by side by moving the slider at the bottom of the render preview window.

Render Settings

Now, let’s look at render settings to improve this situation. Notice that the nostrils are lit up, and the eyeballs are consistently with in all areas. We’re going to add Ambient Occlusion to the scene to improve these areas. This requires editing both lights and textures.

First, select the Main light and on the Parameter Dials palette and switch to the Properties tab. Select the AO check box and set the value to .05. The default is too strong for this purpose. If you render now. you won’t see much of a change.

Now, let’s work with the characters materials. Switch to the materials room and in the scene click on the characters head. (You should see the eyedropper tool when you do this.) Now, switch to the advanced tab at the top of the material editor and you should see something similar to this:

To add AO to a Material, simply click on the “Set Up Ambient Occlusion” button on the Wacros palette. This will attach the AO shader node to the Diffuse and Secular channels. Repeat this for the Body, EyetransLeft, and EyetransRight materials.

Now, let’s do a Render and compare. We’re much better that before. Notice the nostrils are now darkened and the eyes have depth to them. We still have a few improvements to make but we’re getting close. If you looks at the nostrils and the upper lip closely, you can see that they look dirty and shadows are not entirely smooth. This is predominantly due to the render settings. We’re still using pretty close to the defaults and the irradiance caching is set to 60. The higher this number the smoother the AO effect will be. If you see banding in shadows or a dirty look when using AO, it can generally be attributed to a low irradiance caching number and/or a high AO setting on a light. Let’s change the settings to the following:

The raytrace bounces are not absolutely necessary for this tutorial but when working with eyes, they typically have multiple layers and can include reflection and refraction.

Now, after rendering we can see that the shadows are smoother and the eyelashes are much cleaner.


Now, with Sydney selected, lets go back to the Material room and apply some more advance textures. In this case, the “Sydney Shine Gen” set. Check G2 docs for more info on using these characters.

We’l have to re-apply AO as we did before to the body, head, and both Eyetrans materials.

Now, let’s render this set of materials with our lights. As you can see, this is a tremendous improvement over our starting render.

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