HELP: Lighting Tips

I would like some tips. I’m trying to light a scene, but I SUCK at making good lighting Garry’s Mod.

**This is the image that I’m working on. Just note that mat_fullbright is set to 1!


I want the lighting to add an atmosphere that resembles the future war scenes in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but no matter what tutorials I try, the lighting comes out sh*t in the end…

first off, there’s a much better Terminator model around:

material update on the second page

as for the lighting scheme, the T2 scenes seem to have a very dark blue atmospheric lighting with bleached, a little cyan-tinted blue “moonlight”. create the atmospheric lighting with carefully placed light bulbs - do NOT create sharp highlights with them, keep them some distance away from objects so that everything is lit as evenly as possible. use 2 or 3 bulbs and try to place them so that they light the scene from opposing sides, left and right of the camera for example. putting the radius to something like 8000, maxing the intensity/brightness and choosing a very dark color value - something like RGB 348 or 125 - should help with this. use pale blue lamps for the main lighting.

censoring swearing on fucking Facepunch of all places? come on

OK, thanks. Sorry for censoring. I thought swearing wouldn’t be tolerated.

OK. Decided to start the whole thing over again on gm_black.

I tried doing what Joazzz said, but whatever lighting I do always comes out CRAP. I think it was due to being on rp_salvation_night_redemption, which has shitty lighting.

It sucks starting over again, but I hope it’s worth it…

You’re approaching this from the wrong way. Good lights won’t automatically make a picture good. You need to understand what makes up a good image. I did a writeup a while back that can help you get started. Don’t worry, there are plenty of pictures.

To help, I went ahead and pointed out the most obvious things that you can probably work on.

Worth mentioning that the rule of thirds in composition isn’t always necessary, but it’s a great starting point.

Just using some simple cropping, we can already create a much more interesting picture.

Instead of cropping, just zoom in with the camera ingame. You’ll immediately notice that you can focus on a subject of some kind, and this along will make your images much much more interesting.

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Once you have a good angle set up, you’ll find that lighting the scene will become much easier. I talk about basic 3 point lighting in the guide. That should be able to get you going, and since we are in gmod, you can also use more then just 3 lights. Just be careful not to go overboard.

Using gmods fog is an incredibly useful tool for creating depth as well. A very subtle and tinted fog can go a long way to making the image stand out more. A slightly orange/red fog can represent fire or the heat of battle, a green tinted fog can reinforce a jungle/forest theme by making it feel more humid and gross, and even classic white fog is useful in creating an unsettling atmosphere (Silent Hill).

Hopefully this helps you get started.

Thanks. I’ll be honest, I was very tired when I started working on the original image. I’ve thought the whole image over and have (so far) came up with this.

Please note that this is yet another work in progress, but with some basic lighting.

^This seems very promising, now you could add some color contrast. Some orange explosion in the background or something. Maybe think of some kind of a fog that recedes into the background. Also, give Shepard angrier eyebrows and make his pointing hand a pointing finger.

I would like to put some sort of explosion, but not sure how to do that within Garry’s Mod.

I’ve also places some buildings and debris in the background, but not sure how to professionally use the Fog tool for that.

I do intend to make Shepard’s eyebrows more angrier and pose his hand.

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Here’s an update

I plan to have some sort of explosion behind the Mako, but I have no idea on how to do that. Plus, I want to have some sort of fog in the image, but I want the buildings in the background to be visibly clear.

I’ll leave the lighting till last.

You’ll want to put some more buildings further back. There aren’t nearly enough buildings to establish that this is any kind of urban environment. If you place more buildings further back, you can then use the fog to obscure those while keeping the buildings in front clear (or at least less obscured, I think a little fog there would do some good)

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Also if you’re worried about doing explosions or fancy effects, do the best you possibly can ingame and then put it here. Somebody might be willing to help out.

That’s only if the original is good enough to work with of course. Looks like you’re already miles ahead from where you started though. Keep it up.



As you can see, I’ve placed some more buildings in and gave it some fog. The only thing that I’m aware of that needs doing is the lighting.

you’ve pointed a lamp straight at the scene from behind the camera, which is a common mistake. the lighting needs to come from above, from the side, from behind, basically any direction that is NOT where the viewer is standing. you want to cast shadows, bring out silhouettes and create contrast, not bleach the whole scene with a blast of light. this applies to both daytime and nighttime scenes and i use it constantly. in these pics for example the main light source is pointed at the scene from the side or from above, and that helps bring out the characters and objects and just generally looks visually appealing:[/t][t]

also, brighten the sky or darken the fog. they need to match in color and brightness, almost anyway. ideally, the fog blends with the sky as it fades into the distance.

You see how the sky sticks out so much from the fog? You can actually work around that by placing large flat planes (like the ones included with gmod), giving them a flat white material (or whatever color best fits the scene), and placing them behind the buildings. This will make the fog blend in better.

Everything else though is looking pretty sweet. Like I said before, miles better from what you started with.

also also also, read this guide for sharper shadow edges

How do I do that?

he just told you.

I didn’t understand any of that, to be honest.

One second, I took some pictures.

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Hope this helps.

Managed to blend the fog.

Now, with the lighting, I want it to have a dark atmosphere…

Well in that case darken the whole picture while making certain light sources stand out more, even making them glow in the fog.

Perfect places for that are the clone visors (a blue small ambient light and fog glow) or Samus (same but in green)

Your main scene lights are essentially still far far too dark.

How can I do that? Sorry for asking so many questions, I’m still a new at making stuff like this, even though I’ve been doing GMOD stuff for a little over two years now…