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Book Review – Digital Lighting and Rendering by Jeremy Birn



Author: Jeremy Birn
ISBN: 0321316312
Publisher: New Riders Press
2 edition
432 pages
Published: April 2006

The previous edition of Digital Lighting and Rendering by Jeremy Birn is very popular with those who wish to master 3D lighting and rendering as well as with those who teach this subject. It is suggested reading for digital lighting courses at several universities. This second edition is updated to reflect advancements in techniques and technology for digital 3D software.

The first few chapters cover traditional lighting concepts and answer basic questions such as which is the best lighting for various situations. Then, the author moves into more specific topics, beginning with shadows and occlusion. He discusses techniques for casting various types of shadows and what purpose shadows have in the scene. You cannot have shadows without light. Therefore, the author covers the different types of lighting such as global illumination, natural and artificial light. He also discusses how to light the characters in your scene and how lighting defines the character’s form and movement.

When you model the characters and objects for your scene, they start out with a smooth, dull gray color and you will use shaders to give them color and texture. Birn discusses how to use several shaders including raytracing, Reyes algorithms and GPU acceleration. Besides shaders, you can also use texture mapping to add color and texture. Birn covers the types of texture maps, how they are made and how to align them to your model.

Eventually, it is time to build your scene or animation which requires placement of characters, objects, lights and cameras. The author discusses several rules for composition and staging. Once all the staging is complete, it's time to render your scene and Birn covers many professional tips for this technical subject including multiple renderings and flexibility.

Jeremy Birn has worked in the technical lighting field for many years. His recent works include Cars and The Incredibles.




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