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Free Poser tutorial

Tips & Tutorials
The 3D Artist Team

Add visible beams of light in your Poser renders

Free Poser tutorial

Visible light beams are one such effect that can lift a plain render to a whole new level. For example, the main image here has only one Spotlight, but the addition of the atmospheric effects, including the light beams, has helped to give it depth and visual interest far beyond what a flat Poser render would have offered. The trade-off is an increase in the render time, but it’s not too excessive and I think the results easily justify the extra time. Once you get the hang of the concept, you’ll wonder how you ever rendered without it!

The Material Room
Bizarrely enough, the place to start is under the Advanced tab in the Material Room. You’ll see at the top of the screen a drop-down list of all the elements in your scene, labelled Object. In here are all the figures, props and lights, but right at the bottom you’ll notice an easily-missed entry labelled Atmosphere. Click on this – it shows a list of parameters, the most important being Volume On, which you need to check and Volume Density; I set this to 0.5 for this particular image. You can leave the other parameters alone for the time being.

Lighting setup
Once you have your lighting setup, you’ll need to decide which Spotlights you want to display the volumetric effect. You get to choose at this point, which is extremely important, as the more lights which have the effects enabled, the longer the final render time will be. The option is to be found in the Properties tab for each light where Atmosphere Strength controls the effect – if this is set to 0, the effect is switched off for that particular light. You’ll need to go through and set each light individually. In the example here, I only have one light, which I set to 0.01000.

Shadow masks
The simple setup described above will give you a visible cone of light emanating from your Spot light, but if you really want to give it an extra dimension, a shadow mask will make all the difference. I produced a greyscale image of a simple grid in Photoshop, where white allowed the light to pass through and where black blocked the light. This was added to the Spot light in the Material Room, via the Texture Manager and then the light was set to cast shadows in the Properties tab. Using this method, your light beam can really look like it’s part of the environment in which your scene is rendered.


About the artist Paul Francis is a former modeller for Red Dwarf; he’s also a keen photographer.

  • thanks a lot – exactly what i was looking for !