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Special effects with negative lighting in Bryce

Special effects with negative lighting in Bryce

Author: - esha - Printable Version
Step 1: Prepare your scene
Step 2: Switch off the sun
Step 3: Create a light source
Step 4: Edit the light
Step 5: Combining two light sources
Step 6: Negative lighting and colours
Step 7: More light
Step 8: More color
Step 9: Complementary colors
Tools Needed
* Bryce 5

Support Files


In Bryce you can create negative lighting. You can use this to create dark corners and the like without changing your light settings. You can also use this to create some very special effects.

Note: This tutorial is written for Bryce 5.5, but it will also work for Bryce 5.

Step 1 - Prepare your scene
I will use a very simple scene with an object which will cast shadows and some walls where the shadows will appear.

Of course, the principle is the same with every scene.

The file I used is included in this tutorial, just download it. You will get the basic scene with normal lighting. Feel free to play around with all the settings.
Step 2 - Switch off the sun
Note: For this example scene I left the standard sky because its neutral light settings are good for illustrating the principle of negative lighting. Changes of Ambient Color or Fog/Haze Color will also influence on the light effects. Also the Ambient Color settings of the material which receives the shadows can change the effects. Your possibilities for variation are unlimited!

Click on 'Sky & Fog' in the menu. Click on the small cloud with the rainbow to open the Sky Lab.

Here we will leave most of the settings just as they are. We will just check the following:

- Sun/Moon Shadows have to be turned on

- 'Disable Sunlight' must be turned on

Explanation: We need to turn on the shadows to get the effect. If you don't switch off the sun you will have an additional shadow. In many cases this will be just what you want, then by all means keep the sunlight. In my scene I want only the 'artificial' light sources, so I switched the sun off.

Confirm your changes by clicking on OK and leave the editor.

Step 3 - Create a light source
Switch to the 'Create' menu and create a light. For this tutorial I will use Radial Lights (see screenshot) but with other types of light it will work the same way.

Put the light somewhere next to the object.

A test render shows the scene with normal lighting. The object casts a normal dark shadow.

Step 4 - Edit the light
Select the light and click on the small button with the 'E' to open the Light Lab. 

Light intensity is set to 25 by default. Click on the field with the '25' and put a minus sign ('-') in front of it.

Leave the Light Lab by clicking on OK.

Render again. Now the scene has changed dramatically. The negative lighting leaves the 'lighted' part of the object dark and creates a bright shadow.

Step 5 - Combining two light sources
Of course you can use both positive and negative lights in the same scene. Here I put a positive light on the right side of the object and a negative light on the left.

Step 6 - Negative lighting and colours
Let's have some colored light!

Start the Light Lab ('E').

To make the effect stronger I'll increase the intensity to 55.

Hold Ctrl-Alt and click on the field for the light color. Now you can enter an exact value.

I'll use Cyan (R 0 -- G 255 -- B 255).

Click OK.

I used these settings for both the negative and the positive light, only the negative light has an intensity of --55.
Step 7 - More light
To make the effect more visible we will use a third light source.

So let's create another radial light and put it above the center of the scene.

Intensity is set to 55, light color is white and shadows are turned off.

In the rendered image you will see that the positive light creates a shadow in the complementary color red. The negative light casts a shadow in the light color cyan.

Step 8 - More color
Of course the third light does not have to be white. Here I used orange light.
Step 9 - Complementary colors
Note: Here is a list of some complementary colours. Just subtract the RGB values from 255 to get the complementary colour.

By combining several positive and negative lights and by changing the ambient settings you can create an astounding range of effects. Or try to change the shadow color in the Light Lab -- still more possibilities!

Have fun,