Need help with creating a studio-like lighting setup



I have several models that i am rendering for a catalogue but i haven’t got my head around adjusting the lighting correctly to achieve the realistic, studio-like lighting. In the past i haven’t placed my model in a room or anything, i just used the sunlight as my main light source but it doesn’t look authentic and the shadows are too harsh. What i really want is uniform lighting hitting the model from several different directions, rather than just the sunlight hitting it from one direction.
Is there anywhere i can find pre-made settings for a basic interior room to showcase a furniture item? Or would anyone be willing to share their lighting settings they use please? :slight_smile:
I would appreciate any suggestions or help on this.



What rendering program are you using?

I usually use a plain white background. Usually two walls and a floor. Sometimes a ceiling. Two or three lights. Usually one generally behind the camera, another off to the side and sometimes a down light positioned above the model. I’d end up with something like this.

You can see the three lights as highlights on the tops of the back posts.

sometimes a light above and behind the model can work well, too.

Only two lights on this one.

Or maybe even only one light. The exterior of this wall lamp is illuminated by the reflections on the white walls, floor, and ceiling.

Keep it simple.

Do a search for studio lighting techniques for photographers. You’ll see how they set up lights, reflectors and other items to control the light.


Awesome! That is exactly what i am trying to achieve.
I use Vray to render my models. The only trouble is, i’m not sure what adjustments i need to make to the lights once i have placed them in my model. (ie; the brightness, temperature, etc etc…). Do you ever use the same lighting settings for models like that, like a saved template you might like to share? I have had a look at this but it is an older version of Vray and i can’t follow along properly.
If anyone has created something like that for the latest version of Vray it would help drastically!


It’ll depend on the size of the room, the distance of the lights to the model and other factors. The best thing to do is play with the settings in Vray.

No. I have never bothered to save a “set” to use for other models. The walls and floor are trivial to make and the lighting placement is done based on the model and how I think I want to light it. I spent years doing photography including studio photography and I suppose I’m channeling that old studio photographer when I place the lights.

It wouldn’t do any good to share my sets with lights even if I did save them because I use Kerkythea instead of Vray.

I can’t give you any guidance specific to Vray.


Ok thanks for the advise. I will keep on experimenting.

Ok, that’s fine.


May not be the approach you want, but using spherical images like this in your IBL lighting channel as well as reflection channel can render some good results without using lights. Just another option. Can also be supplemented with actual lights too.


Ok. How would i go about using that?


You should be able to get an idea of how studio photographers place and use lights to illuminate the objects they are photographing.


Sorry i highlighted that earlier and i didn’t realise that it still was. :rofl:
I meant how do i go about using that image like ‘whiterabbitdesigncompany’ has shown. :thinking:


Well, if you’re really up for learning photographic lighting, Light Science and Magic is the best book I’ve seen. There are lots of tips and tricks advice out there, but this one is thoroughly grounded in theory.


I’m a bit rusty on V-Ray as I switched to Thea some years ago. The above tutorial may get you in the right direction, the principles are the same but the interface has changed since this time. The HDRI - IBL lighting technique can use an spherical image as a background in the scene, and you can also load that same file in the illumnation channel, (and reflection channel) then the scene is lit by the light & color values of the image in those channels so the object being rendered has an environment and is also lit by that same environment for a seamless effect. The channels usually allow for rotation of all channels for preference of look and lighting.
If this doesn’t work, I would take Dave’s advice. Keep lights to a minimum (less is more).

The 4th image is lit with the IBL technique using the file I showed, but it maintains the physical background sweep (the image isn’t HI Res enough to use as a BG.

Other shots using one light twice (could use once if you wanted a darker background. Also a wide showing simple setup.
The 3rd image has no individual lights but just the diffuse daylight (no sunlight) which gives a soft overall illumination but is a bit flat. Like AO.

These are all quick/rough (color temps are off) but to show idea.

Unfortunately rendering is a whole other skill set to those of modelling and has to use photographic techniques but in a virtual world.


Thanks for that. I will have a go at it. Appreciate the help


For the first render you have there, would you know the RGB numbers for the colour of the lighting please?
It’s the perfect lighting for my models. Personally i feel that the l3rd is too cool a temp for what i need and the 4th is a little too warm. If you know what i mean?


The light values are all 255,255,255 white.
The reason those other renders are either too warm or too cool was just a product of doing something quickly. The color temperature differences are a factor of the display settings, which are camera settings, not lighting. Any of these renders could easily be color corrected in photoshop or the like. Unless there is a color “effect” of lighting needed, like cheating firelight which would be a warmer color temp, studio lighting will usually always be “white” as dictated by the type of light unit and the color temperature settings in the camera (k).

Broadly speaking Daylight will be cooler/bluer and tungsten light warmer as seen by a sensor or photographic emulsion. In a film camera, the film is balanced for one or the other but can be adjusted with a filter. The difference mainly becomes apparent when they are mixed in a shot, as otherwise they are each
compensated/adjusted for in the camera’s color temp settings (digital camera). Rendering engines adhere to these same photographic conventions…I just hadn’t adjusted it correctly. So I’d make your lights white and then be mindful of the color temperature settings in the camera’s settings, you can adjust it to suit. Also note, the light source here is an area “emitter”, but if you were to use the actual “lights” in the renderer (spotlight, omni light etc.) their color will be determined in (k) kelvin and you would adjust the camera’s settings accordingly to render them “white”.


A point light source make sharp shadows, while a larger one, like a photographer’s softbox creates softer shadows. @whiterabbitdesigncompany’s sofa illustration shows how big the virtual softboxes are he used. The fun difference between real photography and rendering is you can have all the softboxes you want for free. It’s not unusual for a light, stand and softbox to run $1,000±, and Chimera makes one for car photographers that goes up to 15’x40’ for $27k!


I would thoroughly recommend, and second the comments, about researching photography studio lighting. There is an absolute load of information on the internet about various setups for areas such as Fashion Photography, (my other background), through to Product Photography.

I also found the photography background helped when considering lens apertures, shutters speeds, and depth of field etc. which can all be set in the Rendering software.



Thanks for that @whiterabbitdesigncompany. Really appreciate all the help. I took your advise and i’ve finally managed to get the result i was wanting. Only thing is that the textures of the timber haven’t shown up as clear as you will notice below. Is it something to do with the camera settings, if so what do i need to do to bring the textures back out?



Yes absolutely. That is something i am looking into at the moment. I am thinking of doing a photography course at some point as i like to do a bit of that in my spare time, but it will definitely help me with making the right settings in V-Ray.


I think this looks like a contrast issue? The first render has a dark background too which will add contrast as it sucks light and doesn’t reflect it… It also doesn’t have a floor?.
The second one with floor looks like it’s using a much softer light and is also reflecting/bouncing that light from the floor and the lighter background.
You could try a slightly less soft light and adjust the contrast in the camera settings. You can also adjust the contrast in the wood texture if you had to? there are a lot of options available.

Also, within the renderer there should be (as there is in Thea) a way to “soften” the shadows from the sun, if you choose to use the sun as your source. For interior scenes/studio I would prefer to use the soft area light, but you can soften the sun to get a similar effect but it’s less controllable. In exterior renderings this often looks a little more real as there’s usually some atmospheric haze that softens the suns shadows a little.

I think with a little tweaking you are close to a good render here, and I suspect when you get a good set up you can slot in other furniture and render without too much adjusting, although specific items may benefit from a more custom lighting job, particularly with reflective surfaces.

Please share your results.


An approximation of your model and thoughts on grain direction.