Wikis > Visual Pinball Knowledge Base > Realistic light tutorials

By Fuzzel – ref :

I want to show you an alternative way on how to create realistic bulb lighting with soft shadowing, I used that method in Goin’ Nuts. With this workflow you don’t have to tweak the custom light shapes anymore because we use Blender to create a lightmap for us. I’m going to show you the workflow based on the default table. So here we go:

1. Start Visual Pinball and create a new table.
2. Remove all elements that shouldn’t create shadows, because they move or won’t cast shadows for bulbs like plastics.
3. Export the table as an .obj file
4. Start Blender and import the table you exported in step 3
5. Create a point light (hotkey is shift+A and select ‘Lamp’ -> ‘Point’ in the context menu)
6. Now set the following values for the point light: Energy=6.0, Falloff: Inverse Linear, Distance=250, select ‘Sphere’ checkbox.
Under Shadow select ‘Ray Shadow’ with Sampling=3 and Soft Size=8 and Constant QMC checked
7. Now place this point light somewhere on the table where a bulb light should be.
8. Do this for every bulb on the table.
9. Now select the playfield and press TAB key to switch into the editing mode.
10. Split the view as shown in the screenshot so you see the UV/Image Editor on the left and the 3D view on the right
11. In the Image Editor you will only see a 2D box that’s the UVs of the playfield.
12. Press the New button under the Image Editor view and create a texture with the size say 2048×4096. This texture will be the new lightmap.
13. Now press the small camera button and press the Bake button. The Bake Mode should be “Full Render”
14. Blender will now render a lightmap as a playfield texture.
15. Once the rendering is over move the mouse cursor in the Image Editor and press F3 key and save the texure as a .png file
16. Back in Visual Pinball import the lightmap
17. Now create a flasher and give it the same size (width and height) as the playfield.
18. Use the lightmap for ImageA and check ‘Additive Blend’ and an opacity of 150, or 200 or what you like
19. Set a proper color for the light. Most bulb lights have a yellowish color
20. Set the height of the flasher to 1 so it’s just a tad over the playfield
21. Start the player

Of course you can play around with the light settings in Blender to tweak the intensity (Energy) or the falloff radius (Distance) until you like the result. Now you have nice lighting and soft shadowing on the playfield the only thing that is left ist to add Visual Pinball lights but don’t adjust the shape you only need the lights to cast reflection on the ball and to add this extra glow around the bulb light.

You can go even further and render a lightmap for each bulb separatly. Then place the map on tha table and fade the opacity with the state of the actual Visual Pinball bulb light.

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