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  • Madeleine Boyce

Lighting & Rendering: Learning to light a Maya scene with VRay

This second-year university project was focused on creating lighting and materials in Maya, rendering with VRay and the final composition in Nuke; it was focusing on a single frame.

Loneliness was the key theme I wanted to tackle within my work, and I also wanted to suggest a physically cold setting, with branchless winter trees on the outside and a cold inside house too. The scene was intended to be a man taking a bath in his comfort zone, during the early morning in an attempt to curb his loneliness. I wanted to show a cold, impersonal and empty home. I wanted the character to be isolated from the audience by being far away and not showing their face. Although I also intended to show the bath as a warm comfortable place. The candles and the style of bath contribute heavily to this. I wanted to give a sterile feel to the objects and usually an expensive bathroom is a clear way of demonstrating this.

I originally used sterile white materials and limited clutter with a very bright image, however, this ended up being an incredible emotionless image. I decided to aim for a darker image that would suggest coldness through the colour palette and old and traditional textures, a lot of cracked and used wood would give the more emotive but still lonely feeling I was originally aiming for.

I was completely new to VRay when I began this project, using the official documentation ( was incredibly helpful to truly understanding and learning the software. Tutorials were helpful, but learning and understanding the documentation allowed me to experiment and create a look of my own creation.

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