Scene lighting with Marmoset Toolbag

pin-up Tutorials

This month the demo will focus on the scene lighting in Marmoset Toolbag!
The workflow remains the same as the other one about Dress up a character with Marvelous Designer, part 2 , I always use the chain Daz -> Marvelous -> Blender -> Substance Painter -> Toolbag.
I confess that I was not at all satisfied by the rendering of previous pinups, so I had to spend more time on Toolbag to improve my understanding of this wonderful tool.
That’s why this month I offer you a description of the methodology I used. To do this I drew heavily on the following two articles from the site of Marmoset, the first is that of Emmanuel Lecouturier and the second is that of Vadim Sorici.

First of all, as mentioned above, the beginning of the work is exactly like the October pinup, I made a night outfit with Marvelous Textured Designer with Substance Painter.

Marvelous designer lingerie

Now let’s get down to business with the Marmoset Toolbag part explained step by step.

But before starting I draw your attention to a new feature that will be very useful for the future. If during the process your PC becomes too slow to display and manage the settings, you will only have to activate the degraded mode via the small rocket.

This disables the Post process and camera calculations on the screen display without canceling them on the rendered render.

1. Import your character

Your character can be in Obj or FBX format, whatever. The most important thing is that it is finalized, UV and materials need to be adjusted.
At this moment you can already enjoy the template with the default settings of Toolbag. Consider that it is now necessary to check that each textures are correctly adjusted (skin, hair, eyes).

Marmoset toolbag nude

2. Setting the SkyBox

It’s about starting to create the scene environment, so choosing the image is crucial. Here I chose a night view of Shangai from hdri haven.com.
It is already possible to steer the skybox to create the effects will highlight the body of the pinup.

Marmoset toolbag lighting picture

3. Scene construction

Here I add the outfit and some simple elements to create a light staging.

Marmoset toolbag lighting picture

4. Front Light

The first light source, front light allows to highlight the subject, here I chose a directional light so that it also illuminates the rest of the scene.

Marmoset toolbag lighting picture

5. Side lights

When you want to highlight a character it is common to use one or more side lights. They will help to accentuate the contours of the subject, especially if we play with colors. Here I added a pink spot and spot blue to stay in agreement with the environment map. Be careful to adjust your spots so that the outline of the shadows is not frank but rather progressive. For that you have to play with the parameter “width” which makes it possible to modify the concentration of light by the size of the cone.

Marmoset toolbag lighting picture

6. Fog

The addition of a fog is not mandatory and can provide a specific effect. This is why it is used here with lightness.

Marmoset toolbag lighting picture

7.1. Render Settings

This is where your frame rate will fall! “Global Illumination” will bring a lot of consistency to your scene. Also test the “secondary bounce” to see the impact of your decor on the subject’s lighting. Adjust the Ambient Occlusion to find a good compromise between shadow and darkness.
It is possible that the global illumination is source of luminous artifact like those that I surrounded on the screenshot.

Marmoset toolbag lighting picture

7.2 Voxel settings

To eliminate light flaws, you must play on the Resolution voxel by changing it to HIGH or by decreasing the Voxel Scene Fit. Be aware that going into High risk of dropping the performance of your PC. In my case I went in HIGH because it offered better results.

Marmoset toolbag lighting picture

8.Camera settings

If there is one thing that is easily forgotten, it is the camera setting. When I started with ToolBag I did not care about the camera, and it was a mistake!
Even virtual shooting is still a shot, the choice of the lens is one of the basic elements gives character to the scene, even if this simple setting seems harmless. Without going into big debates, usually in photography to make portraits, we use lenses from 50 to 85 or even 100mm. Try different depths and keep the one that gives you the most sensation. Here I chose 85mm. The change is clearly noticeable.

Marmoset toolbag lighting picture

9. Depth of field

As for fog, playing on the depth of field will affect the mood of your scene. Here I want to slightly blur the environment, this setting is relatively simple, just click on the subject with the mouse wheel for Toolbag focuses itself. Then it remains only to accentuate the blur as needed with the “Far Blur” or “Near Blur” and voila.

Marmoset toolbag lighting picture

10. Post process

The post process is a bit like the icing on the cake, it must be just enough to make fun without putting too much to avoid indigestion.
Different presets are present to guide you towards specific atmospheres.
Here I made my own preset with Sharpen to accentuate the features of the pinup that the Fog had blurred. The Bloom brings a small aura that gives charm to the scene, just like the Vignette that slightly obscures the edges of the image. Here the Grain had no interest and I opted for a Tone Mapping in ACES for more authenticity.

The result is rather convincing!

Marmoset toolbag lighting picture

Here I hope this article will have been useful, I invite you to browse the gallery of this pinup.

See you !