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Digital Lighting and Rendering (2nd Edition) Paperback – Apr 27 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 2 edition (April 27 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321316312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321316318
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 1.8 x 24.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #165,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Jeremy Birn is a Lighting Technical Director at Pixar Animation Studios, where he worked on Cars and the Academy Award-winning The Incredibles. Prior to joining Pixar in 2002, Jeremy did lighting and rendering at such companies as Palomar Pictures, Wild Brain, CBS Television, and Tippett Studio, where he worked on effects for the feature film Evolution. Jeremy has taught courses at the California Institute of the Arts in Southern California and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. More of Jeremy’s work and more about his writing is on his website,

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really great book for the nitty gritty of the way light works and how to make renders look more real.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b6a766c) out of 5 stars 66 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b77fbf4) out of 5 stars Terrific, the best book I've read on the topic! May 31 2006
By a reviewer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is amazing! It opened my eyes to so many things about lighting and rendering it's as if I've had a full course in lighting design, one in rendering, and some cinematography and color theory along the way. The best part is the way it keeps giving you new ideas, from other ways to add colors with different lights to tricks you can do in compositing.

The book is brilliantly simple, clear easy-to-understand writing throughout, even when describing very technical subjects like Polynomial Texture Mapping the author manages to keep the text readable, relevant, and useful, and he has lots of good pictures of things (renders, screenshots, diagrams, and photographic examples), to help pin down issues like the specific things to look for in adjusting subsurface scattering skin shaders. I've read the book cover to cover ~ and I'm going to be keeping it around my desk for years as a reference as well!

Most of the book is not software-specific, especially in terms of lighting techniques or creating texture maps the advice will work for anyone. The book only mentions 3D Studio Max (what I use) once in a while, and only has a few screenshots of settings in Max (along with lots of references to Maya, Renderman, Mental Ray et cetera) but still the whole book was completely useful to me, actually more useful because of its content than most of the software-specific books they keep cranking out with 3D Studio Max in the title.

The lighting challenge scenes are great, you have to download them yourself (there's no CD with the book...) but it's absolutely amazing that the author himself looked at my work and gave me feedback (spot-on feedback too!) when I posted my test render on the discussion forum. I'd have bought 10 books if it I had to, to get direct interaction with a top lighting expert working at Pixar! This book deserves more than 5 stars to reflect the amazingly generous author whose support goes above and beyond just writing a terrific book.

Kudos and Congratulations for such a great book, Mr. Birn!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b77fdec) out of 5 stars A generous update from the 1st Edition Oct. 3 2006
By S. Gilley - Published on
Format: Paperback
The author has extensively updated this industry standard since its first release six years ago, and the result is a book that should absolutely be on every Color & Light Artist's shelf. What was a very good reference is now even better, with more sage advice, clear and logical insight regarding lighting different kinds of scenes (e.g. indoor, outdoor, daytime, nighttime), more information on technologies that have become popular in recent years (such as global illumination), and the addition of complementary materials at the author's web site. I have been using the 1st Edition of this book as a required text in my rendering classes for several years, and this much anticipated new version ties in even better. Even if you already own the 1st Edition, you are likely to find this update a worthwhile purchase. I would love to see this book's sister, Digital Texturing & Painting, rise to the same level of insight and clarity.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c34cd8c) out of 5 stars Required Reading Indeed July 8 2006
By D. Brown - Published on
Format: Paperback
As above, i've just finished reading the book cover to cover whilst lighting and (waiting for) renders at work and was thoroughly impressed. It covers an incredible range of topics from the very basics of lighting theory (which we can all use a reminder of every now and then!) through to some more complex ideas and concepts.

With the associated website ( where there are numerous lighting challenges to download and particiapte in (the author himself critiques the work!) this will certainly improve your skills and also just give you a bit of nudge into looking at the world through the eyes of a 3D lighting artist.

Don't mistake me, this is not a specific piece of training material, but it is an invaluable source of reference, from the tables covering some suggested RGB values for lights to various physical properties as well. It really should be required reading for anyone vaguely interested in the lighting end of the 3D pipeline, and even for seasoned professionals it is great to have everything in one very well constructed, well written, and easy to navigate book.

Highly recommended.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c34c774) out of 5 stars Master 3D Lighting and Rendering Nov. 26 2006
By Diane Cipollo - Published on
Format: Paperback
The previous edition of Digital Lighting and Rendering by Jeremy Birn is very popular with those who wish to master 3D lighting and rendering as well as with those who teach this subject. It is suggested reading for digital lighting courses at several universities. This second edition is updated to reflect advancements in techniques and technology for digital 3D software.

The first few chapters cover traditional lighting concepts and answer basic questions such as which is the best lighting for various situations. Then, the author moves into more specific topics, beginning with shadows and occlusion. He discusses techniques for casting various types of shadows and what purpose shadows have in the scene. You cannot have shadows without light. Therefore, the author covers the different types of lighting such as global illumination, natural and artificial light. He also discusses how to light the characters in your scene and how lighting defines the character's form and movement.

When you model the characters and objects for your scene, they start out with a smooth, dull gray color and you will use shaders to give them color and texture. Birn discusses how to use several shaders including raytracing, Reyes algorithms and GPU acceleration. Besides shaders, you can also use texture mapping to add color and texture. Birn covers the types of texture maps, how they are made and how to align them to your model.

Eventually, it is time to build your scene or animation which requires placement of characters, objects, lights and cameras. The author discusses several rules for composition and staging. Once all the staging is complete, it's time to render your scene and Birn covers many professional tips for this technical subject including multiple renderings and flexibility.

Jeremy Birn has worked in the technical lighting field for many years. His recent works include Cars and The Incredibles.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c34c678) out of 5 stars excellent tool !! Aug. 14 2006
By sandropc - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very usefull and instructive book. It covers all aspects of digital light and the natural one, the author doesn't apply the vast information covered to an especific software, so you can apply all this rich information with the software that you actually use. This book is a must for every people that whant to go deep in to digital light and renderings.