Review: Slik 2 for Modo

Light your CG scenes like a photographer instead of a 3D artist and get amazing results with The Foundry's new lighting kit.

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

Learning about how to light CG scenes is one of the key skills of learning 3D, and with Slik 2 for Modo The Foundry has offered a practical solution for every level of CG artist.

Lighting is one of those disciplines that is simple to learn but requires patience and research to master. The mistake many new CG artists make is to light their 3D art as they see other 3D artists do, when in fact the best source is to look at how photographers and cinematographers light their scenes.

Slik (The Studio Lighting & Illuminance Kit) for Modo was an excellent solution; the plug-in added true lighting setups to a scene, with realistic modelled objects like softboxes and reflectors with embedded Modo lights. This enabled the artist to set up a scene like a photographer.

Lighting is one of those disciplines that is simple to learn but requires patience and research to master

However, the scene could get heavy with the extra geometry. With the release of Slik 2 for Modo (while you can use the old workflow, which benefits from the speed improvements of Modo 902), there are now a lot more options which lift Slik 2 into full production solution.

Chief among those is the new Slik reflector object, which, like all the lights in Slik 2, can be targeted in any camera viewport window including Modo's preview by pressing the [9] key. The Slik reflector object is a lot less heavy in terms of geometry and has features like gradients and interactive falloffs enabling the creation of a truly bespoke lighting system.

It is still good practice to use the supplied meshes, especially the platforms which provide a good base for product lighting shots.

The UI has been improved, with the excellent Lighting Board giving you full access to all your Slik Lights. The Lighting Board allows full power and colour control of each light, with the ability to mute or solo them; it's a sophisticated way of identifying which light is doing what.

When you're ready to render, Slik can create mattes and lighting passes, which, when rendered, can be imported and controlled in Photoshop and After Effects with the included scripts. Slik 2 also makes it easy to create HDR images of any Slik setup. These can be swapped out for the Slik geometry to simplify the scene (and help with render times) and can be used in any 3D application, adding to Modo's excellent abilities as a true modelling and look-development tool for any 3D artist.

The Verdict

9

out of 10

Slik 2 for Modo

Learning about how to light CG scenes is one of the key skills of learning 3D, and with Slik 2 for Modo The Foundry has offered a practical solution for every level of CG artist.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Polishing pixels since 1995, Mike is a UK based freelance 3D, VFX and mograph artist, as well as a freelance technical writer.

Topics

3D