Vue environment artists know that probably the easiest and most convenient way of making a waterfall in a still (not animated) environment is using alpha planes. When I was working on my scene titled Norge, it was the first time I used a waterfall alpha plane in Vue xStream 2014, in a scene with an atmosphere based on photometric lighting.
When I added the waterfall alpha plane and applied my usual material settings, I quickly realized that with this new, photometric lighting model, I could forget about the settings that worked for me just fine in the last 5 years, using the old spectral Global Radiosity. The waterfall was dark, and even boosting Luminosity to 100% didn’t help.
After some online activity, I noticed that I was not the only one who was dealing with the problem, and ever since I published Norge, I’ve also received some messages with the same question: how did you make that waterfall look like that in 2014? I’ve heard many kinds of information; some say luminous materials work differently with photometric lighting (which would make perfect sense), but I’ve also heard that the problem may involve a software bug regarding luminosity, and e-on is working on fixing it.
Until we hear some update regarding the fix, I’d share the settings that eventually worked for me in this scene.
As you can see, I changed the color to white. This helped a little, but the results were still not exactly what I wanted to achieve. Although, this step was essential.
In the Effects tab, I left the Diffuse and Ambient lighting at 60% and 40%, boosted the luminosity to 100%, but what really made a difference was adding 100% Backlight. These settings above together made my waterfall bright enough, and I finally achieved the result I wanted.
So, if you’d like to create a similar environment with a waterfall alpha plane and photometric lighting, try these settings. They may seem easy and less technical, but they work. But since photometric lighting is just as new for me as for you, if you have any other methods that work in such cases, just feel free to share them. 🙂