This book is separated into three main parts: theory, tools, and practice. Theory covers the fundamentals of what light is, how it acts and reacts in our world, and what those reactions look like. Tools covers the virtual lighting equipment available to achieve your LightWave lighting goals. Practice deals with how to use those tools to create the lighting we desire. Theory is first in this book because it is fundamental to using the tools. In fact, any artist using any toolkit can make good use of the theoretical section of this book. The qualities of light do not change, regardless of what software you are using.
While reading this book you will find many areas where overlapping and repetition occurs. Lighting a scene involves the application of numerous tools, methods, and properties, which are all interlinked. Although I have endeavored to separate each element into chapters for easy comprehension, they nonetheless overlap. I found that a small measure of repetition is preferable to constantly referring the reader to other chapters.
If you have ever looked at a photograph and been unable to decipher the light sources, direction, and color, or if you have been unable to replicate this lighting within LightWave 3D, then this book will help you. If you have ever thought your lighting looked flat, boring, or meaningless, then reading this book might be a good move. If you have ever wondered how to make objects stand out from the background, how to demonstrate all the minute detail you have spent weeks modeling, or how to portray the feelings of sadness, anger, or joy, then you might take some time to look through these pages. If you have seen the work of some great 3D artists and marveled at how photo-real everything looks and wished you could add that sense of realism to your work, then read on.
Good lighting is crucial to the final look of your shot. Even a poorly designed, marginally textured object can still look as if it really exists in the scene if the lighting is good. On the other hand, a beautifully designed, painstakingly modeled and textured object, if lit poorly, will be easily identified as computer generated.