Achieve Realistic TV Lighting in V-Ray for SketchUp & Photoshop

The purpose of this tutorial is to explore the different techniques in visualizing TV screens with light effects using V-Ray for SketchUp and Photoshop. Lighting-up the TV screen using V-Ray for SketchUp requires specific lighting features which enable the screen to emit lights. These V-Ray lighting features includes (1) V-Ray rectangular light and (2) emissive light. During the rendering procedure, it is important to know the application and proper placement of these two V-Ray lighting features in order produce a clear rendered image of a TV screen that glows and lights the surrounding environment specifically in the dark room scene. As an alternative, we can use Photoshop in order to create TV lighting effects on screen.

For this tutorial, we will be using the following 3-D models:  (1) Flat TV screen, (2) 3-D people in a sitting position, (3) window and (4) chair. You can find similar items in 3DWarehouse.

Software used – SketchUp – V-ray for SketchUp and Photoshop

First, create a simple scene using SketchUp. See the image below for reference. When done, you can proceed to rendering procedure.

SketchUp model scene

Here is my SketchUp 3-D model scene. I will be using this simple scene to show you how V-ray lights work in emitting lights on TV screen model. Our 3-D model scene is set in a closed room with one window. The window will serves as a passage for natural lighting inside the room.

SketchUp 3D model (plan view)

Test render using V-Ray for SketchUp

METHOD #1: V-Ray Lights (Emissive light + Rectangular light)

STEP 1: Open the ‘Material Dialogue Box’, apply any color or material for the TV screen model. Later, we will replace this material with Emissive Light in V-Ray. The material that we use from SketchUp ‘Material Dialogue box’ will only serves as a reference guide in order to easily locate the material(s) in V-Ray ‘Material List’ during material editing procedure. Here, I select ‘Light blue’ color texture and apply it on TV screen model.

Select ‘Light blue’ color texture and apply to TV screen

STEP 2: Open your V-Ray ‘Material Editor’, then locate the texture you applied on the TV screen. After that, add the ‘Emissive Map layer’ to your material.

Add ‘Emissive Map layer’ to your blue material

This is the default appearance of Emissive Light material (gray)

Test render with Emissive Light map layer

STEP 3: Once you have created an Emissive Map layer, load a bitmap image on ‘Emissive color’ box. This will enable us to project the image on the TV screen with light effects.

Load a bitmap image on ‘Emissive color’ box

STEP 4: Under the ‘Emissive color’ map layer, select the ‘Bitmap’ then load the image on the ‘File’ box.

Select ‘Bitmap’ then load the image in the ‘File’ box

STEP 5: Choose your desire image for your TV screen then click ‘Open’

Choose your image

Result so far

STEP 6: As you can see, the loaded image is not properly scale. Stretch the image from the TV screen model. To do that, click the TV screen model. Take note, if your model is in a group or component, make sure to double click the model until you properly selected the texture. After that, ‘Right click’ on the image texture of the screen and then select ‘Texture’> ‘Position’.

Position texture

STEP 7: Adjust the image until it fits on the TV screen. Here, I adjust the size of the image by stretching it along the ‘Green’ and ‘Blue’ axis.

Adjust image to fit

STEP 8: Going back to ‘V-Ray Asset Editor’, adjust the intensity of your Emissive material, based on your preference.

Adjust intensity of your Emissive material

Rendered TV scene (Intensity 1.0 to 3.0)

STEP 9: Add some V-Ray ‘Rectangular Light’ to your scene. This will enable us to enhance the light intensity that will project from the TV screen. Place your V-Ray ‘Rectangular Light’ parallel to your TV screen.

Add V-Ray ‘Rectangular Light’ to your scene

STEP 10. Go to V-Ray ‘Rectangular Light’ settings and check the ‘Invisible’. Adjust the light intensity with values around 60-90. When done, click the ‘Render’ button.

Adjust settings

Final Raw Render Result (Method #1)

METHOD #2: Photoshop

For this method, we will be using the same model scene.

STEP 1: Open the ‘Material Dialogue Box’, apply any color or material for the TV screen model. Follow my V-ray settings. Here, I will be using 3 render elements which includes (1) Object ID, (2) Material ID, and (3) Total Light. When done, click the ‘Render’ button.

Apply color and V-Ray settings

STEP 2: Save the rendered images including all the render elements.

Saved render elements


STEP 3: Open all the rendered images to Photoshop. Place the ‘Total Light’ image above the Background (RGB image) and set the blend mode to ‘Screen’ with 100% opacity.

Open images in Photoshop

STEP 4: Open the TV screen image in Photoshop. Adjust the size of the image using the ‘Scale tool’. To do that, go to ‘Edit’ tab> ‘Transform’> ‘Scale’ or (Ctrl+T for shortcut). Hold the ‘Shift’ key while adjusting the image in order to maintain the proportionate size of the image.

Adjust image size

STEP 5: Adjust the image to fit TV screen using the ‘Distort tool’ by going to ‘Edit’ tab> ‘Transform’> ‘Distort’ or (hold the Ctrl key while adjusting the corner of the image.) When done, hit ‘Enter’.

Adjust the image to fit TV screen

STEP 6: Using the ‘Magic wand tool’, with up to 50 ‘Tolerance’, select the TV screen from the ‘Material ID’ or ‘Object ID’ layer.

Select TV screen from the ‘Material ID’ or ‘Object ID’


STEP 7: Go back to TV screen layer, right click on the image and click ‘Select Inverse’. Then hit ‘Delete’. This will enable us to delete the excess image from the T.V. screen. When done, use the ‘Lasso tool’ and click the image.

Delete excess image from TV screen

STEP 8: Make a copy of T.V. screen image layer and set the blend mode to ‘Screen’.

Copy TV screen layer

After a long process of making a basic TV lighting effect, let us enhance the rendered image we made so far using Photoshop.

STEP 9: If you want a brighter scene, you can duplicate the ‘Total light’ layer or you can increase the ‘brightness’ settings. Here, I add ‘Brightness’ and set the value to 48. Place this layer under the TV screen image layer.

Create a brighter scene

STEP 10: In order to bring a more natural bounce of light projecting from the TV screen, we need to apply additional ‘Brightness’ effect with ‘Drop shadow’ on the TV model.

Apply ‘Brightness’ effect with ‘Drop Shadow’ on the TV model

STEP 11: Click ‘Add Layer’ then fill the area with white color using the ‘Paint Bucket tool’.

Make new layer and fill with white

STEP 12: Change the scale of the ‘white color’ layer by going to ‘Edit’ tab> ‘Transform’> ‘Perspective’.

Change scale

STEP 13: Select the ‘White color layer’, then apply the ‘Gaussian blur’ effect. To do that, go to ‘Filter’> ‘Blur’> ‘Gaussian Blur’ then press Ok. This will serves as the light ray of the TV screen.

Apply a ‘Gaussian blur’ effect

STEP 14: Select the ‘White color’ layer and gently erase the excessive part of light rays.


Final Rendered Image (Method #2)


Thank you for reading!

Benedict Caliwara

You can check out more of Benedict’s work here.


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