The spEEVEE addon for EEVEE is a free Blender addon. While it is free it is super handy. His big brother is the EEVEE Production Suite so it has a long history. The reason I made a free version is that I want the world to experience the concept. Its magic is the indirect cube for baking. That hidden cube keeps the light inside so that the light can bounce well. This is better than having lights out there in the empty 3D space.
Another important thing the addon does is that it sets the proper render settings. Not only that but also settings for the lights, the probes, contact shadows. To get that all sorted, that took quite some research. So again, it’s a free add-on but it doesn’t mean it is just an add-on. There is more behind it.
It goes even further. Until now we didn’t care about a reference point. What I mean by that, is that you have a material in an environment. But do you really have an idea what environment that is? The end result is a combination of the environment and material (and camera, and monitor). You know that your environment is bright, but how bright? Very bright or a bit very bright? That’s where mid-grey comes in.
There is a preset, that looks quite grey. As you might guess, that is the mid-grey scene. Mid grey has albedo values of R: 0.18, G: 0.18, and B: 0.18. Nowadays the V as in HSV is now also 0.18 which was different a year ago. So your materials in that scene have the mid-grey albedo value. And with the false-color view transform, we can adjust the strength of our light or adjust our exposure. You adjust it so that there is as much grey as possible. That is quite difficult because the fall-off is very sharp (was not before). When we have that, it means that the mid-grey albedo value of the materials should appear mid-grey on our monitor when we render out.
What is the use of that? Well, what I experience is that I am working on a material, and I miss a point of reference. I see the environment, but still, I don’t have a good grasp of where we are. Anyway, that is my experience, and that is what I use mid-grey sometimes for. It happens enough that I create a material, and load it later and see that it is way brighter than I expected. So, that was the mid-grey story.
There are eight light preset (the pro-version has 56). You can find them under the menu Add to Scene. How it works? So let’s say you have a model or asset, you can choose a lighting preset and your model will stay there in the scene. If you choose another preset, your model will stay there, but the backdrop and the lights will be replaced by other ones.
The three-point light is the most important one. And therefore I included some controls for that in the free version. There is another light rig, but that is more for the ambient light; those are point lights that are close to the cube for indirect lighting. You can change the color of the cube, or you can give it even a texture. The effect is not super obvious, but all little bits help.
Environment light doesn’t cast shadows. We can solve that a bit by using a bit more AO, but AO is a screenspace effect and a no go for animations. By not using environment light we reduce those artifacts. Making use of this cube that is as tight as possible around the backdrop is more reliable.
You can get the addon on Gumroad.
Check the teaser here;