I decided to get some tutorials doen this afternoon and also realised I had not uploaded my first house lighting tutorial. It was fun to do, getting acquainted to the universal manipulator, skydome and ramp shader.
The sinset-period lighting I feel is going to be very important for my project so it was good to get this one done as I will feature a sunrise/set atmosphere for my scene for project 2. It also confirmed my suspicions that I had created an environment that was too orange (personally the lambert shaders I have for it at the moment look banana-yellow, which I figured I could correct once I got to installing my models in my main scene.
I also used this time to get to grips with dirt mapping, which adds to the atmosphere of a place by grounding its objects in the dirt and gunk that builds up with years of existence. And with a location like the Old Alley - which feels like it was built in one of the industrial districts of London, Glasgow or Manchester, would be understandably fairly gritty. So I was a little surprised at how little dirt needed to be added to ground the whole scene. Although I did wonder why the tutorial shows to create the wood join and window dirt maps on different texture graphs when I at first thought it might be more efficient to map the dirt for them on the same image. However I now think that the tutorial's method has the advantage that modifying them is more compartmentalised and this is a very trial-and-error process. Itroes feel relatively simple though as all it entails is making an area of grime though black-and-white bumpmap style darkening.
I also managed to finish the bump and specular maps before creating the dirtmaps. I talked with Simon on the problem and he believes that since I had created my bump and specular maps from a TIF file I may have forgotten to remove the Alpha channel. Although Mental Ray at the university had no problems reading it (though I did have to change the file paths as the duplicate I put on to the desktop retained the filepath on my home PC, hence why the first image the floor, crates and wood are completely black).
And here is the final render.