Realistic Starry nights in your scene

With atmospheric variations in cold and warm air.

1 min

July 15, 2023

Peter Walter


I had the pleasure to work as a VFX artist on Teresa Almeida's Peter Walter.

The film is about a young writer during the second World War who wants to fulfil his duties and become a soldier but his protective parents want to keep him writing inland.
Early in the film there is an establishing shot of the house that should be set during night-time.

The film has a dreamy vibe throughout the story so I decided this shot required some stars.

Using Corona Renderer's camera settings inside of Cinema 4D, you can apply your starfields to a Light-Material with an intensity of 1.0 and then adjust your camera settings to match those of your camera on set. You will then be able to get a pretty accurate representation of how bright your stars should be for that shot.

Star System is a 32 bit Starfield pack and star map collection by Blauw Films for filmmakers, concept artists and visual effects artists.
You can get our Starfields for Free here!

Below you can see the original shot that was provided to me.

As you can see there are multiple windows that have to be lit up. As well as that the shot was taken on an overcast day.
This is a very important detail to get your Day 4 Night conversion to work well.

There is however a bit of sunlight peaking through the clouds that is hitting the building.
Is this a problem? 

It could be if the sunlight is very harsh.
But in this case it can act as Faux Moonlight.

A still from Peter Walter by Teresa Almeida with compositing notes from the Behind the Scenes of the Visual effects process by Blauw Films.
Before + Notes

A still from Peter Walter by Teresa Almeida with compositing notes from the Behind the Scenes of the Visual effects process by Blauw Films. This is a day for night conversion of a building with a starry night sky.
After Compositing

The final output is very dark and we didn't keep much of the original details.
What was most important for the shot was the silhouette of the building together with a bright interior of the windows.

Upon revisiting the shot I would probably add a little bit more detail in the building.
I tend to make shots a bit too dark upon first impressions.

However, what is important to pay attention to is the ratio between light and dark.
If I were to add more light to the scene I would probably want to expose the interior lights up a bit as well.

That ensures that artificial light maintains a strong and sharp contrast with the naturalistic night sky.

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