Looking through my old footage on my laptop I found some test shots of my Final Year Project at university and I thought I'd put them on here so that I can compare my lighting techniques after learning some new tricks and techniques later.
My final year project was based around mainly using fluid particles to make a glass of water turn in to a flower (well a flower growing from the water). I knew I was going to be shooting it on just a black background as I was wanting to emulate the slow motion Sainsbury's food adverts that were out a few years ago. Lighting was obviously going to be one of the key things I looked at as I needed to make it efficient and yet still look good. For this I decided not to use caustics as the was no solid background for light to reflect to. Then I created a simply lighting rig using grids with a white or gray Lambert texture on them, hiding their primary ray visibility in the render and then using final gather. This cut the render times down by a great deal without the need of global illumination/caustics and gave me the ability to create a nice studio lighting setup using grids as reflected lights and reflectors themselves.
Below: A closeup of the lighting setup used when the petals are created.
XSI and Realflow together. I made a decision at the time to stick with the package I knew as opposed to which had better fluid/Realflow integration and it caused some pretty nasty glitching problems during the render phase.
Here are a couple of test videos of the petals growing, hopefully the video compression on here doesn't make them look too bad. Unfortunately I don't have the final render/shot on this laptop but I was going to re-render it or infact reshoot it completely using Maya to make the most out of it.