Radiosity is awesome, but it can be very slow, especially at the quality
levels needed to deal with small, bright objects. Sometimes, though,
you can use tricks to fake radiosity.
I've already mentioned using a spotlight to replace would-be radiosity
from the hood interior, but what about radiosity *to* the hood interior?
In the attached montage, the top row has an external light shining into
the lamp hood; the middle row is in mostly shade; and the bottom row is
lighted. The leftmost column uses radiosity with recursion_limit 2, a
typical setting. The second column uses 4, a higher setting than is
normally used, but which illuminates deeply shadowed areas and brings
out their details. The third column has no radiosity, and uses a flat
ambient throughout the scene, varying the ambient only in proportion to
the diffuse in a given texture. The rightmost column also uses no
radiosity, but uses gradient textures with varying ambient levels to
simulate ambient occlusion. The ambient levels are all set by the lamp
macro. Of course, any ambient setting is necessarily a compromise, but
I think I've achieved a good balance.
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