How to Create a Retro Animated GIF in Cinema 4D, After Effects, and Photoshop

Studio Lighting Setup With A Homemade Ring Light 67 Comments

My fiance needed some photos taken for some clothes she is selling on her etsy store, so I pulled out my good old softbox and home-make ring light to take some shots. You 3D people may be saying “Wait, this isn’t a 3D tutorial”. But there are two reasons why I decided to pull out my flip cam and post this on the blog.

1. Many viewers have been asking for more tutorials about my photography. And, since I was shooting photos, I decided to document it.

2. Learning about studio lighting makes your 3D lighting WAY better. It worked wonders for me.

With that in mind, check out this quick video and stay tuned for a few more photography and lighting based tutorials coming soon.

Oh, and don’t worry, there will be plenty more Cinema 4D tuts coming, too.

Images From The Shoot

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  1. REptar

    Loved the ring solution! I may try it today, but as I don’t have a continuos light source, lets see how does it with just a flash, its the same, right?

    Thanks for the tip!

  2. Agustin

    So, the main thing with this rim light is that wraps around the object/person?? thats why we almost se NO shadows? I love the final Shots, very natural and softs.

  3. Where did you position the softbox in relation to the model and yourself as you took the photo. Did you have the light standing high and you crouching under it?

  4. Looks awesome for a single light setup Nick!

    Did you just add an eyelet and string to the fabric you cut the holes out of and tie it around the back of the soft box?

    Would also be awesome with some different shapes cut out, ie. gobo’s

  5. Great job on the walk through. However the home made ring light isn’t really a ring light. The whole point of a ring light is that you have light coming from every side of the lens which reduces shadow. If not on camera, even a real ring light works pretty much like a normal light. The ring light you’ve built would probably work about the same without the fabric over it and instead you could just stand in front of the softbox like you mentioned doing. This will create a U shape since your body will be blocking the center and bottom portion of the softbox. This too can create some great light, but calling it a ring light is a touch misleading.

  6. Awesome DYI tutorial. Thanks for posting a photo topic. What company makes the transceiver/receiver you were using? I am looking for a cheaper solution than Pocket Wizards. Thanks again Nick!

    • I recommend CyberSyncs from the same maker as the light Nick used. Alien Bees. A trigger and receiver will run you about $140 or so.

  7. Yo Nick this is a hell of a tutorial! Thanks!

    I was just wondering in the the examples that you showed how did you burn the shades that are supposed to be behind your girlfriend?

    Thnaks again buddy


    • She is learning Photoshop, actually and wanted to do those herself. She is getting there. I gave her a copy of my Photoshop for Photographers to help her along. :)

    • Adrian

      Jejeje. My girlfriend finds your fiance photos adjustment more cool

  8. Pablo

    great nick!, that was interesting… …but….can you told us the set up of your camera?….how many iso you put on those photos, and stuff like that.


    Pablo, from Chile

    • Sure. The camera was on full manual mode at f5 and 200 ISO. Remember, shutter speed means nothing when shooting with a strobe in a dark room.

    • What do you mean “means nothing when shooting with a strobe in a dark room”?

      More time with the shutter being open would pick more light, wouldnt it?

      and what’s strobe? :$ sorry, couldnt translate it :/

      • The strobe I’m talking about is the flash. A flash only pops for a split second, so your shutter speed doesn’t matter in a dark room. Shutter speed only matters with continuous light sources.

  9. yeah if this whole greyscale gorilla thing doesnt work out the future wife can always moonlight as a model for urban outfitters/american apparel/anthropologie

  10. NO OFFENSE but no wonder she is selling them lol, they are hiddious, except for the yellow one, thats nice. Good tut btw.

    • Pietr

      No offense Will, but your opinion sucks. 😉

      Here’s a better one – the clothing looks great, and I’d be more than happy to have my wife or daughers wear any one of those outfits.

    • Wait. Does this mean you won’t be buying the pink dress?

      (It’s spelled “hideous”, by the way.)


    • Will,

      If you have to lead off your statement with “no offense” then just keep it to yourself. Because what follows will always be offensive.

      You should be able to express yourself and opinions without ever having to lead off with “no offense”.

    • ‘no offense…’ has never led to anything good.
      with the excetion–“no offense,but you seriously look damn good today!”(and it’s many iterations.-use wisely!).
      or “no offense,but you smell like weed”.
      one’s gotten me laid, the other has gotten me stoned.
      and it’s not the one you think.

      anywayz, good shit, you damn dirty ape!!keep up the great work and CONGRATS on finding a partner who is also creative and not2bad2 look at. relationships with “non-creative” women suck ass. hairy,tick-infested gorilla ass.
      no offense. seriously.


    • I didn’t realize Nick’s Blog would be subject to Officer Will of the fashion police.

      Great techniques! oh and the dresses look nice!

  11. im sorry to tall you this man..but i found your light kit in some website abd its for free…and its the new one 1.5..i il give you the website name if you wan..

  12. I’m pretty sure he’s aware of that and not really much you can do.
    People are responsible for their own actions…
    It’s adamant of the quality of the Light Kit, every good product gets cracked.

  13. Chetan

    Hey Nick, That was cool..
    But recently I had been to my girl’s PhotoShoot for her Portfolio, That guy had a Key Light, Fill light an Back light kinda thing.. with added reflectors an stuff.. I can show u a pic of his setup where u can explain what kinda stuff is that. I have taken few shots standing away from the shoot. Shall I?

  14. Hey dude! Awesome to learn some photography too. I love the C4d tuts, but it’s great to learn some photography too. I think a motion designer (and any designer) has to know as much as he can from everything thats related to design. I’ll look forward for more photo tuts :)
    Thanks, and take care!

  15. I miss the days hanging out with my roommates in the studio taking photographs, it was always really fun. Brings me back to the days.. Nice place by the way, by the look of the hallway it looks like a fancy shmancy place 😉 Thanks again Nick

  16. Nick

    Wow – thanks for the insight.

    Might try a do-it-yourself cyc and soft box at home this weekend.

    Very cool.

  17. Trevor Williams

    Sweet post Nick… I love when you mix it up and give us a different flavor… Thanks :)

  18. Nick very useful … love ur site because there’s something new to learn… always updated…thanks for the effort

  19. Hey Nick,

    Looks very useful. It is not only good for photography/3d but its also very useful for taking interviews with a camara.

    Probably I’m not going to use it or make it a “smaller” version of it. But its good to know that it works.

    I think these kind of tutorials are much better then the step by step ones. Learning the tools and how to use them is much better then learning how to make something cool but not really learning the tools.

    so…. MOAR!!!! XD

    PS: Nice Photo’s 😀

  20. Marcello

    hey nick i aint no photography student but im most def going to try…. what about putting like a transparent colourd paper infront of the light… fyi im a vj in my sparetime so im looking for new lighting effects. the way photographers do it gave me a few new ideas

  21. You should do more tuts about this sort of stuff to! As you said it will improve both a photographer and someone doing lighting setups in 3D

  22. John Blake

    hi, my names thegorilla, and i like to make out with my hawt fiance in my baller ass chicago townhouse while i count all the money ive made makin cool shit, how bout u?

  23. Hello Nick. This was very nice of you to give us a glip of what kind of stuff you use for photography. This sure did help me a lot. Also this what what I dig about your site, there is always something new to learn and so kewl that it can be done, executed in an easy “follow the gorilla” way :)
    Have a pretty nice day.

  24. Jose Lagos

    Thanks for the tutorial nick! I love C4D and I’m starting with Photos and this help me a lot, in my country is realy dificult to find people how teach this, so more tutorials about lightning is realy cool,sorry if I make a mistake with my english 😛 , Saludos desde Honduras

  25. ghost

    Finally, something other than c4d tuts on ‘sort of how to make 3D stuff’.

  26. stuman

    awesome Nick! I bought last week the ARB800 ringflash from Alien Bees I will test it next week with a girl, hope to have good result ^_^ ! Yes more photography tutorials will be great… and maybe mix photography and cinema 4D will be cool… thank for all Gorilla!

  27. TheOutsider

    Kina offtopic but,

    What happened to the last 5 second Project?

  28. excellent tut Nick. lighting and environment is huge influence in design, and should be considered fundamental. thanks for bringing this subject to light… derp!

  29. I heart your fiance’s shop and blog and love it when you post about her on here because she’s the cutest little thing. My lad Pete ( and I just downloaded the Banana Camera Co. photo apps while at the Phillies game this weekend and entertained ourselves between innings with them. I shook the shit out of my iPHone and got some strange looks while using the Shakeit app. <3

  30. Hey Nick. Alexia is your fiancée and you are her fiancé. Just an FYI on the gender difference the extra ‘e’ adds. 😉 I’ve made that same mistake before don’t worry.

  31. Tiffany

    Nice little feature… You and you’re fiancé are such hipsters :)

    I’m a designer but also work in a portrait studio… This ring light rig is a great solution when you only have one strobe to work with with pretty decent results.

    Just for comparison: At the studio I work at, we use one very large umbrella soft box in front and to the side ofthe subject, one hair light szoft box hanging from the ceiling, and two small soft boxes on either side of the subject.


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Comment Rules

This is a friendly community. Please treat everyone with respect. We don't all have to agree, but we do have to be nice. Criticism is fine, but rude comments and name calling will be deleted. Use your real name and don't be spammy. Thanks for adding to the conversation.