Lighting plays an important role in our daily life. We have seen various shots in films and movies with lighting variations including morning time, day time, afternoon, evening and night time. This is achieved as the sun changes its position. Similarly, 3D Studio Max has a feature of lighting with editing parameters. We can create the effect of day, evening and night easily. Lighting in the software imagines natural lighting. The lighting feature provides better model of the real world. Two types of lights are available in 3D Studio Max:
- Standard lights
- Parametric lights
1. Standard lights:
You can go to Create panel –> Lights –> Create a light
Standard lights are available in 3D Studio Max. It is labeled as “computer-based objects” that are utilized in simulating lights including indoor/outdoor locations, household areas, office rooms, different lamps, lighting instruments used for stage and filming as well as the sun. Different types of light objects cast lighting effects in variety of ways, simulating the real-world light effects.
Fig. 1: Standard lights
There are eight types of standard lights in 3D Studio Max that are used for making virtual reality or real-world environments. Explanation of types of lights is as follows:
A target spotlight is used to cast a focused and motivated beam of light. You can think it as the flashlight, a spot light used in any theater drama, or the headlight. It uses a target spotlight in its structure. It has a target object in order to aim the camera.
Fig. 2: Target spot light in 3D Max
Fig. 3: Example of Target spot light
A free spotlight is similar in casting a focused and motivated beam like a target spotlight. But the difference is that a Free Spot has no target object in its structure. You can easily move as well as rotate the free spot in any direction as your aim.
Fig. 4: Free spot light in 3D Max
Fig. 5: Example of Free spot light
Target Directional Light
A Target Directional light casts light rays that are parallel in a single direction. It is similar to the effect produced by the sun on the surface of earth. You can say that “Directional lights are primarily used to simulate sunlight”. There are parameters available from which you can adjust color, position and the rotation of light in your scene.
Fig. 6: Target directional light in 3D Max
Fig. 7: Example of Target directional light
Free Directional Light
A Free Directional light has a similar effect produced by Target Directional Light. The difference is that the Free Direct light has no target object. You can easily move, rotate and aim the light. This type of light is used when you want to select standard sun in your daylight 3D scene.
Fig. 7: Free directional light in 3D Max
Fig. 8: Example of Free directional light
Omni means “all”. So an Omni light is used to cast the rays in all the directions but it has a single source of light. There are two purposes of Omni lights i-e:
- Adding fill lighting
- Simulating point source light
Fig. 9: Omni light in 3D Max
Fig. 10: Example of Omni light
As the name presents, a Skylight light copies “daylight”. By using this type of light, you can set color of sky or can assign a map to it. It is noted here that the sky is modeled as a “dome” above your 3D scene.
Fig. 11: Sky light in 3D Max
Fig. 12: Example of Sky light
mr (mental ray) Area Omni Light
The mr area Omni light is used to emit light from a spherical or a cylindrical volume instead of a point source as all the above lights do. The light effect is applicable when you when you render the scene “mental ray renderer”.
mr (mental ray) Area Spotlight
The mr Area spotlight is used to emit light from a rectangular or a disc-shaped area instead of a point source. The light effect is applicable when you when you render the scene “mental ray renderer”.
2. Photometric lights:
Photometric lights are a little advance type of light as compared to the standard light. It is called the “light energy” that enables in defining the light and its effects more accurately to resemble the real-world environment. When you create this type of light go to Create panel as photometric lights are available as default.
Fig. 13: Photometric lights
Target Light (Photometric)
A target light has a target sub-object that you can use to aim the light.
Fig. 14: Target Light (Photometric) in 3D Max
Free Light (Photometric)
A free light has no target sub-object. You can aim it by using the transforms.
Fig. 15: Free Light (Photometric) in 3D Max
mr Sky Portal
The mr (mental ray) Sky Portal light offers an effective method of “gathering” the existing sky lighting in interior 3D scenes. It does not require high final gather or global lighting settings that would result in excessively long render times.
Fig. 15: mr Sky portal in 3D Max
Shadows are also applicable in every light as a feature. You can go to “General Parameters rollout” and check the shadow parameter radio button. By checking you can now edit the shadow parameters the way you want.
Fig. 16: Shadows in 3D Max
Fig. 17: Example of shadows