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This course provides an overview of modeling, animating, and rendering 3D graphics in the open-source software Blender 2.6. Beginning with a tour of the Blender interface, author George Maestri shows how to create and edit basic objects, work with modifiers and subdivision surfaces, and apply materials and textures. The course also demonstrates lighting 3D scenes, setting up and using cameras, animating objects, and assembling basic character rigs.
Now let's take a look at the last lamp in Blender, and that's the Sun lamp. And this creates a good approximation of sun, and it can also add in sky as well. So let's go ahead and add in a Lamp > Sun. Now the Sun lamp basically works the same as a Hemi lamp, in that it is directional and not positional. So really the only thing that matters is the direction of the light. So I can basically keep this light here at the origin where it came in, or if I want, I can move it anywhere I want in the scene.
Now I'm going to move it a little bit up here so we can just see it, but the direction of the light is really all that matters. So if I rendered this as is, you'll get light from above. In other words, you'll get pretty much noon sky. Now if I want to I can rotate this, so if I rotate it this way, then you can see how the light now comes from the front of the building. So if I change this to Local and I angle this a little bit more, you can see how, again, I can get light from the side.
One of the big differences between the Sun lamp and the Hemi lamp is that the Sun lamp allows you to do shadows. So if I go down to the very bottom here you'll see I have a Shadow rollout, and I can cast a ray shadow. And the parameters for this are pretty much the same as for the point light, so I won't go into those, but let's just go ahead and see that we can cast a shadow with this light. Now probably the most interesting feature with this light is the Sky & Atmosphere controls, and these allow the light to create an artificial sky as well as an artificial sun.
So I'm going to go ahead and turn this on, and as you can see, it creates a horizon with a sky. And if we render this, you'll see that my sky gets replaced by this particular sky. Now we have a number of options here for controlling this effect, but if you want, an easier place to start are with a couple of standard presets we have. We have a Classic sky, we have a Desert sky, and we have a Mountain sky.
Now the only difference between these is that it just changes the settings to reflect the preset, so once we dial in, say, a mountain sky, we can still continue to tweak the effect. So let's take a look at what this looks like in render. And so you can see it basically just has a gradient, but we don't have the sun visible in the sky. Well, that's because the sun is actually behind the camera. Now if you look in this scene, you can see that the camera is here, facing at about a 30-degree angle towards the house.
Now in order to see the sun, we have to actually point the sun at the camera. So I'm just going to go ahead and change the angle of my sun so that it's pointing pretty much towards that camera, and you can kind of see it here in this viewport. So when I change the angle so that it points at the camera, you can see how now I can see that sun in the sky. In fact, if I angle it up just a hair here, it might actually come in a little bit lower in the sky so you can see it.
Now you may think that because the sun is here in the viewport, that's where it is here in the render, but that's not really the case. Again, the sun is not positional; it's just angular, so it really depends on the angle in relation to the camera. So even if I move this sun completely out of the frame here in the perspective viewport, I would still get the same render. Remember, it's really the angle in relation to that camera. So now that we can actually see the sun in our render, let's go ahead and start playing with some of these parameters.
Now one of the first ones is Blending. This is how it blends to the original background. And again, we have all of our blending controls here, but the one that's most important is Factor. If I dial this down to zero, I get the original background. If I dial it up, then I start to get the sun, okay. And typically this is at 1, which basically just completely replaces that blend sky with my sun. Now I can also create a brightness for my horizon, so how bright is it down here? And again that shows up very nicely in that render. Or if I want, I can turn my Brightness down to zero to have a not-bright horizon.
The other important one is the Sun controls. How bright is this sun? So we can certainly make the sun brighter and so that will definitely show up in my render. I can make it dimmer. I can also change the Size of the sun. So a smaller sun with the same brightness will make the actual ball of the sun smaller, but the brightness will stay the same. So if I make my sun bigger, you'll notice that it actually looks a little bit bigger in relation to that.
Again, I can see my sun a little bit better. These parameters can really be tweaked as much as you want. I would suggest starting with one of the presets and working from there. Now, the final control here is Atmosphere. So again, do you want to add in atmosphere to your render? And that basically just gives you kind of a fog effect here. So as I add in Atmosphere, I can start to see how much Atmosphere I have, in terms of how much does a sun affect it, as well as what's the distance of that atmosphere? So again, the higher the distance, the more atmosphere I have; the lower, the less effect I have.
So you can create a hazy morning effect again just by adding in a little bit of Intensity here and not too much. So those are some of the parameters that you can use with the Sun lamp, and you can see this is a very, very versatile tool that you can use to create realistic skies.
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