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Let's start out with the simplest lamp, the Omni Lamp. Now I'm going to disable Layer 10 here, so I'm left with only my spotlight and I'm going to go into the Shaded view, and if your computer has the power, then Shaded view tries to show you in the 3D view, an approximation of the light and where it's coming from and what it's going to look like. So in the Preview panel let's the change the Spot light to be just a regular Lamp. That's a general Omni Lamp. The Omni Lamp doesn't have a cone or anything like that.
It's just a little circle and as we move this around, you can see that it gives a very even light source, just provides general lighting. So it's also a good Lamp to start with when we are talking about lamps and what they do. So we have already discussed that a lamp has a color that I can set here in the RGB sliders. If I take away Blue, I get a Yellow color. It has an Energy, puts out brighter or less light. It also has a fall off Distance, which means that after so many units the light kind of just gradually fades away.
So if it has a very short fall off, it means that it's very bright when it's up close against something but has a very little effect on objects that are far away. How that Distance falls off is controlled by these controls here. A Lamp can light an object on the same layer. We've already talked about that in general. This Lamp can also be a negative lamp, which means it actually takes away that color. So a common use of this is to put this under someone's chin as a negative lamp and it will increase the shadows on their face.
When we talked about materials, we talked about having a diffused and a specular color and if we don't want this lamp to create any specular kind of highlights or shine if you will, then we can turn off specular otherwise it will cause the glare in the highlights. That covers the basic lamp controls. Now in the Shadows controls, we can have this lamp cast to shadow, I'm going to go over here to the top view and move the lamp just above him. Now we can see that it's casting a shadow down on him and his shadow.
When we do a render, what we cast down on to this ground plane because this ground is setup to receive shadows. The Shadow can be normally black, the absence of light, or we can even color the shadow if we want. Now when we render, the Lamp will actually cast a blue shadow. You would want to use colored shadows if you are trying to simulate the effect of a lot of ambient light in the scene. In addition to illuminating an object, we can restrict it to have Only casting shadows.
So now it's not actually going to light him up, but it's only going to cast a shadow on to a material. If there were other lights in the scene, then you would have to use them to actually light the material so you could actually see the object. Texturing, we have covered, and you have a number of different Texture slots. As you add these different Textures on, these Textures can layer on one another and for the Lamp, they would add to each other. You can mix and match textures to affect these as the color of the lamp itself, through the various mix methods that are standard to all Textures within Blender or you can have it also affect the Shadow.
Now when a lamp casts the shadow with ray tracing, it's a very specific sharp shadow. As you can see here and I'm going to go ahead and increase the Render Size a little bit up to a PC Size. So when we do the full render, you can see that this shadow has a very hard edge and a lot of times depending on what you are casting on whether it is in a lot of ambient light, you don't actually get a very hard edge, only in the middle of the desert where you'd have very little scattering, would you actually get a firm hard shadow like this. So the Lamp has the controls to allow you to set the Soft size.
So if we set the Soft Size to something like 5. Now when we do a render, the Shadow is totally dispersed. By playing with this number we can say set it to like 4, we get a very soft shadow. If we want to reduce that grain unless we have to bump up the number of samples, and by setting it to 3 or so. So now when we render we have a very soft shadow that is cast almost as if he was standing under a tree.
So depending on the shadows, you can send a lot of visual cues to the viewer and suggest certain things are going on in the environment, based on the lighting and the shadows that you set up. So these are the basic lamp settings for the Omni Lamp and they also form the basis for all the other lamps as well.
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