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Now in the real world there is additional lighting that comes from light bouncing off of objects. Now typically this is called ambient or bounce lighting. In Cycles we use what's called Ambient Occlusion to simulate this effect. So let's take a look at our scene as we have it now. I've got this simple scene here and when I turn on Rendering, you'll see I've got my oranges in my bowl. Now I have one light, which is a Point light, in the scene so you can see how it creates the shadow.
Now if we want, we can add additional bounce lighting using Ambient Occlusion. So I can do that by going over here to the World panel and if we scroll down, you'll see we have a rollout here called Ambient Occlusion. So watch happens to the render when I turn this on. Instantly the Render gets a little bit brighter. So let me turn that off again. see how it gets darker? And when it's on, it gets brighter. And that's because the light is bouncing around the scene.
So now the light from the Point light is illuminating the scene, but the light bouncing back from the table and from the oranges and all that stuff is also adding additional secondary lighting to the scene. So with Ambient Occlusion we have two options here. We have a Factor, which is how much is this affecting the scene. If I turn this down, you can see it gets darker. A Factor of 0 is basically the same as turning it off. And if I bring it all the way up to 1, you can really have a lot of bounce lighting.
Now typically by default that is right around .5. And then we also have a Distance value, which is basically how far does the light bounce? So if you have a bigger scene, you may want to make this distance bigger or if you have a tighter more intimate scene, you may want to make it smaller. So as this is getting bigger, you can see how it changes. When it goes negative, you can see how things start to glow a little bit more.
Look at how the Ambient Occlusion works with the glass here. And because this is a tight scene, getting this much above 5 or 6 actually doesn't have too much of an effect, so really the Distance value will have an effect on the bigger scene. As you can see Ambient Occlusion is just another way to add additional bounce lighting and add one more layer of softness and realism to your scenes.
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