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Using objects as a light source

From: Rendering Using Cycles in Blender

Video: Using objects as a light source

Now the last type of lighting I want to show you is lighting from objects themselves. So you can actually turn objects into lights by using the Emission Shader. Now I have a couple of objects in this scene. I have a Sphere, and a tube, or a Cylinder. Let's go ahead and start by rendering the scene. So I'm going to go ahead and turn on Rendered. You can see that actually I've got some light in this scene and that's because I have Ambient Occlusion turned on.

Using objects as a light source

Now the last type of lighting I want to show you is lighting from objects themselves. So you can actually turn objects into lights by using the Emission Shader. Now I have a couple of objects in this scene. I have a Sphere, and a tube, or a Cylinder. Let's go ahead and start by rendering the scene. So I'm going to go ahead and turn on Rendered. You can see that actually I've got some light in this scene and that's because I have Ambient Occlusion turned on.

So let's go over to our World panel here, and let's find Ambient Occlusion and let's go ahead and turn that off. One of the things we can learn here is that Ambient Occlusion can be a light source in and of itself. So now that I've turned that off, I've turned off all the light in the scene. So I'm going to go ahead and select my Sphere here. Let's go over to the Materials panel for that Sphere. Let's add-in a new Material.

By default, as we've seen before, it creates a Diffuse. But we can change this to a Surface that emits light. And that's called Emission. So I find the Shader that says Emission. And when I turn that on, you can see how instantly I get light in the scene. So, the Sphere illuminates and it casts light into the scene. This Emission has two parameters: Color and Strength. So basically, the Color determines the color of the light and the Strength determines how bright that light is.

So when I turn up the Strength, you can see how the light comes up. Now, if I want, I can move the light away. And just like with any other light, it will be affected by distance. So the closer this is, the brighter it will light up the scene. Now I'm going to go ahead and bring this number down to, say, about 2.5. So when I add in Color again--let's go ahead and add in some Color--and if you notice that when the Strength is up, the Color still goes in the scene, but the light source itself doesn't reflect the Color.

So when this is greater than 1, you're going to get less and less of that Color in the light. So if I bring that up, you can see how it gets closer and closer to white. And that's because the Strength is above whatever Color I put into that light. So let me show you another way of creating light. This was just a simple Sphere and the Sphere actually is almost the same as a Point light. And if you took a Point light and actually increased the size so that it was the size of the Sphere, you would get almost the identical type of light that you will get with this object-based lighting.

So let's use a different-shaped object here. So I'm going to select my Sphere and let's go ahead and delete it. And when I delete it, it deletes out the light that this Sphere created. I'm going to rotate around here. My Camera's here, so this is kind of more of an even representation of what I'm seeing in this Viewport. Let's go ahead and select the Cylinder, and go into the Materials panel and add in a new Material. And again, in Surface, we're going to go ahead and select Emission.

So I'm going to go ahead and bring this down, so you can see it in the view. And as you can see, when we start having lights that have more unique shapes, we can actually have a more unique type of lighting in the scene. So as I turn up the Strength of this light--let's go ahead and bring this up to about 4 or 5 here-- you can see how this is actually more of a tube light; it's actually more representative of something, say, like an overhead fluorescent light or something like that.

This light, again, will vary depending up on distance to the object. So the closer it is, the more it will light it up. Now one of the things you may notice is that when you have an object such as this as a light source, you may not want to see it in the scene. Obviously, this looks very unnatural. So one of the things you could do is you can certainly bring it up and out of the scene so that we don't see it.

But sometimes you may need that light a little bit closer to the object to get the exact effect that you want. So when this happens, we need to find a way to turn off that light, but still have that object illuminate the scene. And we can do that by going into our Object Properties panel here. So if I click on this little cube that says Object, we can actually scroll down to our Render Settings here. And this is actually under Ray Visibility, which is the very last rollout.

So when I bring that up, is this object visible to any number of different things? So, is it visible to the Camera? Well if I turn this off, it will stop rendering. So the Camera will not see this object. But, it can still transmit light and create shadows. But, by clicking this off to the camera, it will not render. So that's just a nice little trick to get very unique type of lighting in the scene without actually showing it in the Camera.

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Rendering Using Cycles in Blender

26 video lessons · 4355 viewers

George Maestri
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