Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Using Falloff to limit the effects of light

From: CINEMA 4D Essentials 4: Materials, Texturing, and Lights

Video: Using Falloff to limit the effects of light

So far in this chapter we've been talking about the idea that the lights in CINEMA 4D don't behave quite like they do in the real world. And right now we're going to talk about another aspect of light that is not like the real world, but that you can make a little bit more like the real world, and that's something called falloff. In a real light source, light diminishes in intensity as it travels away from that light source, and that effect is called falloff. And you'll hear the word falloff a lot used in 3D applications. Really what it means is a transition, and in this case it's a transition from 100% intensity down to 0% intensity, or from whatever intensity you have set.

Using Falloff to limit the effects of light

So far in this chapter we've been talking about the idea that the lights in CINEMA 4D don't behave quite like they do in the real world. And right now we're going to talk about another aspect of light that is not like the real world, but that you can make a little bit more like the real world, and that's something called falloff. In a real light source, light diminishes in intensity as it travels away from that light source, and that effect is called falloff. And you'll hear the word falloff a lot used in 3D applications. Really what it means is a transition, and in this case it's a transition from 100% intensity down to 0% intensity, or from whatever intensity you have set.

The key is that it's always a transition from one state to another. Now when I add a light in C4D--I'm going to add an omni light and I'll click once on the light source. And let's render that. Command+R or Ctrl+R. You can see that our light is doing what lights do, which is pass through objects, and it's illuminating the objects. The reason we're not seeing these objects behind us is because those polygons are facing the other directions. So you can see all these other cubes around us in this grid, but you'll notice that the light is the same intensity. It appears to be diminishing in intensity here, but that's because of the angle of these planes to the light source.

Let's do something different here. Let's raise the light up on its Y axis. I'll hit the E on the keyboard and then drag up. And exact height doesn't matter, but let's hit Command+R or Ctrl+R on the keyboard. Now, you can see that now the light is illuminating all the objects in the scene equally from that point of origin. Now the light appears to be diminishing in intensity in the distance. You can see that we have this sort of dark region out here. But really, what's happening is the angle of light is changing. The omni light radiates light outward from a point source, and as the light becomes more parallel to the surface of the plane--that is the infinite floor-- it no longer strikes the floor, and that gives us the illusion that the light is falling off with intensity.

But these cubes tell us otherwise. You can see that they're the same illumination. The angle is changing and creating different levels of intensity, but the illumination level really is the same. So that begs a question: How do we change it? By adjusting the falloff. Now on your Light source, when you select it, under the Details property is the Falloff option, and the Falloff option is defaulted to None. And so when I click on that, I get some really sort of confusing technical options here. Rather than trying to explain these, because I'm not a light scientist, I'm going to show you a very important thing in CINEMA 4D, which is the Help system.

If I right-click on the word Falloff and go to Show Help, I get an example in the interface. And this is the Help menu inside of C4D. It's an HTML-based system that you can right- click on just about anything in the interface and get a reference for. And for the reference for Falloff, it has a great explanation of Falloff. It also has a visual explanation of the different types. And if I click on this it makes it larger. Let's expand this window out a bit so we can see those light types. Let's bring that over here and scroll down a bit, and let's make the window larger too. There we go.

And we'll scroll to see them. So you can see, these are the different light Falloff types. The default is None. Linear, Inverse Square, Step, and then down here is Inverse Square Limited. Now I prefer to use Linear. It feels the most realistic to me, but there may be times where you need to change these to suit your taste. So let's close up the Help window and turn our Falloff from None to Linear. Now, as soon as we turn it to Linear, you'll notice that we now have this set of rings around our light, and let's hit Command+R or Ctrl+R on the keyboard. And now you can see that our light actually looks a little bit like a spot light.

That's because the light is now being limited. It's diminishing in intensity in a spherical radius around our omni light. Remember, the omni light radiates outward in all directions, which is basically a sphere, and because it's being limited, we see only the places where our objects intersect with that sphere of influence. Now if I hit A on the keyboard, these white rings represent that sphere of influence. So there is a zone from the center of the light out to the outer edge, and this is the falloff region for the light. So it's 100% intensity here, and then it's 0% intensity here.

So if I want to include more of these cubes, I have to take this little orange dot and drag outward until more of my cubes are illuminated. And now if we hit Command+R or Ctrl+R on the keyboard, you could see that our light looks a lot more interesting. It behaves in a much more accurate way. Falloff is probably the most important tool you can use in getting realism in your scene. Turning on Falloff for your light will up the production value every single time. It does require you though, to start thinking about light much more like a lighting designer, and that's always a good thing.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for CINEMA 4D Essentials 4: Materials, Texturing, and Lights
 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed CINEMA 4D Essentials 4: Materials, Texturing, and Lights.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.