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A CG or virtual light is what actually makes the objects in your Maya scenes visible when you create a render. There're a number of different types of the lights, as well as affects that you can add to the lights, to create whatever mood that you want for your Maya scenes. When you create a light in a Maya scene, you essentially decide the type of light you like, position it in 3D space, so that it illuminates the objects in the way that you want, and then edit its settings in the Attribute Editor. So various things, like how it casts shadows, how it comes into the room, whether there's effects, like this volumetric lighting effect, how far the light goes, whether it's a daylight, whether the daylight actually casts indirect light, like you can see the blue color here in the shadows.
This is created through indirect lighting effects to simulate light bouncing off of various surfaces in the environment. You can simulate the physical properties of light and create very realistic renders. With using additional effects, you can create things like the color bleeding, like the green color of this sphere, bouncing onto the white walls here. So lighting is a big topic. And mental ray offers an awful lot of options, as you'll see. We'll go into a lot of detail throughout in this series on the kind of things you can do when combining the power of mental ray with your Maya scenes, to create whatever mood you'd like for your overall images and the animations.
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