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In this course, author Dan Ablan walks through the process of understanding the MODO workflow while learning to create 3D models and animations. The course teaches fundamental tasks, such as modeling polygons and applying materials with the Shader Tree, while exploring scene building in depth through advanced lighting, camera, and animation techniques. The course also covers MODO's schematic tools and shows how to render animations for various playback media.
Working with lights in modo is pretty easy. A lot of people get overwhelmed by them, but I'm going to run through each one of them for you. This is a scene that's been created for you. It's on the exercise files, in the CH06 folder, and it's just a car from the assets that come with Luxology's modo. So you can load this up if you don't have the exercise files. What I've done here is I've placed pretty much every light type we can into the scene. What I'm going to do is run through each one of them and show you how it looks and how they work. The first thing I want to do in the Items tab is take a look at our arrangement here.
With this car, we have a lot of texture locators, and those are the locator references for the images that are applied to this car. Well, in order to keep organized, let's go ahead and move the camera up to the top. Then I'm going to select the top texture, hold the Shift key, and then select the bottom texture and then press Ctrl+G, and that drops those all into a nice little group. You can see a little folder icon. Then I'm going to click on this and just call it Textures. It doesn't change the effect of it. It just organizes.
This way we can see all of our lights. By default, you have a directional light that comes with your scene. And what I'm going to do is press F8 on the keyboard, and this opens up a Preview window. So here you can see we've got a flat plane as a ground to cast the shadow, and we've got this little--I think it's an Alfa Romeo. You can find this car in the Layout tab under the Meshes folder. So this Directional Light, when we select that in the Items Tab, the properties for that light appear in the bottom.
You can play with the Transform, the Rotation, the Scale. One of the things you're going to need mostly is the Directional Light Properties, such as the Radiance--and this is how bright, how much light comes out of that. So let's just click and drag that down. You can see that light just almost turns off and then of course we can turn it up. The Shadow Type is Ray Traced. You can do a Deep Shadow Map which is sometimes better, depending on what you're doing, but for the most part I like to use Ray Trace. It's more accurate. One thing that's nice about the Directional Lights is you can have a Spread Angle.
So if I change this to say 30 degrees, what happens is that we get a nice soft edge to the shadow. Just so you know, this is not a final render; this is just a preview render, so it's progressively always updating for us. So if we kind of just move a little bit, you'll see it get pixelated, and then it redraws. So it's just a quick preview. It's not a final render. You can increase the samples of the light, and one way to do this is to take your mouse, put it at the end of this-- and you can do this for any other values in modo--and on your keyboard, the asterisk symbol above your 8 key represents the multiplication. And I can say *4, and now that's got a higher sample, so it makes a higher-quality light, and of course better shadows.
Of course, it will take a little bit more time to render. Simple Shading helps speed up the render, but at the same time it might add a little bit of poor quality to the image, so you might want to turn that off if you have really fine render that you need. Physical Sun works really well on these distant lights, or these directional lights, because it will represent a time of day and a location. So in this case, the Location is the Luxology Headquarters, but let's say you went to New York and it's wintertime and maybe, more, it's end of the day, and you suddenly get this very nice physical sun look.
It's a great way to create just an atmosphere without much effort. The Directional Light, one more thing. Its position in the scene does not matter. And you can see over here, if I take a look, I'll press the Y command, here is the Position for it. And if I press F8 again to open up--and I'll move this over-- when I move this light, notice that it doesn't change on the model. But watch what happens when I rotate it. So only its rotation matters. It's almost like a sun. It's just a direction.
That's the only thing that's important. So just kind of keep that in mind when you're setting those. Now that I've said that, even when I'm using directional lights, I still put them in place for where I want them. Even though that doesn't matter--only the rotation does--it just helps me keep organized. The next light type is a Cylinder Light, and that's this one right here. What a Cylinder Light does, it kind of works very much like a fluorescent light bulb. I'm going to press Shift+A on the keyboard to bring that to view. You can press the Y command, and you can actually stretch this out if you want.
Let me move it down to the car, so you can see what it's doing. I've used these for some animations I've done for United Airlines where the lights underneath the trim around the windows need to look like fluorescent lights. I've used them for cabinet lighting underneath the kitchen counter, things like that. A Spot Light. Shift+A to bring the Spot Light to view, once we select it. The Spot Light is probably one of the most popular lights because its rotation and the position all matter.
Then you can also have a Soft Edge Angle. So let's take a look at the properties for the Spot Light, and then I'll press the F8 key to call up our preview. When you look at the Spot Light preferences, you can see that you also have the Radiance that you can change and brighten up that spot light like that. You can play with the Cone Angle, and that is--you can see that right there in the interface how wide that is. And you really want to play with the Soft Edge. If you bring the Soft Edge to 0, you get this kind of flashlight type of look with that hard edge.
Well, if you're using these more for architecture or something more creative, you're going to increase that Soft Edge, and that means that that falloff of the light will blend. This is something I've said a few times through the course: don't always judge everything by what you see in the interface; make sure you see more of the render because that's going to be your final. But you get that nice soft falloff with the spot light. And its rotation and its position all are important, not just the rotation like the Directional Light. Then you have a Point Light, and the Point Light, very much like a light bulb.
I'll press the Y command to select that and then Shift+A to fit, and let me bring this up. Now the Point Light is great for light bulbs, or even like little candles, things like that. And it's just this omnidirectional light, and wherever you move it, you're can just see that light falloff which is really nice. You can rotate it all you want. It's not going to make much difference, because the light is emitting from all sides. Of course you have the Radiant Intensity for it, you have the Shadow Types, you can increase the Radius of it, and of course increase the Samples just like the other light that you saw with the Directional Light.
We can put on Volumetrics, and what Volumetrics will do is create more of a haze. Now you're not going to necessarily do this with a Point Light; you're going to do it more maybe with a Spot Light, to create more of an atmosphere. Let's open up our Items List here. You have a Photometric Light. When I select this, when I add this light, it's going to look for an IES file. Now, this is a file that you can get off the Internet. Often, light providers will give you this file, and it's a predetermined light.
It's also something you can use more in architecture. So I would suggest do a search online for "IES lights" or "Photometric Lights," and you'll find those files that come in and actually predetermine all the light settings. Lastly, we have a Dome Light. What the Dome Light does, which is actually pretty neat, it simulates more of a atmosphere for the scene. Let's turn that on. And you can see that it just encompasses the whole scene. If I press F8 with a preview, it has this very nice soft, almost like a product- shot type of look, a really nice atmosphere to it. And the light comes from all over, rather than one direction.
When we talk about light, you really want to take into consideration all aspects of it, and especially the shadows. Too often in computer animation people over-light and they don't consider the shadows, and the shadows are really what's going to create a lot of depth and contrast in your image, helping give that 3D effect. So just keep that in mind, not to over-light. In our next videos, we're going to actually set up a full lighting scene, and you can see how easy it is in modo to create a really great realistic product shot.
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