Manage lights and their parameters with a dedicated Light Explorer.
- [Instructor] To round out our chapter on lighting in 3DS Max essential training. Let's look at a window that will allow us to control properties of lots of lights. In this version of my loft apartment, I've got many lights. You can see them here, especially in the top view. These are all individual spot lights that are mounted into the ceiling as down lights. We've also got some lights here for the dining table. There's a cove light in the kitchen, or dining room rather.
And I've also created some flash lights that are sitting behind the cameras because if you're doing an architectural photography shoot, you don't just use the available light. You bring in some kind of lighting in order to sort of dress up the space. And that's what this is, this is actually an area light, it's a rectangular shaped photometric light, that's positioned directly behind the camera, with a very high lumen value, in order to sort of blast the scene with light from that camera's point of view.
We can control the visibility and the state of whether the lights are on or off and lots of other parameters from a window called the light explorer. In previous versions of 3DS Max you would use a window called a light lister. If you go to the tools menu, you'll see light lister. Don't use the light lister, it's old, and it doesn't support a lot of stuff. In fact for example, the sun positioner won't even show up in the light lister. So pretend you didn't even see that.
You want to go into all global explorers, and these are different variations on the scene explorer. Remember we saw the scene explorer proper, we saw the layer explorer, here we've also got the light explorer. This is super handy because as I said, we can change the visibility, and all the other parameters of the light, just directly from this window, and we can see here that basically everything is turned off, in this column it says light on and there's a checkbox on the sun positioner but nothing else.
We're still just working with daylight coming in through the window. Let's turn some of these on. Here in the dining room, we can turn on the dining lights. And because they are instances, if I just click the light on parameter for any one of those dining lights, they all turn on, and now they're displayed in their color which is yellow, if they were off they would display in black like these over here. These down lights, I want to turn those on too. Notice that all of my down lights are just called down light one through whatever.
And I'm not sure exactly which ones I want to turn on. But if I just select a light here in the viewport it will be highlighted in the light explorer and that tells me oh okay, that's the one I want to enable. And I can turn on that down light that's in the kitchen and all these other ones that are also in the kitchen are instances, so they turn on too. And then we've got these over there, there's some hallway down lights, I can select one of those, it gets highlighted in the light explorer and I can enable that, and all of it's shared instances are also enabled.
Alright cool, we've also got our little cove light here that's kind of a cute little lighting feature, I can turn that one on too. Now I've turned on a bunch of these lights, my sunlight is still on. If we scroll down to the bottom, we can see sun positioner is still enabled. A quirk of this scene explorer light explorer, is that you can't turn off the sun in here. You can hide it, you can make it invisible, but that doesn't prevent it from sending illumination out into the scene. Okay so that's just one little quirk about it. Now right now what I've got is a mixed lighting setup, I've got all these artificial lights turned on, and I've also got sunlight coming in through the window.
And let's do a quick test render of that. I'll minimize the light explorer, I want to click in there just to make sure I've got focus on that camera window, and then do a test render, it's going to be a draft quality A-R-T rendering. Click on render production, and now what we see here is pretty much it just looks like it did before, with light coming in through the window. But the thing is of course, that sunlight is much, much, much brighter than artificial lighting. And if we want to see the artificial lighting in here, then we can either increase the intensity of those lights, or in this case what I'd like to do is actually turn the sun off, so we can have a night shot here.
Okay so to do that, there's a little bit of a quirky process you have to follow to turn the sun off. You could delete it but I don't want to do that, I just want to turn it off. As we saw, we can't turn it off from the light explorer. I can select the compass rose for the sun positioner, and if I look over here, there's isn't an off switch. There's no on, off switch in here. And this is a quirk of the A-R-T renderer. If we want to disable the sun, we have to go into it's object properties, and make it non-renderable.
Right click anywhere in the view with that object selected, go to it's object properties, and in the rendering control section, disable the renderable checkbox, and click okay. Now we can do another test render, if we go back to our physical camera, select that notice how dark it is now, in the view. Do another test render, see what we get. And we're still seeing light coming through. And that's just again kind of a weird quirk. What we have to do to fix this is let's cancel out of here, is we have to actually disable the environment.
Go into rendering, environment, and here we have the environment map, we can just turn this switch off that says use map. Turn that off, go back to our physical camera, do another test render, and now finally, we have no light coming from the environment. And we only have our artificial lighting. And because of the low intensity of the artificial lighting that means that we need to increase the exposure, alright.
So let's go back into rendering exposure control, let in more light by giving it a lower exposure value here. Maybe a value of like five or six, let's try six. And do another render here. Of course we could use active shade to do this too, but I kind of already knew what value I needed. Alright that's basically how the light explorer works. It's a way for you to easily, quickly turn a whole bunch of lights on or off, make them visible or invisible, and change some of their other properties.
One last point I do want to make about the A-R-T or ART renderer is that the system is entirely physically based and because of that we cannot disable shadows for lights. Lights will always generate shadows, regardless of the parameter in the light, alright we've got shadow on here, as an available parameter, well all the shadows on these lights are disabled, but course we are seeing shadows in our scene. A-R-T is completely physically based, and you don't have the controls that you might be used to from other renderers.
We can't disable shadows, we can't exclude shadows from objects, we can't exclude lighting from objects. It really is limited to the types of effects that you could achieve in the real world with real lights. Alright that's the light explorer. Gives you easy access to all the lights in your scene. That finishes our chapter on lighting, in 3DS Max 2017 essential training.
Learn how to get around the 3ds Max interface and customize it to suit your production pipeline. Discover how to model different objects using splines, NURBS, polygons, subdivision surfaces, and tools such as Paint Deform. Then, find out how to construct hierarchies, add cameras and lights to a scene, and animate with keyframes. Author Aaron F. Ross also takes an in-depth look at materials and texture mapping as well as the rendering options, including an introduction to Arnold, the new production renderer.
- Customizing and configuring the interface
- Selecting, duplicating, and editing objects
- Working with sub-objects in the modifier stack
- Performing polygonal and subdivision surface modeling
- Freeform modeling and sculpting
- Modeling with splines and NURBS
- Linking objects in hierarchies
- Framing shots with cameras
- Creating and editing keyframes
- Controlling lights and shadows
- Building materials
- Mapping textures
- Rendering sequences