Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Lights and lighting types in Maya, part of Maya 2016 Essential Training.
- In Maya, rendering is a lot like photography and just like photography, it works with light. Now, in Maya, the light is a virtual light, but we still need to understand how to place and control lights in our scene. So, let's go ahead and just go through some of the basic lighting types and how to manipulate them. So, I can create lights in one of two places. We can do this under the Create Menu. We have a whole menu here for lights and you can see that we have six basic types of light, Ambient, Directional, Point, Spot and so on.
These can also be found on our Rendering Shelf. So, the exact same lights are right here. So let's go ahead and create a basic Spot Light. Now, when I do that it creates a light at the origin, you can see it down here, and if I want, I can move that light around. Now, the icon for this Spot Light is kind of this cone shape, that looks somewhat like a spot light. Now, if we want to actually see what the light looks like in the scene, we want to make sure that our Renderer is set to Viewport 2.0 in our Viewport and then under Lighting we can do Use All Lights and the hot key for that is the number seven.
And when we do, it shows us what the light is doing. So, I can take this light and I can move it around just like any light. If I want, I can rotate it or I can move it. Now, when you move a light, it's often best to make sure that you're in Object Space, rather than World Space because World Space aligns to the world, but Object Space gives you a nice Z access here where you can pull the light away and towards the object. It's a very nice way to manipulate.
So, you know, left, right, up, down, towards and away. Now, there are other ways to manipulate lights as well. One is to hit the hot key of the letter T and that stands for Manipulator and when you do, it brings up these two objects here. One is a target, so the light will point at this object or this manipulator and the other is for the light itself. So, I can move the light wherever I want and it will always point at that target.
So this is a good way to precisely align where your Spot Light is pointed. Now, one more way to manipulate this light is to simply look through it like a camera. So, under Panels, we can go Look Through Selected and when I do, it shows me exactly what that light is doing. In fact, if I hop out here and see it here in my top Viewport, if I do a Look Through Selected here, you can see how that light is changing. Now, this is just a Spot Light, but there are other types of light that we can use in Maya.
Now one of the nice things about Maya is that it allows you to take an existing light and change it in the Attribute Editor. So, if I go into the Attribute Editor for this Spot Light, you can see that the type of light here is Spot Light, but I can change it to any other type of light. So, if I want, I can change it to what's called Ambient Light and Ambient Light is just the general ambient lighting in the room. It's kind of like your set point. It's your minimum level of light and we can change that.
Now one of the nice things about this is that we can change things such as color and intensity. So, if I want, I can dial down or up the intensity of my light and by default the intensity is set to one, which is kind of a good value or I can change the color. So if I wanted to change the color of my light I can do that as well. Now, in addition to Ambient Light, we have, what's called a Point Light. Now, a Point Light is like a bare light bulb in the room. It illuminates in all directions.
We also have what's called a Directional Light. The Directional Light points in a specific direction, but unlike the Spot Light, the Directional Light is not limited to a specific cone. So it's almost like the sun. Where it's coming in from one direction and it illuminates everything. And then finally we have what's called an Area Light. Now, an Area Light is basically like the soft box in a room and one of the things that's interesting about the Area Light is that it will get stronger as it gets closer to an object.
So, if I want, I can select this here and move it closer. You can see how it gets brighter as I get closer, but also it gets stronger as it gets bigger. So, if I scale this up, you can see how it illuminates more, but it's a great way to get soft shadows and nice, soft lighting effects, but at the cost of rendering time. These do take longer to render than other lights, so you have to be careful with that. So I'm going to go ahead and turn this back into a Spot Light and let's go through some of the other perimeters or attributes of this.
One is to Decay Rate and that's how does the light decay over time and we'll get to that in just a little bit. And then the other one is Cone Angle, how big of a cone is this Spot Light. Now this is just a Spot Light specific value. The other one is called the Penumbra Angles. So, how big is the soft edge of that light? Then we have additional Light Effects. We can add things like Fog or Glow to the lights and then we can also add in things such as Shadows.
So, if you want the light to cast shadows, you can do that. In fact, this light, by default, is casting shadows and we can see those shadows by turning on Lighting, Shadows. So we can see exactly what sort of shadows that light is creating. So, as you can see, we have a lot of different lights in Maya and they all have their own unique controls. So go ahead and just play with these lights and understand a little bit how they work and then we'll move on.
- Getting familiar with the Maya interface
- Selecting and manipulating objects
- Creating hierarchies and layers in scenes
- Creating polygonal objects
- Extruding a mesh
- Working with subdivision surfaces
- Sculpting a basic landscape
- NURBs modeling
- Creating and applying materials and textures
- Adding lights and cameras to a scene
- Adding depth of field and motion blur
- Animating in Maya
Skill Level Beginner
1. The Maya Interface
2. Selecting and Manipulating Objects
3. Organizing Maya Scenes
4. Creating Polygonal Models
5. Modeling Polygonal Meshes
6. Refining Polygonal Meshes
7. Sculpting Meshes
Sculpting a basic landscape4m 51s
8. NURBS Modeling Techniques
9. Refining NURBS Models
10. Creating Materials
11. Applying Materials and Textures
12. Rendering in Maya
13. Animating in Maya
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