Chapter 5, Part I

Chapter 5, Lighting: The Easiest Thing That’s Tough

Part I, The Tools

We will be using a sun lamp for the direct illumination, so the environment lighting will only fill in the places that the sun don’t shine. Ahem.

This could have been a pretty theoretical part if you didn’t play with the controls as the author was explaining them. I’m leaving the lighting rigs for the next post, so this one is basically a summary and at the same time a quick reference for the types of lamps and their best applications:

  • Point Lamp – if an area is too dark because the main light casts heavy shadows or is just too far, use point lamps to subtly brighten that area;
  • Sun Lamp – best used in outdoor scenes, as one would have expected;
  • Hemi Lamp – good for a directional illumination baseline;
  • Area Lamp – the shadows it produces are awesome but expensive to render. In animations it’s good for simulating big sources of light, like windows, large signs and walls; in stills it provides realistic lighting, especially if you’re looking for the kind of lighting rig you’d find in a professional photography studios.
  • Spot Lamp – the unique capability of using buffered shadows makes the spot lamp, as Roland calls it, “the workhorse of Blender lighting”. We’ll soon find out why.

Aside from directional lighting the chapter also covered, well, non-directional lighting. These things bring up the render times but really add lots of je-ne-sais-quoi to scenes. Of course je sais quoi, the book explains it really well, I just felt like saying it like that. “Lots of je-ne-sais-quoi”, hah, something tells me I’m going to start using that a LOT. :)

So tomorrow I’ll post the results from following the book’s instructions on setting up lighting rigs. And that brings us to something that’s completely out of character: there are no images on this post!


This post is part of a series on the book Blender Foundations.
You can find the base post of the series here.

Next post on the series: Chapter 5 (Lighting), Part II
Previous post on the series: Chapter 4 (Modeling), Part III


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