Maya animation: Lighting

Lighting: In a 3D space, light is used to create atmosphere, and since the light is digital in Maya, we have a lot more control over how and where it is used.

The system that Maya uses to process it’s lighting is Arnold.

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 09.47.25.png

Types of lighting:

  • Ambient: the lighting used to create atmosphere and to uniformly brighten all parts of a scene, and for simulating a combination of directional and
  • Directional: Used to cover a certain angle or field using rays of light and is useful for far away scources
  • Point: Light that radiates from a certain point in all directions
  • Spotlights: Creates a cone of light in a singular direction
  • Area: Used for lighting a single space, however it takes a longer render time than other lighting types
  • Three-point lighting: Key light=main source illuminating an object, Secondary light= highlights the details in an object, and back light, which distinguishes an object from the background

Attributes of light

  • Intensity= the strength of a lighting effect
  • Cone angle= the width of a light direction
  • Penumbra= the soft edge of a cone angle
  • drop-off= how much light diminishes at the outer-edge
  • colour= sets an RGB colour for a light effect, which affects the colouring of a scene.
  • Decay= How much lighting diminishes away from the source of a light.


Aim from/aim at is the distance and angle you aim at an object with the intensity remaining the same, which has an affect on how it falls on an object

Cone radius is the size of a cone of a light source

Lighting tips:

  • Look at photography for good techniques
  • Think in terms of balance
  • Avoid being overly dramatic
  • Avoid over-saturated lighting and hues
  • We normally only need a small number of lights
  • Try and avoid disco-like colours and effects

The different types of shadows in a scene are:

Hard shadows

Soft shadows

Fall-out shadows



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s