The procedures in this
topic apply to both standard and photometric lights.
Here are some general
tips about working with lights:
- One simple way to light a scene is to
convert the default lighting into light objects by using the command
Default Lights To Scene.
- You can turn the display of light objects
on and off with an option in the
panel. See the “Procedures” section,
- You can change the renderability of lights
in your scene using the Renderable option on the
panel of the Object Properties dialog.
- You can change the renderability of a group of
lights in your scene using the
In order to be turned on/off through the
Layer Manager, lights must have their Render Options set to ByLayer
of the Object Properties dialog.
set new lights as renderable ByLayer, turn on New Lights Renderable
By Layer on the
of the Preferences dialog.
- You can use the
Highlight button to change a light's position.
See the “Procedures” section, below.
viewportcan be a useful way to adjust spotlights
in your scene.
To create a light:
- On the Create panel, click (Lights).
- Choose Photometric or Standard from the
drop-down list. (Photometric is the default.)
- On the Object Type rollout, click the
type of light you want to create.
- Click a viewport to create the light.
This step varies slightly depending on the type of light. For example,
if the light has a target, you drag and click to set the target’s
Light objects replace
the default lighting. As soon as you create a light, the default
lighting is turned off. If you delete all lights in the scene, the default
lighting is restored.
- Set the creation parameters.
Like all objects, lights have a name, a color,
and a General Parameters rollout.
To create shadows, do one of the following:
- In the General Parameters rollout, make
sure On is checked in the Shadows group. Adjust shadow parameters
in the Shadow Parameters rollout and the additional (
Traced Shadows) shadow rollouts.
- Right-click the light, and turn on Cast
Shadows in the Tools 1 (upper-left) quadrant of the quad menu.
Turning on Cast Shadows also turns on the On
toggle in the Shadows group of the General Parameters rollout, and
Shadows are visible only
when rendered, either in a full
To turn shadows on
or off for multiple lights, select the lights and then use the
You can set an object to not cast or not receive
shadows. By default, objects do both. See
To control the display of light objects:
- On the Display
panel, on the Hide By Category rollout, turn on Lights.
All light objects in the scene disappear, but
the lighting itself is unchanged.
Light objects can cast light whether or not
their display is turned off. The Zoom Extents commands are affected
by whether light icons are displayed or not. When lights are displayed,
Extents All includes the
lights in the zoom.
To control whether a light casts light in
the scene, you can use its On toggle, or you can toggle its Renderable
property on the light's
To change a light's parameters:
- Select the light.
TipLights can be hard
to select by clicking. You can use the keyboard shortcut H to
select the light by name.
- Open the Modify panel.
- Change the light's parameters in the
General Parameters rollout and other rollouts available for that
To position a light so it highlights
- Make sure the viewport you plan to render
is active, and that the object you want to highlight is visible
The result of Place Highlight
depends on what is visible in the viewport.
- Select a light object.
- On the main toolbar, choose (Place Highlight) from the
You can also choose Tools menu Place Highlight.
- Drag over the object to place the highlight.
When you place an
direct light, or a
Free Light, 3ds Max Design displays a face
normal for the face the mouse indicates.
When you place a
direct light or
Target Light, 3ds Max Design displays the
light’s target and the base of its cone.
- Release the mouse when the normal or
target display indicates the face you want to highlight.
The light now has a new position and orientation.
You can see the highlight illumination in shaded viewports that
show the face you chose, and when you render those views.
Highlight works with any kind of selected
object. You can also use Place Highlight with a selection set of
multiple objects. All objects maintain their initial distance from
NoteFor materials, highlight rendering depends
on the material's specular properties and the type of rendering