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Neal Hirsig's videos cover single functions by short in-depth videos.
For your learning you might appreciate longer tutorials which cover more issues for a start, to get primary view - and come back to these single topic clips later.
Check out ( and eventually rate ) this ranking of alternative tuts for "Lamps" on the learning network. If you suggest new links for this page, please tag them BLS_Lamps.
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Point Lamp

Video by Neal Hirsig, see on this Alternative Flash Stream if the embedded video is disabled on UVstream

Blender's Point Lamp object is an omnidirectional point source of light.
Video settings: additional window displaying UV editor, to display the rendered image and blue blended sky gradient in world editor

  • Add a Point Lamp Object in Top View: SHIFT + A -> select Lamp-> Point Lamp from Add Menu.

Position it in front view (here about height of camera)

  • Omnidirectional: casting light in all directions from its location point

Icon in 3D Viewport Editor: black dot inside of a circle

  • Select it and click object data tabicon in Properties Editor Window - displays all controls (most of them common to all lamp objects)
  • Preview panel - p. of lamp output:
  • directionality effect dependent upon location relative to objects of the scene (not slight illumination through objects of positioned underneath base)
  • intensity dependent on its distance from objects
  • buttons in the lamp panel allow the point lamp to be changed to other lamp objects
  • Color swatch - by default set to white
  • In real world the color is seldomly white
  • Color function used to create warm or cold light, reflecting time of the day or surrounding
  • Energy setting, by default set to 1 - increasing it makes it brighter - and thus shine a longer distance too
  • Falloff: distance from the lightsource, where the intensity of the light source will be half of the original brightness - by default 25 Blender Units.
  • Hence increasing the Falloff distance will make the light brigther, decreasing it less intense
  • By default the equation to determine the falloff is set to Inverse Square, which causes a rather rapid falloff
  • Click on the falloff type dropdown to switch from Inverse Square to other equations
  • Falloff type Custom Curve: additional panel where you can set a falloff curve manually (click adds control points)
  • Sphere option checkmarked limits the light to the sphere distance (falloff distance),but instead of a falloff function, no light extends this area, the light is cut off at this border
  • Checkboxes right of falloff
  • Specular and Diffuse, by default checkmarked, enable or disable the lights' effect on specular and diffuse reflections
  • This Layer checkbox limits the lights' effect to objects positioned on the same layer as the lamp object
  • The Negative checkbox reveres the illumination power of the lamp object (emitting darkness rather than light)
  • Shadow Panel
  • By default shadow controls turned off - when Ray Shadow button is pressed, the shadow is displayed in the render
  • and the icon of the lamp in the 3D viewport has a doted circle surrounding the closed circle which indicates that shadows of this lamp are renderd
  • Raytraced shadows: in order to render these shadows
  • Ray Shadow button in the Lamp panel must be activated
  • AND the Ray Tracing checkbox in the Render tabs Shading panel must be checkmarked too (which it usually is by default)
  • Additional controls:
  • Color swatch, by default black, which allows shadows to be coloured (dependendt how much of the selected color the reflecting object has)
  • with shadows turned on, the earlier effect, that the light shines through objects from unterneath is eliminated by the shadow of the covering object (try difference by truning shadows off)
  • This Layer checkbox limits shadows to be cast only by objects on the same layer
  • Only Shadows: lamp objects makes objects to cast shadows, but does not illuminate them
  • Sampling Controls: methods by which shadows are calculated,
  • by default set to Adaptive QMC, which is quicker, Constant QMC is less noisy - adjust Softness and Samples to create softer shadows
  • Lamp can have texture applied:
  • e.g add Clouds texture and change the preview to Lamp in the texture panel
  • Set the Influence color to black
  • select "Hard" noise in the Clouds panel, and set the size to 4
  • in the Mapping panel set the X,Y,Z size to 6 (in effect zooming in on the cloud)
  • lamp now has a dabble effect caused by the influence of the cloud texture
  • video: turns on mirror effect of the sculpture and table object in their texture panels.

Sun Lamp

Video by Neal Hirsig alternative stream: here on tufts servers

Blenders' Sun lamp object is a directional source of parallel rayed light

position and adjust focus of your sun lamp in different views

  • Sun Lamp has no falloff, thus its distance from any object in the scene is irrelevant (unless you are using special sky and atmosphere options)
  • As parallel light ray only the rotation angle is relevant, the sun lamp can be positioned anywhere in the scene with the same effect
  • The icon symbolizes the sun with a line to display the focus
  • As the name indicates the ideal lamp for outdoor scenes, the coloured directed light can simulate different daylight situations
  • see the video and transcript above for details and demonstrations

Sun Lamp - Sky and Atmosphere

Video by Neal Hirsig
Alternative stream on Tufts servers

Video settings:
Example mountain landscape scene with a subsurfed landscaped plane and a plane with slight mirror effect as lake
Point Lamp at very low energy level to give slight definition to landscape;

Sun Lamp sky and atmosphere special control settings:

  • Position and orientation of the camera is of importance: Camera focus must be positioned above the horizon - the sky must be visible
  • By default the added sun lamp points straight down along the negtive z-direction - position it by moving and rotating it
  • Select the sun lamp and click on the object data icontab in the properties editor
  • Checkmark Sky and Atmosphere - the world properties background is rendered now
  • To see the sunlight in the render, the sun lamp must be oriented towards the plane of the camera: the background is now lit with the sun lamp color (yellow)
  • Rotation around the x-axis allows to lower or raise the angle of incidence
  • Presets dropdown besides checkmarked "Sky" help to explore the setting controls (here: Mountain)
  • Sun shape is visible and by default the sun lamp influence is blended - added, to the default world horizon color settings (dropdown Blending in sky panel)
  • Set word horizon color by switching to word properties icontab which dislays world background settings
  • Checkmark Real Sky in the World panel and set the color
  • In lamp object data tab, choose other Blending options from dropdown box

Sky panel

  • Horizon controls
  • Horizon Brightness in Sky panel: the higher, the brighter the horizon color
  • Horizon Spread settings controls the spread of the brightness along the horizon, the higher, the more spread
  • Sun controls
  • Sun Brightness setting controls brightness of the sun itself - the higher, the more intense its color, here yellow
  • Sun Size - the higher the number the smaller the sun spot, the lower the number, the bigger the sun spot
  • Back Light - controls scattering of the sun in the horizon atmosphere, the higher the value, the bigger the sunlight scattering along the horizon
  • Turbidity
  • Combined sun sky and atmoshere setting
  • The lower the turbidity, the clearer the sky and atmosphere, the higher the Turbidity setting, the foggier or dense the atmosphere

Atmosphere panel

  • Rotation of the sun around the Z-axis repositions the sun in the render
  • Rotation around the X-axis moves the sun up and down in the renders' sky
  • (rotation of the camera along x axis doest he same
  • Sun Intensity controls the amount of blue scattering in the atmosphere - more intense with less scattering, less intense with more scattering (default setting for Mountain setting is max. 10)
  • Sun Distance settings is a multiplyer or factor control, higher values tend to increase the effect of the atmospheric scattering
  • Inscattering and Extinction controls further control the scattering of atmospheric light, by default set to 1
  • play on with the controls…..

Hemi Lamp

Video by Neal Hirsig

Area Lamp

Video by Neal Hirsig

Spot Lamp

Video by Neal Hirsig

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