Introduction to lights in Maya

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Introduction to lights in Maya

Hello everyone.In this tutorial we will explore each and every default lights in Maya and will explain how it works.After reading this tutorial you will have enough understanding about the lights in Maya.

If you don’t add any lights in your scene ,Maya will render your image with default two sided lighting.


List of Default lights in Maya 

1) Ambient Light

2) Directional Light

3) Point Light

4) Spot Light

5) Area Light

6) Volume light

Where will you get these lights? 

In Menu bar , go to create option and select Lights and click on a light you need in the scene.

Click on rendering shelf as shown in image below.


Rendering Shelf in Maya

Rendering Shelf in Maya


Purpose of each light in Maya 

1) Ambient Light

Ambient light shine in two ways :-

a) It shines evenly in  all direction from the location of light.

b) It shines evenly in all directions from all directions.

Ambient light  in Maya is used to simulate the combination of direct and indirect lighting. Ambient light gives you equal illumination irrespective of position of light in the scene. Most lighting artist avoid using Ambient lights because it robs your scene of richness and variety.

Read More - Attributes of Ambient light in Maya

2) Directional light

Directional light is used to simulate sunlight because it uses parallel rays of light as if illuminating the object from far distance. The position of light is not important as the direction of the arrow.

Since this light is normally used to simulate sunlight it does not have a decay.

Read MoreAttributes of Directional  light in Maya

3) Point Light

Point lights in Maya shines evenly in all direction from small point source. Point lights can be used to simulate light bulb or a star.

Point light , when enclosed in a geometry (from three sides) acts like a Spot light.

Read MoreAttributes of Point light in Maya

4) Spot light

Spot light in Maya shines a beam of light in a direction defined by a cone. The size of cone determines the size of beam. Cone can be rotated to change the direction of the beam.

Spot light is used to simulate Flash light and car headlights.In some cases it can be used to simulate sunlight.

Read More - Attributes of Spot light in Maya

5) Area light

Area light is physical based  2 dimensional rectangular light source. It does not have a decay option. Using it in a scene will increase render time.

It can be used to simulate indirect lighting. Use it and place it wisely in your scene to create contact shadows when you are not allowed to use Occlusion pass.

Read More - Attributes of Area light in Maya

6) Volume light

You can achieve  different effect using volume light.Inward behaves like a point light and down Axis like a directional light. The shape and size of light gives you the extent of light.


Amod Mantri

Amod drinks lots of coffee and writes articles. A student by day , blogger by night. When a team needs a gum to hold itself together , he is there to chew it.

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