Light layers


Light layers are used for creating a custom lighting setup for your 3D scenes.

If you don't have any light layers, your 3D layers will not use the lighting system. Your layers will be equally lit from all sides and will look the same as 2D layers, other than their transformation.

Lights only affect 3D layers. You can add lights to a composite shot containing only 2D layers but they will not have any effect.

Creating lights

Lights can only be created from the New Layer menu on composite shot timelines.

You can create as many lights as you want in a composite shot and they will all work together, just like using real lights on a set.

Promoting lights

Embedded composite shots have an additional option in their Layer properties called Promote lights.

When Promote lights is activated, any lights inside the embedded composite shot will also affect layers in the parent composite shot.

Shadows

Point, spot and directional lights can all cast shadows. These shadows will automatically update as lights and layers move around in 3D space.

To enable shadows you need to do the following:

1.Turn on Cast Shadows in the Light properties of any light layers which you want to be casting shadows.
2.Turn on Casts Shadows in the Material properties of any layers which you want to cast shadows. You need to have at least one layer casting shadows.
3.Turn on Receives Shadows in the Material properties of any layers on which you want to see shadows. You need to have at least one layer receiving shadows.
4.Turn on Shadows in the Viewer Render menu.

Layers do not have to be illuminated to receive shadows.

Spot and directional lights provide faster performance when casting shadows than point lights.

Properties

The Light properties change depending on the light type. There are 4 types of light, each with very different behaviour. The light type can be set in the light's layer properties.

Type: Ambient

An ambient light floods the entire composite shot with light from all sides. It is a non-directional light and does not have a source.

Ambient lights cannot cast shadows and do not have any falloff, so objects will be equally lit regardless of their position and orientation.

This makes it the least 'realistic' of the lights but it can be very useful to use as a fill light.

Color - changes the color of the light.
Intensity - the higher the intensity, the brighter the light.

Point

A point light emanates from a single source point in all directions, behaving in a similar way to the sun, or to a flare.

Depending on your settings, layers farther away from the light will be less illuminated.

Color - changes the color of the light.
Intensity - the higher the intensity, the brighter the light.
Cast shadows - turns shadows on and off for the selected light layer.
Falloff - sets whether the light decreases over distance in a realistic manner.
Reach - if Falloff is on, this adjusts how quickly the light loses intensity over distance.
Shadow Opacity - if Cast Shadows is on, this adjusts the visibility of the shadows.
Shadow Diffusion - if Cast Shadows is on, this changes the softness of the shadow edge.
Shadow color - changes the color of the shadow.

Spot

Spot lights emit light in a single direction, emitting in a cone shape from a single source point, just like a real spotlight.

Depending on your settings, layers towards the edge of the light cone will be less illuminated.

Color - changes the color of the light.
Intensity - the higher the intensity, the brighter the light.
Cast shadows - turns shadows on and off for the selected light layer.
Falloff - sets whether the light decreases over distance in a realistic manner.
Reach - if Falloff is on, this adjusts how quickly the light loses intensity over distance.
Cone Angle - widens and narrows the size of the spot light cone.
Feather - changes the softness of the edge of the spot light cone.
Shadow Opacity - if Cast Shadows is on, this adjusts the visibility of the shadows.
Shadow Diffusion - if Cast Shadows is on, this changes the softness of the shadow edge.
Shadow color - changes the color of the shadow.

Directional

Directional lights emit light in a single direction. Unlike spot and point lights, directional lights are emitted from an infinitely large source plane, with all the light rays moving parallel to each other.

This results in all objects in the chosen direction being lit equally from that angle.

A directional light requires the layer's Alignment property to be set to Towards Target Position.

Color - changes the color of the light.
Intensity - the higher the intensity, the brighter the light.
Cast shadows - turns shadows on and off for the selected light layer.
Falloff - sets whether the light decreases over distance in a realistic manner.
Reach - if Falloff is on, this adjusts how quickly the light loses intensity over distance.
Shadow Opacity - if Cast Shadows is on, this adjusts the visibility of the shadows.
Shadow Diffusion - if Cast Shadows is on, this changes the softness of the shadow edge.
Shadow color - changes the color of the shadow.

The target direction is set using the standard Transform Target property.

RECAP Just like on a real set, using lights will make your virtual cinematography far more compelling.