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How to avoid a hot spot of light with three point lighting
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Dan LeFebvre

Guest Tutor

Dan LeFebvre
In this video, we're going to look at a solution to a very common issue that one of our users, Lucky Connolly, was running into when setting up three-point lighting. So to illustrate this, I've got a simple scene set up here. I'm just going to go ahead and render out what I have now. And we can see that we're getting this really hot spot right here on the floor. Now, there's a number of reasons why a hot spot like this can occur. It could be anything from our lights being angled improperly to their intensity simply being too bright. But I'm really happy with the way that the lighting is on my model. I want to get rid of this hot spot here on the floor. Now, rather than trying to get the lights perfect for both the model and the floor at the same time, one great thing about working in a virtual environment is that we can do something that we can't really do in real life, and that's to control what lights affect only which objects. So we can really set up a completely different light rig for our model than we do for the rest of our scene. So I'm happy with the way the lighting is on the model, so I'm going to close out of the Render View. Now, we want to take a look at how we can apply the lights for the model, but not to the background. So I'm going to hop over to Window, to Relationship Editors, come down to Light Linking, and open up the Light-Centric Light Linking editor. In here we can see that Maya is asking what light sources are going to affect which objects. So I have some groups here, and if I open up these groups, you can see I have one that is going to be for the bust, or for my model here. So this is my three-point lighting. Now with this selected, we can see that these objects on the illuminated side automatically got selected. That means that these lights are affecting this geometry. So I'm going to go ahead and deselect my backdrop geometry. Now if I close out of my Relationship Editor, go ahead, open up my Render View, and then we can save this render off to compare. And as we can see, now our lighting is not affecting any of the background. So this is before, and this is after we set up our light linking. So then, now how can we get lights back into the background? Well, I've actually gone ahead and, if I hop over to my Outliner here, you see I have an overhead light group. So I'll just turn on the visibility. And we can see it's basically going to be a directional light that's pointing in from above. So I want this light to be affecting just my background. So similar to what we did before, I'm going to come up to Window, Relationship Editors, and open up my Light-Centric Light Linking. And this time, we can select the overhead light group and deselect the bust. Let's come back into our Render View. And as we can see, we're definitely getting lighting in the background now, but we're not getting any shadows. Now shadows, in order to be cast from this object, we're going to have to have a light that's actually affecting this object. So let's come back into our Relationship Editor into the Light Linking editor here. And if we dial down the overhead light group, you can see I've actually set up an overhead light and then overhead shadow light. So one of them is just going to be casting a shadow. Just want to show what this looks like. I'm going to select the light and open up the Attribute Editor. So we can see, I have the color as black. So it's not actually casting any light into the scene, but it does have a shadow turned on. There's multiple ways. We could render out passes. There's a lot of different ways we can get the shadowing back, but that's just a nice little trick there. So for my shadow light, I want that one to actually affect my bust. That way the shadow will be cast from my model here. So let's open up our Render View again. And as we can see, we're now getting lighting both in the background as well as on our model, as well as getting some nice shadows being cast from our model. So that's just a quick look at how we can gain a fine level of control over the lighting in our scene by separating the lights affecting our model from the lights affecting the rest of our scene.
Each video in this course is a self-contained lesson focused on answering questions that Digital-Tutors customers have had as they learn rendering in Maya.