Lighting is the most important aspect of a good render. Without it, there is only darkness. This topic will be dedicated to examining all of the properties one can find when using Lights.
To create a light, right click on the Objects folder in the Project Workspace, select New, and click on Light.
A new Light will appear in the Objects folder.
Lights have many properties that tell Animation:Master how to render, as well as properties that tell where to put the light, and what direction to aim it in.
The Bone Position sets the coordinates of Bone for the Light.
Changing the Start values will set the starting position of the Bone in relation to the origin. Adjusting this value will change the values in the Rotate menu and will change the Length.
Changing the End values will set the ending position of the Bone in relation to the origin. Adjusting this value will change the values in the Rotate menu and will change the Length.
The Rotate menu sets how a Light is oriented in relation to the center of the light. Adjusting the Rotate values will change the values in the End menu.
The Length values sets how long the Bone is. Adjusting this value will change the values in the End menu.
For the most part, I suggest not changing the Bone Start and End position values. When a Light is put into a Choreogrophy or an Action, the position of the Light will be controlled by the Transform Values. The only time the Bone Position should be changed is when a Light is added into a Model, and a Light is needed in a specific location on the model at all times. It is a good idea to adjust the Length of a Light if you are using a Klieg or a Sun Light so that you can grab the end of the Bone without having to zoom in or out.
Note: The Transform values will not change the position of the light when changed in the Objects folder. They really have no purpose in the Objects folder and should have Visibility set to False.
In a Choreography or an Action, the Transform values act very similarly to Bone Position values. Neither The Bone's Start and End, nor the Length can be changed with Transform values.
The Translate values set the position of the Light in relation to the Bone Start and End values. Meaing, if the Bone Start and End values are set to the default values (0,0,0), then the Translate values would move in relation to the origin.
If you select a light in a choreography, left-click on the center of the light and drag it around the screen. This will translate the light to the position underneath the mouse.
Scale sets the size of the Light in the three different dimensions. This value affects only two values: how rays are emitted from the light, and the shape of volumetrics. I will discuss those later in this topic. I suggest leaving the scale as it is.
The Rotate menu sets how the objects will be oriented in relation to the center of the light. Changing the Rotate values will not affect Bulb lights unless volumetrics are used in conjunction with a customized scale. Klieg and Sun Lights use Rotate the most often. You can either enter these values manually, or you can use the manipulator on lights to rotate them to point in a direction.
The control box at the end of the Bone sets the rotation of the light. You can view the light from any direction to make sure that it is properly rotated in the direction desired.
The Roll Method refers to how the Bone is rotated in an Action or Choreography as it is animated. The Roll Handel is the Control Box that is directly above the center of the Light which is connected by a handle. There are three different Roll Methods: Z-Singularity, Y-Poles-Singularity, and Roll History.
Z-Singularity is primarily used for Model Bones. When the Y rotation of the Bone approaches 180 degrees, the role handle will start to rotate around the original Axis of the Bone. If the light rotations have not been set in the Options folder, the Roll Handel will rotate around the negative Z-axis.
The ring placed around the Z-axis shows how the Roll Handel will rotate. Notice that the light is pointing in the negative Z-Axis.
Y-Poles Singularity is the default Roll Method for objects like Lights, and Cameras. This Roll Method tries to keep the positioned in somewhat of an upright position. The Animation:Master Help file gives the example of a basketball court camera positioned in above the center of the court. The camera will roll so that the players are viewed in an upright position as the camera moves from one end of the court to the other.
The ring placed around the Y-axis shows how the Roll Handel will rotate. This rotation happens around both the positive and negative Y-axis.
The Roll-History Roll Method determines how a Bone will roll based on the history of the Roll Handel. When this method is used, there will be no axis at which the bone will rotate around. This can create smoother animation, but the exact rotation of the bone cannot always be predicted. Nonetheless, the rotations can always be corrected.
Euler Order refers to the freedom of rotation on the X and the Y plane. There are three types of Euler Order types: YXZ, XYZ, and Automatic.
This Euler Order gives less of a priority over rotations made on the Y-axis. This means that when a Bone is rotated on the Y-axis, it only has 180 degrees of freedom. Outside of the 180 degrees of freedom, the other two axises control the rest of the motion.
This Euler Order gives less of a priority over rotations made on the X-axis. This means that when a Bone is rotated on the X-axis, it only has 180 degrees of freedom. Outside of the 180 degrees of freedom, the other two axises control the rest of the motion.
In most situations, this is the best Euler Order method because the differences between the other two types are small in differences. The reason why it is better is because Animation:Master determines which Euler Order is best for the Bone in a specific rotation.
Currently, the use of the feature with a Light is unknown. Normally when it is used on a model, that model will show up even if it is immersed in fog.
Animate Mode determines whether or not the Light will animate over a scene. By default, the Animate Mode is set to ON, but if Animate Mode is set to OFF, the light will not move. This is good for keeping a static light in the scene. If Animate Mode is set to ON, then the light will animate normally.
There are three different types of lights in Animation:Master: Bulb, Klieg, and Sun.
A Bulb Light emits light in all directions.
The Bulb Light is positioned just in front of and above the Box. Notice that the light fades with distance and that light is being emitted onto every visible surface.
A Klieg Light emits light in the direction enclosed within the Cone Angle of the Light.
This Light is positioned exactly where the Bulb Light was positioned. The Klieg is pointing towards the bottom corner of the box, and the Cone Angle is wide enough to show the top corner of the box.
A Sun Light emits light in one direction only. Because the source of the Light is considered to be extremely far away, there would be no light come from any other angle than the direction of the Light.
Sun Lights are good for outdoor scenes scenes because they emit shadows starting from the farthest outward geometry on the Sun Light's Axis.
The Width sets the diameter of the light source.
The only values that have changed for these two lights is the Width. Notice that the falloff distance radius is pushed outwards because of the increase in Width when the actual falloff distance was not changed. This also affects how shadows are rendered if there is only 1 Ray Cast set in the Shadows menu.
This is a Top view of a Box that is positioned just below and to the left of the light source. Notice that the shadow on the 60 cm Width Light appears to have a gradient on it unlike the nearly solid black shadow of the 10 cm Width Light. To get rid of the gradients, turn up the ray casts, and turn on multipass.
The shadows are now faded around the edges because more rays could pass by the geometry at different areas. I will go more into Ray Casts later on in this topic.
Width of Softness
The Width of Softness only appears in Klieg lights. What the Width of Softness does is sets how soft the outer rim of the Klieg Light is. Small percentages will result in harsher edges, which percentages closer to 100% will be very soft.
The Fall-Off value is the distance at which the brightness of the Light is equal to the intensity of the light. This means if the Fall-Off distance was set to 500 cm, models positioned 500 cm away from the light source would be the diffuse color their surface properties are set to. Any surfaces closer to the light source would be brighter, and surfaces farther away would be darker.
The closest box is much brighter than the second closest box, but because the brightest color on a monitor is white, the effects cannot be seen. The second box is actually set at the Fall-Off distance and all other boxes are set farther away then that.
The Cone Angle is a value that is applicable only to a Kleig Light. This value sets the angle at which light is emitted from the Light.