Research Lighting and Rendering aspects of Maya

Directional Light

Directional light is a term used to describe light travels in a specific direction, such as light from a torch or lamp. this would be opposed to general lighting which would create an overall lighting for an entire scene.


Ambient light

Ambient light refers to light that is preexisting in a scene before any other lights are added. This could include a room light or light from outside through a window. It simulates the balanced light that already exists in the studio.


Point light

Light with a small source point with little diffusion. used to create a high contrast. this could be a candle for example.



A directional light focused on a specific point used to draw attention or focus to a specific point or object.


Area light

Area light is usually light with a large 2 dimensional source point used to illuminate a large area.



Volume Light

Visible focused light, such as a beam of light through a window. This is commonly used in 3D modelling and cinematography.


Light Intensity

There a several different types of Intensities which each define their intensity.

Radiant Intensify, a radiometric quantity measured in watts per steradian.

Defenitition of Steradian

Luminous Intensity, a photometric quantity measured in lumens per steradian

Irradiance, a radiometric quantity, measured in watts per meter squared

Intensity, the name for irradiance used in other branches of physics

Radiance , commonly called “intensity” in astronomy and astrophysics

Light Colour

Basically, defining Light colouring and temperature colours depending on the temperature of the colour and also depending on the different software.


Light Linking

When you create a light source, the new light source illuminates all surfaces in the scene by default. Similarly, when you create a surface, all lights in the scene illuminate the new surface. You can link lights with surfaces so that only a specific light illuminates a specific surface, or, conversely, only a specific object receive illumination from a specific light.

Cookies (Light)

Cookies are basically so you can have a certain template to make a certain look of lighting for example blinds which can present a certain lighting in the room.


Three Point Lighting

The Key Light, this is the main light used on your subject. The Fill Light, the purpose of this light is to fill in the shadows created by the key light, preventing them from getting too dark. The Back Light, this is used to separate the subject from the background.


Ebon Hawk Render.png
Render of the Ebon Hawk Ship I had created.

Depth Map Shadows & Raytrace

By default, an individual light in Maya will produce no shadow. But combining the depth map shadow casting lights and raytrace shadow casting lights and tweaking the attributes of both depth map and raytracing shadows will simulate shadows which mimic those generated by real world light sources.


These Images by Alan Opler show the comparison of different mapping nodes which have been applied to the bunch of flowers. As you can see, the combination of depth map and raytrace go hand in hand with each other to make the render image in the bottom left corner. Both maps show that the shadow can be visible alongside the reflections on the vase from the entirety of the scene.

Maya software renderer

Maya is a multi threaded piece of software which have many different renderers such as;’


Ray Trace



Hardware 2.0

Arnold (Maya2017)

For example, with Maya software renderer. You can produce high-quality images with complex shading networks, including procedural textures.



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