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Simulating Sunlight

A Sunlight System is a combination of a free directional light and a compass. It casts sharp raytraced shadows by default. Use sunlight when you want to know exactly where shadows will fall.

To create a Sunlight System:

  1. Open a scene file.

  2. Click Sunlight System on the Lights & Cameras Toolbar.

    The Sunlight System rollout appears (Figure 14).

      Figure 14  The Sunlight System gives you a range of controls for creating realistic outdoor lighting.

  3. Drag downward in the Perspective viewport to place the compass.

    The compass lets you set the North direction for your world. The size of the compass is for display purposes only.

  4. Move the cursor upward and click to set the orbital distance.

    This sets the distance of the light from the compass ground (Figure 15).

    Figure 15  Setting up the Sunlight System in the Perspective viewport.

  5. In the Sunlight Systems rollout, set the time, date, and time zone for the light.

    This positions the sun in the sky.

  6. Render the scene (Figure 16).

    Figure 16  Shadows lengthen in the late afternoon (see the settings in Figure 14).


  • To position the sun geographically, click Get Location (Figure 17).

    Figure 17  The Geographic Location dialog box lets you specify where in the world the scene is.

  • After a Sunlight System has been created, you can change its location and orbital setting in the Motion panel.

  • If shadows do not at first appear when you render the scene, open the Modify panel and increase the Falloff setting.

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