Q. Why is lighting so important in 3D?
A. In 3D, just like in the real world, lighting can have a dramatic effect on both the look and feel of a scene or environment. It can help set the tone and mood for a whole animation or just a single still frame.
Q. Why are there two subcategories, Standard and Photometric, for lighting in 3ds Max?
A. Photometric lights contain real-world parameters, which can be a little daunting for those new to lighting in 3d Max; however, using them is the preferred method for lighting more realistic or explicitly lit scenes. Standard lights give you non-real-world parameters that are easier to use and can still give great effect, but in a less-daunting way. In general, photometric lights are more complex but give more accuracy, and standard lights are simpler to use but require more trial and error to get something to look exactly how you want it to.
Q. How many lights can you add to a scene?
A. It depends on your computer’s hardware. Each light you add increases the calculations that 3ds Max has to perform. The more lights you have in a scene, the longer it takes for the calculations to complete. With better hardware, 3ds Max can do more calculations, but there will always be a limit to the calculations a computer system can do. A good rule of thumb is to use the lowest number of lights possible to achieve the results you are looking for.