Volume Lights

Volume Lights

Maya 2012 Tutorial


How to Add Volume Lights in Maya




Volume Lights are unique in that the light's illumination is based on one of four shapes. You can specify that the light is either a Box, Sphere, Cylinder or Cone. Within each shape is a small sphere to indicate the actual light source (provided the Volume Light Direction is set to to Outward or Down Axis). Volume Lights are like a three dimensional Area Light.

Once you get the hang of Volume Lights, you will find them to be very creative light sources.


Step One

Add a polygon plane to the scene by choosing Create > Polygon Primitives > Plane.

Step Two

Add a volume light by choosing Create > Lights > Volume Light.

Step Three

In the Front view, move the light upward with the Move tool (w key). The light's center sphere should be above the plane.

Step Four

Use the Scale tool (r key) to enlarge the light beyond the plane.

Step Five

Select the light and open the Attribute Editor.

Step Six

The Volume Light Attributes section allows you to set the light Color, Intensity and Shape. Shape options include Sphere, Box, Cylinder and Cone.

Step Seven

In the Color Range section you can continue to fine tune the light's decay with the Gradient and Interpolation settings.

Step Eight

The Volume Light Direction menu includes Outward (from the center sphere), Inward and Down Axis (pointing down from the center sphere).

Step Nine

For Cylinder and Cone lights you can make adjustments in the Penumbra section.

Step Ten

The Light Effects section is used to create Fog and Glow.

Step Eleven

In the Shadows section you can choose between Depth Map and Raytrace Shadows.

Why Does Glow Disappear with Mental Ray?

Whenever you click the Glow checkerbox, Maya adds an Optical FX node to the Glow attribute. Unfortunately, Optical FX doesn't work with Mental Ray. A great work around is to add your glow effects in After Effects.


Shutterfly 50 Free Prints 160x600