Volumetric Lighting

Volumetric Lighting

Maya 2012 Tutorial


How to Add Volumetric Lights in Maya



The Volumetric Lighting is used to simulate light passing through fog or smoke. This effect is often used in theater by adding dry ice to the stage. You can also see this type of effect with street lights on a foggy pier.

This type of lighting works with Point, Spot and Volume lights

Another example of this type of lighting can be found in the topic, Adding Smoke to Light.


Step One

Add a text object to the scene by choosing Create > Text.

Step Two

Add a spot light by choosing Create > Lights > Spot Light.

Step Three

In the Orthographic views (Top, Front and Side), use the Move (w key) and Rotation (e key) tools to position the light so it illuminates the back of the text object.

Step Four

Position the Perspective view camera so you are looking at the front of the text object.

Step Five

Select the light and open the Attribute Editor.

Step Six

Set the Cone Angle to 90 and open the Light Effects section.

Step Seven

Click the checkerbox next to Light Fog and change the fog color by clicking the Color rectangle. Click the Fast Drop Off checkbox.

Step Eight

Click the checkerbox next to the Density slider, then click the Cloud texture in the 3D Textures section.

Step Nine

Return to the main light tab and open the Shadows section. Click the Use Depth Map Shadows checkbox.

Step Ten

Render your image by clicking the Render Current Frame icon. If the effect is too subtle, increase the Fog Intensity slider in the main light tab, Light Effects section. Adding a low intensity light to the front of the object helps highlight the letter details.

Options to Tweak

As you create your effect, several options can affect the final rendered image. Try adjusting the Cloud settings to modify the fog. You will also find that by scaling the light, the effect is either compressed or extended.


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