Studio Lighting / Three Point Lighting in Maya 3D 2012

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Maya Lighting resembles real word lighting techniques used in photography & film. Maya has a number of light sources ( Area, Directional, Ambient, Spotlight, & Volume light) that let you achieve a wide variety of lighting effects. By default, Maya scenes do not contain light sources. However, Maya’s default lighting helps you to visualize objects in Shaded display in the Scene.

maya default lightingTo view a scene without the default lighting in a viewport menu  go to Lighting > Use all lights.

  • The shortcut / hotkey to view a scene using the default lighting is 5.
  • The shortcut / hotkey to view a scene using all lights is 7.

Studio or Three Point Lighting in Maya 3D 2012

3D Studio 3 point lighting

The Three Point Lighting Technique is a standard method used in visual media such as video, film, & photography. The technique uses three lights called the key light, fill light and back light.

a. Key Light

The Key Light is the main light of your scene. It is usually the strongest and has the most influence on the look of the scene. It is placed to one side of the subject so that this side is well lit and the other side has some shadow. However, you must enable shadows of the key light on the attribute window (see settings below).

key_light_settingsb. Fill Light

fill_lightThis is the secondary light and is placed on the opposite side of the key light. It is used to fill the shadows created by the key. The fill will usually be softer and less bright than the key (see settings below).

fill_light_settingsc. Back Light

back_lightThe back light is placed behind the subject and lights it from the rear. Rather than providing direct lighting (like the key and fill), its purpose is to provide definition and subtle highlights around the subject’s outlines. This helps separate the subject from the background and provide a three-dimensional look (see settings below).


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