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Navigating Lights

When you activate a light view, the viewport window controls change to a new set of navigation buttons called the light viewport controls (Figure 11.93). By navigating lights with the light viewport controls, you can fine-tune their placement and animate them over time.

The names of light viewport controls are based on traditional terms for making movies. For a complete description of the light viewport controls, see Table 11.1.

Figure 11.93Figure 11.93 The Light viewport controls navigate Light viewports.

Table 11.1 Light Viewport Controls

Icon

Name

Description

Dolly Light

Moves light along its local Z axis or line of sight.

Dolly Light + Target

Moves light and target along light's Z axis.

Dolly Target

Moves target along light's Z axis.

Light Hotspot

Changes the size of the hotspot.

Light Falloff

Changes the size of the falloff.

Roll Light

Rotates light around its Z axis.

Zoom Extents All

Centers objects in all non-fixed viewports.

Zoom Extents All Selected

Centers selected objects in all non-fixed viewports.

Truck Light

Moves light and target parallel to the view plane.

Orbit Light

Rotates light around its target.

Pan Light

Rotates light. Target rotates around light.

Min/Max Toggle

Toggles between viewport layout and full display.

Note: Free lights use virtual targets for the Dolly, Truck, Pan, and Orbit commands.

You can look at a scene from the point of view of a spotlight or a directional light.

To change a view to a light view:

  1. Open a scene that has a spotlight or directional light in it.

  2. Activate the viewport you want to change.

  3. Type $ (Shift + 4).

  4. The Select Light dialog box appears (Figure 11.94).

  5. Select a light, and click OK.

  6. The view in the viewport changes to the Light view (Figure 11.95).

Figure 11.94Figure 11.94 The Select Light dialog box prompts you to choose a light.

Figure 11.95Figure 11.95 The Light viewport shows how the scene looks from the standpoint of the light.

To dolly a light:

  1. Change a view to a Light view (Figure 11.96).

  2. Click the Dolly Light button in the light viewport controls.

  3. Drag the dolly cursor up or down in the Light viewport.

  4. The light moves in or out along its local Z axis, or "line of shine" (Figure 11.97).

    The pool of illumination shrinks or expands (Figure 11.98).

TIP

To dolly a target, choose Dolly Target from the Dolly Light flyout.

To dolly a light and its target together, choose Dolly Light + Target from the same flyout.

Figure 11.96Figure 11.96 Open the Spotlight viewport.

Figure 11.97Figure 11.97 The scene enlarges in the viewport after you dolly the light closer to its target.

Figure 11.98Figure 11.98 The pool of illumination shrinks.

The Truck command moves a light and its target across a scene parallel to the plane of the Light viewport.

To truck a light:

  1. Open a scene with a light in it (Figure 11.99).

  2. Change a view to a Light view.

  3. Click the Truck Light button.

  4. Drag the panning hand across the Light viewport.

  5. The Light viewport moves across the scene (Figure 11.100).

    The cone of illumination moves as well (Figure 11.101).

Figure 11.99Figure 11.99 The scene before you truck the light.

Figure 11.100Figure 11.100 Use the panning hand to truck the light.

Figure 11.101Figure 11.101 After moving the cone of illumination to the right.

Roll rotates a light along its line of sight. This affects the scene only if the light casts a rectangular cone or uses a projector map.

To roll a light:

  1. Open a scene that is lit by a rectangular cone of illumination (Figure 11.102).

  2. Change a view to a Light view.

  3. Click Roll Light.

  4. Drag the roll cursor across the Light viewport.

  5. The light rotates around its depth axis (Figure 11.103).

    The pool of illumination, and any maps that are being projected, roll with the light (Figure 11.104).

Figure 11.102Figure 11.102 Using a rectangular cone of illumination, the light projects a Brick map onto the scene.

Figure 11.103Figure 11.103 After rolling the light about 50°.

Figure 11.104Figure 11.104 The map rolls with the projector.

Orbit Light moves a spot or directional light around its target. If the light is a free light, it uses a virtual target located at the end of the light cone.

To orbit a light:

  1. Open a scene (Figure 11.105).

  2. Change a viewport to a Light view.

  3. Click the Orbit Light button in the Light viewport controls.

  4. Drag the cursor in the Light viewport.

  5. The light rotates around its target (Figure 11.106).

    The light orbits around the scene (Figure 11.107).

TIP

To align a light to a surface normal, select the light and choose Place Highlight from the Align flyout. Then click the object. The light aligns to the surface normal at the point where you clicked in order to set the highlight there. It remains at the same distance from the object. For more information on controlling highlights, see Chapter 13, "Materials."

Figure 11.105Figure 11.105 This scene is mainly lit from above and to the left.

Figure 11.106Figure 11.106 Orbiting the light around its target.

Figure 11.107Figure 11.107 The scene is now illuminated from above and to the right.

Pan Light rotates a target around a light. If the light is a free light, it uses a virtual target located at the end of the light cone.

To pan a light:

  1. Open a scene that is lit by a spotlight or a directional light (Figure 11.108).

  2. Change a view to a Light view.

  3. Click the Pan Light button in the Light viewport controls, located on the Orbit Light flyout.

  4. Drag the cursor across the Light viewport.

  5. The Light view pans across the scene (Figure 11.109).

    The light sweeps across the scene (Figure 11.110).

Figure 11.108Figure 11.108 The light initially falls on the left front corner of the scene.

Figure 11.109Figure 11.109 Panning the light across the scene.

Figure 11.110Figure 11.110 The light sweeps across the scene.

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