5.2 Where to Place Lights

This is not a simple thing to describe. The best thing I can tell you is to place a light where it makes things look right. I know. That's not much help, but it almost the best I can do. The last thing we want to do is place a light, build the level, check the lighting, find out its wrong and then go through the entire process again over and over and over. Let's see if we can come up with some things that will ultimately shorten the process for you.

The first thing to do is see where lights must be placed. Yes, there are places where lights definitely need to go. Take a look at your level. Are there ceiling light fixtures anywhere? Maybe there is a lamp post or other light emitting object. If so, then you need to place a light in such a way as to give the effect of that object actually casting light. Remember the tips above. Use soft lights and if one won't do the trick then use more. Placing lights with objects that cast light will go a long way to adding realism to your scene.

If you have a ceiling lamp and add one light under it you will quickly find out that WED's lights don't quite work like real lights do. That is because of something we talked about before. WED textures and geometry do not absorb or reflect light like real objects. As a result, one light bulb may evenly light an entire room, but the same light in WED will not. You may then have to use several lights to get a more realistic affect. Remember our tips; using level ambient along with lights will go a long way.

Besides the normal light emitters like lamps, there are also windows, skylights and other objects that would let in natural light. If you are not using WED's SUN feature (and I don't) then you will need to place lights to simulate natural lighting. Once again, setting a proper level ambient value along with WED lights can really make your level look great.

One thing to remember is many lights do not have hard, defined edges. Most lighting is soft. Keep this in mind when adding lighting to your levels. Single WED lights tend to look harder than most lighting we see. The key to making a level look good is rooted in observation. You need to become an observer of all that is around you. Take a look at light in your room, your office, by the main window of your house or where ever you happen to find yourself. What do you see?

How does the room light up? What casts a shadow? What does not and why? Once you become a good observer of reality then you are ready to bend and twist it in your own version of reality in Gamestudio!

Return to Part 5.1 - Lighting Tips
Go to Part 6 - Misc.