How to use Distant Lights in 3D

There are several light types in 3D, such as Spot Lights, Distant Lights, Points Lights and Area Lights to name a few. The most simple one to use is actually the Distant Light, also sometimes referred to as Inifinite Light.

What it does, is to illuminate every area of your scene with parallell rays. That means every single pixel of your scene will get the same lighting. Of course, your scene will react differently to this, depending on the props / surfaces you´ve got in there.

A Distant Light does not have any position, since all rays are equal. Therefore,you could say that a Distant Light´s position is infinite. This makes it easy to use, as you only need to worry about it´s rotation, which is the anlge at which it hits your scene.

Distant Lights are best used to mimic outdoors lighting. Our sun is actually not a “Distant Light” – it´s a large Point Light (A single point of origin and multiple rays in various directions) – or even a Sphere Light (See this as a sphere with rays coming out of the surface). However, since the sun is at such a great distance from Earth, and is such a large object – we can safely perceive the rays hitting our planet as almost parellell.

Take a look at this video, that demonstrates how you can use such a light, and how you can take advantage of objects in your scene to cast shadow patterns and make your scene look more populated that it actually is.


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