Interior Lighting

This easy to follow tutorial is intended for beginner Anim8or users, showing a basic lighting set-up for an interior scene. While beginners are tempted to ignore the importance of a proper lighting, professional photographers say "lighting is everything"!
We will try to create the lighting conditions of a room on a sunny afternoon. The image on the right shows the final render. You may want to download the project file with the scene to see the settings not mentioned below.


I set up a simple scene, without anything fancy. The room is a cube with a deleted face (to allow viewing with the camera). There is a rectangular window cut on the right side where the day light enters. Some simple pieces of furniture fill the space of the room. Notice on the left the distant placing of the camera, combined with a reduced field of view, to avoid an ugly perspective distortion. 
Having the objects that make up the scene and the camera in the position, let's add the lights! Our first choice is an infinite light which simulates the sunlight. We want the light to enter only through the window, so we have to set the light to cast shadows and the room  to cast and receive shadows. The image on the right shows the settings for the infinite light.
Let's make a test render (see below):
Well, it's rather disappointing... It seems more like moon light. The explanation is simple: an infinite (directional) light having the transverse area that of the window will light up only a small area which it intersects, leaving the rest of the room in darkness. 
To simulate the reality, just an infinite light is not enough! Trough the window enter not only the sun rays, but also a large amount of diffuse light coming from the outside environment. 
We are going to bring in the diffuse light from the exterior adding a new light, now a local light, to illuminate the whole room. We shall place it right in the center of the window (see above the image with the scene setup). This light has to have a lower intensity compared to the infinite light source, as the diffuse environmental light is week against the sun light. 
See on the right the parameters of this light source. Notice the large outer radius of the light compared to the inner radius! That's because we don't want to have a pronounced attenuation of the light along the room, that would look unnatural.
See on the next page a test render with the additional light!

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