Ambient Light?

Is there anyway to add uniform ambient lighting to a scene? I want to uniformly lighten shadows a little so shadowed details can still be made out for a toonish render.

The world buttons ambient settings I would have expected to be the solution have the result of uniformly adding colour to the scene rather than light.

Black which shouldn’t reflect light will still be coloured by ambient colour. Blue which shouldn’t reflect red light will still be coloured by red ambient colour.
Attachment has a black cube and a white cube, yet the black cube is “lit” by the ambient colour same as the white cube’s shadow.

The tool tips do say “ambient color” rather than “ambient light” so I guess this is a feature rather than a bug (however the wiki calls it ambient light).

I know I could use hemis to fill the shadows but that is still directional and so nonuniform.
I know I could add some emit to the materials and tweak the material and lamp colours to fit with an ambient light colour but that is labourious and awkward.

Any ideas on a more practical solution?


no replies?! I also want something like this, I need uniform light all over, like a regular lamp, and using multiple lamps is a last resort.

AO worked, try distance 0 so no shadow is shown, skycolor for color, samples can be low for speed I think, I havn’t tested a lot yet

Good idea. Does work, but I get stray black pixels with this.

If you read the opening post you would see this has already been considered. The problem is that it isn’t ambient lighting. It doesn’t follow the lighting equation, it just adds colour.

um…if the ambient light is colored, it adds color. as does radiosity. A blue cube in green ambient light will render cyan. The Ambient Light color kinda drives the whole process, in my mind. You set the Ambeint Color, then the material’s intensity or reaction if you will to ambient light, then occlusion. If you jump ahead and try to Occlude with black when it is supposed to be daylight, you will get like an opposite effect than what you are looking for

The amount of ambient light that each object is affected by is set using the Ambient slider in the materials. This is also the setting that is used in the Ambient Occlusion pass, which bookeater correctly found to affect the shadows that you wanted to affect. To lighten a ‘shadow’, which I assume you mean not an actual shadow but a crevice, you would use Add as the AO method. Then the AO pass will add the color of the ambient light according to the intensity of the Ambient material slider.

Surt: I’ve had good luck with turning noise/random off to get rid of the black spots.

Have you tried AO at all, in SVN the new A AO can work in bring out details in objects.

I don’t quite get what you’re saying, AO shouldn’t be required for a simple ambient light, and it is not intended for that at all, which is probably why it gave black artifacts.

Correct, AO is not required for simple ambient light. It gives a uniform lighting to an object that receives it (via its material Ambient slider and/or texture map). However, the OP inquired about ambient affecting shadows and areas around the object, not the object itself, at least how I understood the question.

AO will give black artifacts if the quality is low and the color black is Added (or if white is subtracted). If the quality is high and the color is white, it will lighten areas where there are creases and such.

I updated the Lighting Rigs page in the User Manual with what I am trying to say. please download the blend and play with it, and let me know if it explains it better. Thanks!

Yeah, it looks like a precision error, with some rays being shot from beneath the surface, though I doubt it would qualify as a bug since this is outside normal.

Not quite. Ambient should affect everything including the object.

Better examples attached: plain, ambient, zero distance AO (how ambient light should look)

Compare the shadows on the ambient and AO renders. Ambient doesn’t light the shadows it merely adds the colour.


You realize you do not have shadows in any of the images you have posted. What you are calling “shadows” are simply the darker part of the cube. You could always try turning up the “Emit” value of the material under the Shaders Tab (F5).

Or add more lights. My default scene now has two lights in it. One just for shadows and a non-shadow light I have parented to the camera to make sure that what I am looking at has a little more fill.

And why are they darker? Because they are not lit: in shadow. :rolleyes:

Whether the shadow is on the caster or a reciever it makes no difference in the desired result.

Whether the shadow is on the caster or a reciever it makes no difference in the desired result.

Perceptually you are correct, however, it does make a difference inside blender or any 3D app.

Blender is the only 3D app I have ever seen which does this with ambient light. Every game engine I’ve ever worked with did it the way the original poster expects it to work.

It also makes more sense to do it that way because it’s how a light in the real world would behave.

I love Blender as much as anybody, I just don’t see the status quo as the most desirable behavior.

Why are we defending weird grey painted-on shadows that look fake and uncrealistic? Just because it’s the way Blender has always done it before?

It’s open-source. Somebody fix it.

It’s open-source. File a bug report.