Lights. Eevee. Your preferences?

I’m playing with a scene…, in order to REALLY learn about lights in Blender.

(I’ve tried this before… but, the very first light placement that I tried inspired me so much that I created a video … and totally lost track of learning about lights)

Currently, the scene is Suzanne and an Empty. I have an HDRI world light, but it is Off.

Parented to the Empty is a white Point light and a white Area light, so that if I rotate the Empty, the lights “orbit” Suzanne. I have key framed some rotations and light intensities.

In 25 words or less… which light is your favorite, and why?


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I like a combination of Sun lights and Area lights- Sun for main lighting, Area for details- for cel-shading NPR work
(21 words :slight_smile: )

:rofl: :rofl: I’ve seen answers that could have been books. I’m just looking for “gut feel”.

Follow ups…

No point?

What if you’re scene is in a bedroom, at night… or a dark dingy tavern?

A dark environment like that would surely have points. If the tavern is medieval, it’s probably lit by candles, so everything will be point lights. I would say the type of light depends more on what fits in your scene’s context rather than preference.

The area where you really have more control is the light’s radius. A small light source will give harsh shadows and is great for the dark, gloomy night times scenes your mention. A big area light will have the look of a soft, overcast daylight and will have a more gentle daytime feel.


So true.

But ultimately you decide what light to use… i.e. your preference for that scene’s context.

That’s what I seek. Short bits of wisdom. Thanks so much!

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Well, here’s a slightly longer bit of wisdom, (or foolishness, who’s to say? :sweat_smile: ) For cel-shading, I don’t use point lights, because they create a radial effect, as do spotlights. Using sun light allows me to get consistent shadow placement regardless of where an object is- I then use area lights as “key” light for areas that need more illumination, but having a consistent baseline from the sun light is super helpful for NPR work. This isn’t really generally applicable though, NPR does stand for “non-physical rendering” after all, so for more realistic work, I’ve been known to use spot lights and point lights :thinking:

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I’m going to vote for the light that closest represents the lights as they exist in my scene. (that’s 18 words, but I don’t think any real discussion can happen with a word limit that small, so i’m going to ignore that for the rest of this post)

I do a lot of commercial display design, and where the light is coming from within the scene is usually a known factor. If I have a glass display case with LED tape light, I will make a skinny rectangular area light that roughly lines up with the size / shape of the LEDs

If there is a TV casting light into the scene, then an area light the size of the TV.

Track lights are just a series of spot lights.

bare bulbs are point lights.

If I only had one to use, it would probably be area lights, but they all have their uses.


Had to look up “cel-shading”. And “National Public Radio”, right?

(I watched an indoor match at Wimbledon. No shadows. Weird.)

Thanks for the wisdom!

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  1. 'Bout sums it up. Thanks!

I use mainly area or geometrical lights which are rather similar.
Usually in combination with an hdri or a skylight.

Cant remember when i last used a spot, point or sun light.

Sorry… I haven’t tried those yet. I have 2.93. Do you know… Can it be done in that version?


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Oh, with geometrical light i just mean a plane or some other geometry with an emissive shader. This has been possible since cycles exists i believe.

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Sadly I use Eevee. And it seems to be different in Eevee, right?


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Emissive geometry in Eevee can be used to affect irradiance volumes, but it will only produce low-res indirect lighting and it cannot change between the frames of an animation.

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Well, that’s a shame. But indirect light is OK in Cycles, right?

In Cycles, those same emissive materials will count as proper, direct light. Still, it’s better to use the actual light objects where possible because mesh lights are more noisy.

To me spot light is the most versatile, you have many controls.

To sum up quickly a real answer, different lights gives different result. For a exterior scene sunlight is more appropriate. If you have a candle light in your frame, spots or suns won’t work and a point light works better. If you have a TV screen or a windows, areas are better.

Now if you are more into using lights in a creative way, spotlights allows to lit precisely an area, with cone angle. You can make sharp of soft shadows by increasing the size , you can even scale them non uniformly. So that’s what I use the most when it comes to play with light to add mood to a scene.

But asking your question is like asking what selection mode do you prefer between point, edge or face ? Of course it depends on the case.

If you want to study light, maybe try to get your hands on a real scene , something like these :

Using a simple object is great to test each light, but it’s harder to start thinking about light in terms of a mean to an end.
Light is about how to make things looks cool but there is more to it, you can use it to guide the eyes, emphasis mood in a scene, tell a story better. Just like the rest of 3D pipeline. Modeling , composition, textures, posing, and lighting, all these involve creative decisions that should give more sense to a scene in order to express an idea.

Hope that helps, lighting is really fun !