Visible Spot Light Beams?

Discussion in 'Scifi 3D Forum' started by Stamper007, Mar 23, 2004.

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  1. Stamper007

    Stamper007 Jedi Youngling

    Mar 22, 2004
    I am currently involved in a small 3D project for school, an animation in which I need some pretty intricate lighting. I am two weeks new to 3DS MAX and have absolutely no idea where to start in lighting what I need.

    There are a couple instances where omni lights are practical and I can manage with that.

    However, the ?intricate lighting? in my animation comes in the form of visible spot light beams, and the lighting effect they have on things outside the visible beam.

    If you are not quite sure what I mean, the best reference or example I have for this is the [link=]20th Century Fox Logo[/link] with it?s spotlights.

    What?s different from my animation and the logo above is the environmental lighting. Basically, I have no light sources in my animation save for the spotlights (unlike the 20th Century Fox Logo where it is outside and lit by natural light). I want to realistically light my animation accordingly, where the geometry in view of the beams, but not inside, is accurately lit and shadowed. I want to realistically light the geometry while still holding a solid light beam coming from the spotlights (that I also want to animate, if possible).

    I would appreciate any artistic (a basic understanding of lighting and its projection) and technical (the knowledge how to do what I want to accomplish) help, reference or knowledge anyone has to offer accordingly.
  2. Darth_Steven

    Darth_Steven Jedi Youngling star 2

    Jul 14, 2002
    Hey Stamper,
    I think what you are wanting information on is what is known as volumetric lighting. This is an effect that is added to your light to give it that smokey type of feel...The best way I can describe the look is to look at a beam coming out of a movie projector, all the elements in the air can be seen in the beam's path.

    If you use a target spot light in Max select it and then go to the edit rollout menu (the spool looking thingy) and scroll to the very bottom, to Atmosphere and Effects....I'm just going on plain memory here so if I miss something bare with me...I don't have Max available to me at home....Click on the Add button and select a volume light out of the list. To play around with the settings you want to highlight the volume light in the box at the bottom and then hit the setup button I can change things like the fog colour of the light and the turbulence and size I think in the setup feature....

    Another thing to do with your light is to play with the near and far attenuation controls....try yahoo and google and search for volumetric lighting tutorials for 3ds Max....Good Luck

  3. Stamper007

    Stamper007 Jedi Youngling

    Mar 22, 2004
    Ya, thanks, that helps alot! It works pretty well too. I'm not too sure I'm impressed with the specific adjustments I made, but I'll play around with it a bit more. I am curious about one more thing though:

    Is there a way your light can start from a circle base and spread into the cone, as apposed to the default point into the cone? Better yet, is it possible to shape your light to a wider Base cone that turns into a Cylinder, or even a narrower-spread cone as it gets taller?
  4. PapaFett

    PapaFett Jedi Youngling star 2

    Nov 16, 2002
    Place a Point light in the same location of your spot light... then apply volume light to it... adjust the falloff and voila... sphere & cone...
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