Hello folks! Today we’re going to learn how to set up Ambient Occlusion and Environment Lighting. I have modeled a LEGO skeleton to show you how to set it up.
QUICK TERMS: AO is short for Ambient Occlusion. Professional modelers use this frequently.
Check the Ambient Occlusion box under the sky color.
Now if you change the sky color to something bright, the lighting will be lighter. If you make the sky darker, the light will be darker.
To make the quality of the render better, scroll down a bit to where it says “Gather”. Below that will be a slider that says Samples. If the Raytrace button is selected, turn it up and it will make the quality better. Remember, the higher you turn the Samples up, th slower the render will be, but the better quality it will be.
NOTE: While modeling and animating, turn the Ambient Occlusion samples down to 1 or 5. For final renders, use a lot more samples such as 15 or 25 (depending on how fast your computer is).
The Approximate button also makes shadows, but does not require samples and works faster in comparison to Raytrace. But there are errors with this method. The shadows can be a lot larger and darker at times and very unrealistic. This method works with Indirect Lighting though, and looks fine. If you would rather use Approximate, try adding a lamp or a Sun in the scene along with the AO. It will improve the shadows. 🙂
Environment Lighting V.S. Ambient Occlusion V.S. Indirect Lighting
Environment Lighting: Environment Lighting is a form of all-around-illumination. I uses specific colors such as White or Black or other defined colors to determine the color of it’s light.
Ambient Occlusion: Ambient Occlusion basically does the same thing as Environment Lighting, except that Ambient Occlusion uses sky color to determine the light color.
Indirect Lighting: Indirect Lighting is a form of light, just not as direct as AO or Env Lighting. Like the name says, it’s In-direct. It can oly be used if you are Using Approxamate Gather Method, not raytrace. Indirect Lighting basically ligtens up dark spots in areas and makes the scene look better in most cases.
Now you know all about Environment Lighting, Ambient Occlusion, and Indirect Lighting. Next time, you’ll learn how to Bake Lighting right into models! If you have any questions or comments, please ask me in the comments. I’ll be sure to answer them as soon as I can. 🙂