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Dome Light

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Distant Light Example

The Dome light creates a virtual dome of lights around the scene producing a flat, even illumination over surfaces similar to photos taken on an overcast day. Dome lights have often been used to simulate Global Illumination; however, with the MODO rendering engine, Global Illumination is just as fast, if not faster than dome lights and generally yields more pleasing results. This light has Position and Rotation controls as well as Radiance, Shadow Type and Samples. Note that there is no size or scale value as the dome will always scale itself to encompass the entire scene, regardless of size. To control the lights color, shadow color and other material related properties, refer to the Light Material page of the documentation.

Dome Light

Directional Light PanelName: This data field displays the current item name. Users may easily change it by LMB-clicking within the field and typing the new name.


Position: An Item transform that allows the user to numerically position the light items representation in XYZ space (it wont actually affect the way the light illuminates the scene). By default, Position transforms originate from the items center position.

Rotation: An Item transform that allows the user to numerically set the rotation of the light item. By default, Rotation transforms originate from items center position.

Order: Allows the user to set the order that rotations are applied to the light item. Changing the order that rotations are applied can sometimes help to reduce or eliminate gimbal lock.

Scale: An Item transform that allows the user to numerically set the size of the light items representation (it wont actually affect the way the light illuminates the scene). By default, Scale transforms originate from items center position.

Reset: Resets the selected transform values to (0,0,0) returning the items back to the world space center position.

Zero: Returns the light items Center position to the world space center (0,0,0) without changing the position of the light item itself.

Add: Transform Items are the channel groups associated to an item that store its transform values, controlling its position, rotation and/or scale. By default, new items do not have any transform items associated with them (even though they are visible here within the Properties panel). This is useful as an optimization as only the necessary transforms are added on an as-needed basis, reducing scene overhead. There are several ways to add them. One is by simply transforming the target item with one of the various transform tools (or by editing the values input fields). This action will cause the particular transform item to be added automatically to the 'Channels' viewport list. The 'Add' function here can also be used to add the selected set of transforms to the Channel list while keeping the default 0,0,0 values (a necessary step for 'Referencing', in order to override the channels, they must first exist).

Dome Light--

Render: This drop down menu allows the user to select from 3 choices, when set to 'Default', the user can enable/disable lights using the visibility function "eye icon" of the item list. When the light is visible, it contributes to the final rendered scene and when invisible, it will not. On some instances the user may prefer to fix this state, setting the light as 'On' (enabled) or 'Off' (disabled) regardless of visibility. Also useful for workflows that auto toggle visibility, saving the user from manually enabling lights for test renders.

Dissolve: When the 'Dissolve' function is set to any value above 0%, the lights overall affect on the scene will attenuate as the value increases. When set to 100%, the lights effect on the scene is completely disabled. This function providing a convenient way to dim a lights effect within a scene.

Radiance: This value controls the intensity of the light and uses the standard physically based unit of Watts per volumetric meter. As you would expect, increasing this value will increase the apparent brightness of the Dome Light and decreasing the value reduces the lights intensity. Since the area that produces the light is so large, small values are all that are necessary to illuminate a scene properly.

Shadow Type: This popup offers options between 'Ray Traced' , 'None' and 'Deep Shadow Maps'. In situations where users want a light to cast a shadow, Ray Traced will give the most accurate results. Deep Shadow maps are useful for fur rendering, where a great deal of calculations are required to produce shadows; producing similar results to ray traced shadows while reducing the number of calculations.

Control Light Linking: Illumination on a surface is generally controlled by the 'Shader' item in the Shader Tree. Within the Shader it is possible to control a lights affect on a surface with Light Linking. As its name describes, it links the illumination affects of a Group of Lights to specific Items or Material Groups. When the 'Control Light Linking' option is enabled on a Light item, it will act as an individual Light Specific override to the Shader, allowing users to 'Include' or 'Exclude' a specific lights illumination on a group of items.

Item Group: The 'Item Group' option determines the specific Group of item layers in the scene that will be affected by the Light Linking. The Group needs to be defined in the Groups viewport panel. This can be done easily by selecting the target items while in 'Items' mode and then in the Groups palette LMB+click the 'New Group' button. Define a name for the group in the pop-up dialogue and choose the 'From Selected Items' option and click 'OK' to accept. Once the Group is defined, select the named group here.

Mode: The 'Mode' option determines whether the light will be 'Included' meaning it will only affect the Items in the specified Item Group, and 'Excluded' by all other surfaces, meaning it will be ignored by any items in the specified Item Group.

Samples: A Dome light illuminates a scene in a way similar to sampling lights from multiple positions across the dome and blending them for the final result. The 'Samples' setting defines how many samples are taken. Low sample values often produce shading that appears too grainy, increasing this value will reduce or eliminate the grain at the expense of longer render times.



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