A typical direct light/shadow workflow


Generally, a typical workflow to set up direct light sources is as follows:

  1. Plan first to determine the look and feel of your scene and how it’s reflected in the light sources chosen.

    See Plan light sources.

  2. Create light sources.

    You can create various types of light sources for your scene and set attributes (options) that further define their characteristics. You can adjust the qualities of the lights you’ve added by changing the settings in the Attribute Editor and the Channel Box.

    To add a light source to a scene, see Create a Maya light source.

    To adjust the attributes of a light source, see Adjust a light source’s attributes.

  3. Move light sources in the scene and otherwise control them with precision (optional).

    To move a light source from one place to another, see Move a light source to another location.

    To control lights with precision, see Show, hide, or resize a light manipulator.


    As you light your scene and objects (and otherwise build your scene), you visualize (preview render) the scene to check the look and feel and accuracy of the way the light renders. To preview render a scene, see Visualize interactively with IPR.

  4. Cast shadows.

    By default, lights do not cast shadows in Maya. You can specify which lights cast shadows and choose which method Maya uses to generate them: raytracing or depth maps.

    To cast shadows, see Control which objects cast shadows.

  5. Create optional light effects such as glows, halos, or lens flares.

    To create light effects, see Create a light optical effect.

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