Lights and Shadows in Boxshot

Now that we have added the "Easy lighting" tool to Boxshot, it's really easy to give your shape a shadow. This tutorial will show the process, step by step.

Add a Shape

Pick a shape in the left panel (say, a book) and drag it to the scene. Once the book is in place, rotate the camera to see it from an angle where you can also see the shadow you are going to add. You should have something like this at the moment:

3d ebook cover in boxshot 4

Add a Shadow

Do you see the light bulb icon in the middle of the toolbar? Click it to run the easy lighting tool:

easy lighting in boxshot 4

You've almost done already - isn't that amazing? Move the angle sliders to position the shadow as you need. Note that you are looking at a draft preview, so the shadow may not look realistic; but you can see its position, size and direction. The shadow will look great when you render it using raytracing. Click "OK" when you're done.

What Have We Done?

Now open the scene tree at the left to see what happened while you configured lighting:

easy lighting in details

As you can see, the Easy Lighting tool has added a light source (named EasyLight) and adjusted its position, radius and intensity. You can do the same yourself, if you like; the tool just makes your life easier. If you run the tool again, it will find the "EasyLight" object and read its settings, so you don't need to move sliders again.

What About Contrast?

If you open the scene parameters tab at the left, you'll see that the ambient light level and omni light intensity give 100% in total. That's how the contrast slider works - it balances between ambient lighting and point light intensity to make the shadow more or less intense.

easy lighting demistified

Now click the "Render" button to see the realistic shadow:

3d book cover with shadow

The result is much better than what you saw in the preview, but has the same size, direction and intensity. So you don't need to render your object every time you make a change just to check that it is in the right place.

That's All

Great: you've just configured a light source and a shadow with a few mouse clicks. You also learned how to do this yourself, without any tools and helpers (just in case you want or need to).

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