In This Chapter
Taking advantage of different types of lights in Blender
Setting up effective lighting
Changing the look of your scene with background images, colors, and ambient occlusion
In terms of getting the work you've created in Blender out to a finalized still image or animation, having your scene's environment and lighting set up properly is incredibly important. It goes along hand-in-hand with setting up materials on your object (covered in Chapter 7) as well as the rendering process (covered in Chapter 14). Without light, the camera — and by extension, the renderer — can't see a thing. You could create the most awesome 3D model or animation in the world, but if it's poorly lit, it won't look good.
This chapter covers the types of lights available to you in Blender and details some of the best practices to use them in your scenes. In addition to lighting details, I go into setting up the environment in your scene with the settings in the World buttons. In many ways, these things are what give your scenes that final polish that make them look good.
Lighting has an incredible amount of power to convey your scene to the viewer. Harsh, stark lighting can give you a dramatic "film noir" look. Low-angle lights with long shadows can give you a creepy horror movie feeling, whereas brighter high-angle lights can make things look like they are taking place during a beautiful summer day. Or, you can use a bluish light that projects a ...