188.8.131.52 The Spotlight Source
Spotlights are a very useful type of light source. They can be used to add highlights and illuminate features much
as a photographer uses spots to do the same thing. To create a spotlight simply add the
keyword to a regular point light. There are a few more parameters with spotlights than with pointlights. These are
radius parameter is the angle
of the fully illuminated cone. The
falloff parameter is the angle of the umbra cone where the
light falls off to darkness. The
tightness is a parameter that determines the rate of the light falloff.
point_at parameter is just what it says, the location where the spotlight is pointing to. Let's
change the light in our scene as follows:
<0, 10, -3>
point_at <0, 0, 0>
We render this at 200x150
-A and see that only the objects are illuminated. The rest of the plane and
the outer portions of the objects are now unlit. There is a broad falloff area but the shadows are still razor sharp.
Let's try fiddling with some of these parameters to see what they do. We change the falloff value to 16 (it must
always be larger than the radius value) and render again. Now the falloff is very narrow and the objects are either
brightly lit or in total darkness. Now we change falloff back to 20 and change the tightness value to 100 (higher is
tighter) and render again. The spotlight appears to have gotten much smaller but what has really happened is that the
falloff has become so steep that the radius actually appears smaller.
We decide that a tightness value of 10 (the default) and a falloff value of 18 are best for this spotlight and we
now want to put a few spots around the scene for effect. Let's place a slightly narrower blue and a red one in
addition to the white one we already have:
<10, 10, -1>
point_at <2, 0, 0>
<-12, 10, -1>
point_at <-2, 0, 0>
Rendering this we see that the scene now has a wonderfully mysterious air to it. The three spotlights all converge
on the objects making them blue on one side and red on the other with enough white in the middle to provide a balance.