# "Shaping" area lights

• @chriswwd said in "Shaping" area lights:

I see where our paths have diverged, and it's not related to the term "mesh light", I understood what you meant there. It's related to the phrase that you emphasised in your original post: "cast light as that shape", and which I was concentrating on as your primary goal.

I assumed that what you meant by this phrase was a beam of light emitted from the object in the same shape as the object itself, so that where the light fell on a surface it provided illumination in the shape of the light emitter.

It turns out that's not what you meant at all. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

No worries, and no need to be sorry. It's all good! To muddy the waters further, what you described above was indeed my original intent. A shaped light that can project its own shape -- but with your idea of being able to control the divergence/convergence of the light beams.

Upon re-reading your suggestion about the gel, I think this is likely the easiest solution for me, for now!

• You can't shape area lights, but you can make shapes out of area lights. You're limited to shapes you can make from square/rectangles, but shapes are possible. For example, 8 long thin rectangles arranged around a central axis could emulate a fluoro light. By definition, this makes area lights morphable within Poser (although the capacity isn't there yet). Lights work by calculating camera rays finding a light source; area lights are not parallel rays, they radiate from a flat plane (light is cast everywhere except above the plane). If the area light was subdivisible and morphable, you're just changing the direction of the lights 'normals', which you can do anyway by grouping individual area lights and angling them.
A few preset morphs (like tube and hemisphere) would be awesome...

• @piersyf said in "Shaping" area lights:

You can't shape area lights, but you can make shapes out of area lights. You're limited to shapes you can make from square/rectangles, but shapes are possible. For example, 8 long thin rectangles arranged around a central axis could emulate a fluoro light. By definition, this makes area lights morphable within Poser (although the capacity isn't there yet). Lights work by calculating camera rays finding a light source; area lights are not parallel rays, they radiate from a flat plane (light is cast everywhere except above the plane). If the area light was subdivisible and morphable, you're just changing the direction of the lights 'normals', which you can do anyway by grouping individual area lights and angling them.
A few preset morphs (like tube and hemisphere) would be awesome...

That's a great idea re: the fluorescent lights. I hadn't thought of approaching it that way. Once I get out from under this project I'm working on, I'll really have to do some experimenting.

• @piersyf said in "Shaping" area lights:

You can't shape area lights, but you can make shapes out of area lights. You're limited to shapes you can make from square/rectangles, but shapes are possible. For example, 8 long thin rectangles arranged around a central axis could emulate a fluoro light.

Eight area lights so arranged would work for a scene with a single streetlight, but would quickly become burdensome if making a large/complex scene. If you're going to have more than two streetlights in the scene, I would use a single area light for each streetlight.

@caisson said in "Shaping" area lights:

I seem to remember something like this too. While messing about a while back I made a circular emitter to act as a sun substitute - used an ngon with 24 vertices and a single poly face. It was a very quick test of an idea, but certainly rendered ok. Maybe ngons would be worth experimenting with?

I think yes, particularly for a sun or full moon.
One of the downsides to using the rectangular area light is that it shows in renders - both directly and in reflections. Square moons suck.
An oval n-gon emitter should do the trick for that street light, and you could have as many as you want in the scene.

• Yes it would be tedious. You'd probably also need to group them and apply a master parameter to avoid having to adjust strength on each individual light. Doesn't mean it can't be done. My preference would be for morphable area lights.
Personally I think area lights are inadequate for street lighting (although depends on the fitting). Area lights do not send light sideways, most street lights do. You get entirely the wrong side scatter from area lights in that situation.

• I meant "burdensome" in the sense of resource-heavy for the preview renderer to display the scene, and for the final renderer (Firefly or Superfly) to account for umpteen Poser lights.

What streetlight is that? It looks Stonemason-ny (a new adjective there!)

• @seachnasaigh Yes, it's definitely very Stonemasony because you're right -- it's a Stonemason piece. It's from his Urban Future set.

• I have both the Urban Future set (aka "UrbanSciFi") and the Urban Future II sets, but I don't see that streetlight. Is that streetlight maybe a separate prop from an add-on set? If it's extracted from either of those main sets, could you post a screengrab showing where it is within the set?

Who uses Stonemason's sci-fi sets? I've made Superfly adaptations of some of The Arc, Urban Future II, and Level 19 (including the add-on elevator and add-on bay doors). The Arc and Urban Future II throw multiple unreadable node connection errors in the message log. Level 19 doesn't get flagged, but the glass is obsolete and the lights don't cast light. The metal and concrete materials exceed conservation of light energy limits. It worked well for P5, but needed updated for P11 Firefly and for Superfly.

I still haven't adapted Urban Future (UrbanSciFi), Sector 15, DarkStar, Skyline Hall, Display Room, Dark Places Industrial, or the Generic SciFi Corridor construction set.
The Sky Traffic (handy for use with Dystopia) could use some headlights and taillights.

• @seachnasaigh You would be looking for his Urban Future 4 set. The streetlight is included as a prop, along with an aerial, a bollard and a couple of other greeblies.

• Oh. Didn't even know there was a 3 and 4. I don't keep up with things.

• Oh. Didn't even know there was a 3 and 4. I don't keep up with things.

Stonemason does pump out a lot of products, doesn't he? I love his stuff, and I've bought an awful lot of it, but I can't keep up either!