Beginner Tutorial

Dynamic Lighting Basics

15 minutes

Posted on: November 6, 2017

Learn Sumerian
Dynamic Lighting Basics



In this tutorial you will learn about:

Different types of light
adjusting light

We’ve already covered some basics about lights in Amazon Sumerian. This tutorial describes the basics of lights within a scene, and how to add multiple lights and experiment with their settings.

You’ll learn about:

  • Different types of light
  • Adjusting light settings
  • Shadows


Before you begin, you should have completed the following tasks and tutorials:

Step 1: Add Entities to Reflect Light

Light cannot be seen without entities or objects to reflect it. In this step, we add a light, a box, and a sphere.

  1. From the Dashboard, create a new Empty Scene. This scene will only come with a Camera.
  2. Once you’re inside the scene, choose Create Entity.
  3. Select the Box entity under the 3D Primitives category. You should see a very dark, unlit Box.

  4. Add some color by choosing Material in the Inspector panel.
  5. Choose Color (Diffuse).
  6. Open the color picker and select a color other than grey. We’ll use a light shade of blue.

  7. Choose the Transform component.
  8. Change the Z Translation value to -1.7.

  9. Choose Create Entity.
  10. Select the Sphere entity under the 3D Primitives category.
  11. Repeat steps 4-7, but choose a different color. We’ll use yellow.
  12. Change the Z Translation value to 1.7.

  13. Create a light for the scene. Choose Create Entity from the top menu.
  14. Select Directional under the Lights category.

We now have a scene with a Box, a Sphere, and a Light positioned in the center of our scene. The Light is shining sideways.

Step 2: Understand Different Light Types

Every new scene in Sumerian starts with a camera but not a Light entity. A Light entity can be one of three different types: Directional, Spot, or Point. A Light entity in Sumerian doesn’t require a mesh or geometry as a source. This means the source of the light is not visible in play mode, unless you assign a mesh to it. To understand lights, we need to create a scene and add a few entities.

Directional Light

A Directional Light is a source of light that projects light rays in parallel from a set direction. You could think of it as a source of light infinitely far away, directing light rays without decreasing intensity toward the entire scene. The way a Directional Light entity projects light is similar to how the sun sheds light on the Earth.

  1. Choose the Light entity in the Entities panel to bring up its Inspector Panel on the right.
  2. Expand the Light component to display its light properties.

    You can see the Directional Light floating in your scene. However, the location, or Translation, of a Directional Light doesn’t affect our scene (it does affect shadows, which we discuss later in this tutorial). This is because Directional Lights emit light from an infinitely distant source, like the sun. However, while changing the Translation of a Directional Light does not have an effect, changing the X and Y Rotation values will change the angle of the light.

    Note: Just like the sun creates a different ambiance throughout the day, you can use these properties to create a feeling of dusk, afternoon, or dawn.

  3. Experiment with the the X and Y Rotation, either using the gizmos or the Transform component in the Inspector panel.

  4. Experiment with the Directional Light settings:
  • Color: Defines the color of the light projected in a scene.
  • Intensity: Defines the brightness of a light.
  • Specular: Defines the brightness of the light reflected on an object.