Getting the essence of lighting is far more important in the beginning than understand-
ing the nuances of all the attributes of a light. At first, limit yourself to Spots and Direc-
tionals with the occasional Ambient use.
Light Linking
You can control which lights illuminate which objects by using Maya’s
light linking. Inevitably, a time will come when you want to create a spe-
cial light for a part of your scene but not for all of it. You will need to
create a special relationship, a connection from a special light or lights
to specific objects and not the others.
By default, lights created in your scene illuminate all objects in the
scene. The easiest way to create an exclusive lighting relationship is first
to create a light and turn off Illuminates By Default in the light’s
Attribute Editor. This ensures that this light will not cast light on any
object unless made specifically to do so through light linking.
To assign your new light to the object(s) you want to exclusively
illuminate, choose Window
Relationship Editors
Light Linking
Light-Centric. This will open the Relationship Editor and set it for light
linking. Light-Centric means the lights will be featured in the left side of
the panel as shown here and the objects in your scene will be lit on the
As you can see in Figure 10.20, the still life is lit evenly, and adding a
new light with Illuminate By Default disabled will not increase the light
level in the scene.
Now select the light you want to link—in this case, the directional-
Light2 we just created—and the objects in the scene you’d like to link
to—in this case, the apple and the pepper, as shown here. Notice that
no other objects in the right side of the Relationship Editor are selected;
this means they will receive no illumination from this light source.
When you render your scene, the objects you linked will be lit by the
new light. In this case, the apple and the pepper are brighter than the
other fruit in the still life. (See Figure 10.21.)
When you are in lighted mode (when you press 7 in the Shaded
panel), however, keep in mind that linked lights are not taken into
account in the View panel displays. The linking comes through in the
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