(TS3.2) Is it possible to make ligths visible ?

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(TS3.2) Is it possible to make ligths visible ? // TS6 and Older

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Post by Jalm // Jan 5, 2009, 10:33am

Total Posts: 21
I'd like to know if it's possible to make lights visible, or at least the light rays, for example to show the light rays from a lighthouse.



Post by TomG // Jan 5, 2009, 11:06am

Total Posts: 3397
Lots of ways to do this. You can use volumetrics (I can't recall if tS3.2 has those, I have a feeling it doesn't and that they showed up in tS4, but I could be wrong). Volumetrics calculate how light disperses through an atmosphere, making light beams etc visible as a result, but requiring significant calculations to achieve, making for slow renders.

Alternatively, you can fake it - volumetrics are slow to render, but faking it is fast. Simply use cones and paint them with transparency - usual method would be to have an alpha mask that varies along the length of the cone, getting more transparent the further along the cone you go (a gradient stored in a JPG would do). The next step would be to have multiple cones, nested inside each other, to give make it brighter at the center and more faded to the outside. Making each cone shorter would probably be good too.

You'd use Ambient / Luminosity on the shader, so that it shows up whether or not it has light falling on it. This is a fast and often effective ways of doing glows, lightbeams, laser bolts, etc. This is how real-time engines, eg in games etc, often make such effects as volumetrics can't be used there.


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