Light and Shadow
In real life, objects have shadows and can be lit up from the sun – or from within! You can add a layer of depth to your objects by using shadows and light in amazing ways.
You have already learned how to tint faces of prims to show shadows and light. The inside of a cut prim might be tinted darker. The top face of a step might be lighter. Although there are some sophisticated ways to add shadows and light, you can easily add a basic shadow, make it bright like it’s emitting light, or even make something glow.
Step 1. Add a basic shadow
To add a basic shadow, you can make a prim the same shape as your object, flatten it, tint it and position it under your object.
For this example, rez a sphere, give it a texture, and move it up in the air a bit so it isn’t touching the ground.
Now duplicate the sphere by holding down the shift key and dragging down on the Z axis (blue arrow) so that you have a new sphere below the first.
Edit the bottom sphere, and hold down the CTRL+SHIFT keys to “squish” the prim by dragging down on the X axis (red) handle to flatten the sphere.
Now, change the color or tint of the bottom, squished sphere to make it black or a very dark grey. Then set the transparency to 80%.
Finally, position the top sphere just on top of the bottom squished sphere. It looks like the top sphere is casting a shadow!
Adding shadows to items can dramatically increase the level of realism in your builds and scenes!
Step 2. Adding Full Bright
More sophisticated lighting features are covered in the building modules; however, you can make a prim light up using the Full Bright feature in the Texture tab. This is especially useful if you have an object you want people to see no matter what time of day or night they view it.
Duplicate the sphere and shadow we created above (hold down the SHIFT key, select both prims, then drag along the X axis (red arrow) . Now, select the second prim and check the Full Bright feature in the Texture tab. That’s all there is to it!
Use Full Bright cautiously! Novice builders often make the mistake of overusing the Full Bright setting, which can make night scenes look garish and oversaturated. Full Bright is best used on signs, light sources, video screens, and other objects that might naturally emit light.
Make sure to always view your builds in both daytime and nighttime settings so you can see the difference. A realistic night scene has dark shadows, so be careful about drowning the shadows out with Full Bright!
How can your creations benefit from shadows or Full Bright? Take a minute to add those features now.
Step 3. Playing with Glow
In addition to making the object Full Bright, you can even add a glow to your object to further enhance the lighting effect.
Rez two prims, make the textures blank, and color them orange. Leave the Full Bright feature UNCHECKED. Now increase the Glow parameter to .10 on the prim on the right. Can you see the difference?
Now add .10 glow to the object on the left, and drag the prims so they are slightly overlapping each other. The glow gets much more intense where the objects intersect!
Glow can be especially fun to play with on prims that are semi-transparent, too! In the example below, two colored prims sit behind the two glowing panels. The glow panel on the right has a higher level of glow applied, and the panel on the right has a higher level of transparency applied
<img – caption “Front view:”>
<img – caption “Overhead view:”>
Use Glow cautiously! Another mistake novice builders often make is overusing the Glow setting, which, like Full Bright, can make both daytime and night scenes look garish and oversaturated. Glow can even ruin the view of other parts of your build! You can do very interesting things with glow, particularly by layering different prims using combinations of transparency and glow, to make neat and fantastic builds, but again like Full Bright, Glow is best used cautiously or on signs, light sources, video screens, and other objects that might naturally emit light. Make sure to always view your builds in both daytime and nighttime settings so you can see the difference.
If you are using the PRIMLAND Tutorial game, stop here and continue on the path!