8 Replies Latest reply on May 2, 2016 6:49 AM by Rick Gerard

    How do I get the light tool to light up more than one object?



      I'm a graphic design student using After Effects for the very first time, and running into lots of trouble. I'm creating a sort of first person "video game," in which the "player" has to navigate through corridors using a flashlight. I managed to work out how to attach the light to the camera, and move them both around my set, but the light only highlights the back wall, and nothing else. As this is not how flashlights work in the real world, I'm getting very frustrated, because it looks awful. Also, I have a deadline to keep, so it's urgent I figure this out ASAP!!!


      I was searching through the forums and someone had a similar problem, but the answer proposed (to increase the light transmission on the walls etc.) did not make one iota of difference.


      Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 15.09.41.png

      This is what I mean, because I know I'm not describing it well. But, as you can see, the light just completely cuts off the floor, ceiling, and surrounding walls.


      If someone could please help me fix this, I would forever be in your debt!


      Thank you!

        • 1. Re: How do I get the light tool to light up more than one object?
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Your light is a spotlight beaming in directly from behind the camera. Naturally, directed light will only affect what intersects the light cone. Change it to a point light and/or add more lights, even more so since AE's simplistic shading ever only handles direct illumination. By all means do read the help. This is basic stuff.



          • 2. Re: How do I get the light tool to light up more than one object?
            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            First you should do a little research on AE's 3D space by typing 3D layers or even just 3D in the Search Help field at the top right corner of AE. There are lots of great community resources.


            I have no idea what's going on in your comp except that it was created using the standard PAL Widescreen Square Pixels Preset and It's two minutes long. I don't know what you are trying to do but it kind of looks like you are trying to use camera projection to project an image on some 3D solids so you can move a camera through your virtual room.


            It looks like you have a spotlight and the wall on the left is outside the beam. You've also set the layer to transmit light 100% which effectively turns it into a projector. If you are trying to use an image as a projector and project the image on 3D layers then you should be using a point light not a spot light.


            To better wee what's going on you could enable 2 views and look at the position of the light and the projector layer if you are using a layer to project an image on other layers.


            If you are not using the projector then select all of your layers you expect the light to illuminate and then press the U key twice to reveal all modified properties. If you are not trying to do a camera projection then you should reset Light Transmission. Start by resetting all of the layer properties, then get one wall to show up and match those settings to the other layers. You can do this by copy and paste if you drag a selection around the Material options on your working layer and then copy and paste to the other layers.


            If that doesn't solve your problem then let us know and provide details and a better screenshot. You could use the ~ key to make the timeline full screen and show us all of the modified properties of the layers that are having problems and you could show us multiple views so we can see how your layers are responding to the light in the scene.

            • 3. Re: How do I get the light tool to light up more than one object?
              Hugh_Jass Level 1

              Hey, thanks for responding!


              I changed the light to a point, and this is what happened:

              Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 17.33.08.png

              Which is not at all what I wanted it to do! Because I'm trying to get a flashlight effect, I think the spotlight is the type of light I need to use.

              Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 18.31.08.png

              This is one of my references, but you can see how the flashlight bends with the wall, and highlights both the wall and the floor, whereas mine just highlights the wall, and then the rest of the room where the light should "bend" with the angle of the ceiling meeting the wall is just stark black.


              I hope I've better explained my predicament.


              Thanks for trying to help, though

              • 4. Re: How do I get the light tool to light up more than one object?
                Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Change back to spot, expand the cone and feather. Show us at least 2 views if you still have problems.


                You'll also need to add some ambient light. Maybe about 20%.

                • 5. Re: How do I get the light tool to light up more than one object?
                  Hugh_Jass Level 1

                  I messed around with the angel size, because I realised after reading your message that the circle of light was actually far too big for a flashlight at that distance, and as the player walks closer to the wall, the light should get bigger. This eliminated most of my problems. And the ambient light was a nice touch, too, so thank you for that.


                  But the light still won't light up the floor or ceiling. I'm trying to get the light to trail down from the wall to the floor, to reveal a blood stain, but it's still just a flat black shape.

                  Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 16.38.28.png

                  These are my light settings:

                  Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 16.38.52.png

                  Hopefully we're getting closer to a solution!

                  • 6. Re: How do I get the light tool to light up more than one object?
                    Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    First check the Material Options for all 3D layers and make sure they match the layer that is working. You see them by pressing the a key twice. You can drag a selection around the properties on the layer that is working and copy them all and paste them to the layers that are not working.


                    Second, your Cone Angle needs to be wide enough and the Cone Feather soft enough to hit the other walls. Yours is very narrow. If you enable two views you can see if the cone angle hits the other layers.


                    Third, you have set keyframes for rotation, and position which don't do anything to change where the light is pointed. You need to animate the point of interest to point the light at something else.


                    Last point, a flashlight usually has a brighter spot on the middle. If you want that the easiest way to get it is to duplicate your flashlight and change the intensity, cone angle and feather of the copy.

                    • 7. Re: How do I get the light tool to light up more than one object?
                      Hugh_Jass Level 1

                      Hello again!


                      Okay, so I checked the Material Options for the floor, and after fiddling with them for a bit I found that putting diffuse up to 100% made it slightly more visible.


                      I tried looking at it from different views, but none of the other views are focusing on the hallway I'm in at the moment.


                      I also set keyframes for point of interest (probably did it wrong, though) and it made no difference.


                      This is what it looks like now:

                      Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 12.38.22.png

                      It's good enough that if I can't figure it out I'll just leave it as is. I'll be seeing my tutor tomorrow, so hopefully he'll know what to do!

                      • 8. Re: How do I get the light tool to light up more than one object?
                        Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Maybe this will help. In this scene the walls are just very pale yellow solids with grid applied to simulate bricks. I arranged the room using 2 views, Active Camera and Top so I could see what's going on in the scene. I added a camera and moved it back, to the right and down, I added a spot light and adjusted the cone angle, cone feather, intensity, position and point of interest so it was pointing left and slightly below center on the back wall. I reset all of the material options for the lights and walls then made some adjustments. To better simulate a flashlight beam I duplicated the spot light and increased the angle, adjusted the feather and intensity. I then parented the second spot to the first so that when I move the first spot light the second would follow. To simulate light from the beam bouncing off the walls I added a point light that was lined up on the center line of the point of interest and a little way from the wall. This light was adjusted and I used falloff to control the look. The point light is also parented to the first spot light so it would move when the spotlight is moved. Final adjustments to the material options of the walls completed the basic setup. Throughout this process I arranged my work area as shown in the screenshot so I could get a clear look at most of the things I would be adjusting. To  do the animation I'll reset the workplace so that I have access to the timeline and can see and adjust the keyframes. To show you what I modified so far I deselected all of the layers and pressed the U key twice to show all modified properties of all layers. Camera Position and the transform properties of all of the other layers are not important to setting up the lights so I collapsed those properties leaving only the properties that need adjustment. When you are having problems with a project and need help this kind of a screenshot is the most helpful. The screenshots you are showing are almost completely useless because we can't see what's going on in 3D space and we can't easily tell what's going on in the scene. This isn't perfect because of the limitations of AE's lighting algorithms. It is a lot harder to light a 3D scene in AE than it is in real life but I can tell you from experience that lighting a scene with a flashlight in real life is also tough.

                        Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 6.49.13 AM.png