Tip #1483: Quick Lighting Trick

… for Apple Motion

Tip #1483: Quick Lighting Trick

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

A 3D Object (Lounge Chair) lit with a single Point light in the top left corner.

Topic $TipTopic

Here’s a quick lighting trick to add visual interest to 3D text or 3D objects: Add a light.

The default light is “Ambient.” This means equal light from all directions. It makes everything visible, but there’s very limited modeling.

Instead, add a 3D element (object or text):

  • Select the object and turn off Environmental Lighting in the Inspector. (Don’t panic if everything goes black.!)
  • Choose Object > New Light (an alternative is to use Object > New Light Group).
  • Select the light element in the Layers panel.
  • In Inspector > Light, change the Light Type to either Point (used in the screen shot) or Directional. Then change either the position (Point) or rotation (Directional) for the light.
  • Keep moving the light until you get a more interesting visual look.


Adding lights does not also require adding a camera. Point lights can only be moved, while Directional lights can only be rotated.

You can also use lights for 2D elements, like video, but it won’t be as effective.

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