User Guide (Version 1.16)

Cinematics Lighting

This topic references tools and features that are legacy. If you want to use legacy tools in Lumberyard Editor, disable the CryEntity Removal gem using the Project Configurator or the command line. To learn more about legacy features, see the Amazon Lumberyard Legacy Reference.

Creating lighting for cinematic scenes involves a different process than that used for creating environment lighting for a level.

Animating a Light

You can animate light entities in the Track View editor by creating a light animation set, which is a sequence that contains Light Animation nodes. A light entity then references these nodes with the Light Animation property in the Rollup Bar.

To create a new light animation set

  1. In the Track View editor, click Create Light Animation Set. You need to do this once per level.

  2. In the left pane, select _LightAnimationSet, click the Add Light Animation Node button, then name the node Pulse.

  3. Under DiffuseColor, add two keyframes as the animation.

  4. In the Rollup Bar, create a light entity by clicking Entity, Lights, then double-click Light.

  5. In the Entity Properties panel, under Style, select LightAnimation, then click the (...) icon to access the Select Light Animation dialog.

  6. Select the Pulse node and click OK.

Your light entity will play the animation in the LightAnimationSet\pulse node in a loop.

Cinematic Lighting Best Practices

The following represents recommended guidelines and best practices for cinematics lighting.

  • Enable lights for a shot, then disable them when the camera cuts.

  • Disable gameplay and cubemap lights as needed for shots to avoid interference.

  • For pre-rendered cinematic scenes, use the console variable e_timeofday to trigger the correct time of day.

  • For real-time cinematics, use a Track Event node to trigger the correct time of day.

  • For pre-rendered cinematic scenes, use ShadowsSetup to enable High Quality shadows mode.

  • For pre-rendered cinematic scenes, because performance isn't an issue, you should always enable shadow casting and use as many spotlights as needed. Projector textures should be used as much as possible for spotlights. The SpecularMultiplier value should always be 1.

  • Shadowmap quality from point lights is greatly improved when the ProjectorFOV value is as low as possible. To soften shadows, you can increase the ProjectorFOV value slightly, but this also decreases the accuracy of the shadowmap.

  • Don't use ambient lights as they can weaken contrast and illuminate unwanted areas. Instead, use cubemaps to make the deepest shadow as dark as possible, and then add lights to increase the overall illumination.

  • Lights should be turned on and off while in the Track View editor. If lights are off by default, they won't accidentally render in-game or interfere with a scene shot. When editing a light, keep the Active track flag enabled. Once done, disable the flag. Add keyframes on the Active track to ensure that the light is shown only when needed.