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Volumetric Lighting

With radiosity being such a cool thing, it’s hard to imagine that you can enhance the visuals of a scene even more. But you can further improve things by using volumetric lighting. This feature enables your light to have physical volume. Some examples of this are the huge search beams soaring into the sky at a movie premier or a searchlight in a storm. You also can use volumetric lights for stage-lighting a rock concert or even to create simple hazy atmospheres.

Volumetrics can have shadows, which is especially cool for realistic effects. For example, a spotlight behind a logo with volumetrics applied can have the beam of light broken where the geometry is—in effect, making the light “spill” out from behind the logo. Figure 9.9 shows a simple volumetric example with one spotlight.


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