Light Settings

Configure options for light source for 3D viewports.

The Light applied to every Viewport can be configured with a dialog. The dialog shows up when clicking on the light button of the main toolbar

The Light parameters control how objects are lit in the 3D viewports.

Parameter Function
Sun position source Switches between "Time and Month" and "Direct Solar Entry". For "Time and Month" to work, the Scene Coordinate System needs to be set correctly.
Time Time of Sun Position
Time Zone Time Zone of Sun Position
Month Month of Sun Position
Solar elevation angle Altitude of the sun, the angle between the horizon and the centre of the sun's disc
Solar azimuth angle Azimuth angle of the sun
Solar intensity Scene light intensity
Ambient intensity Scene light ambient intensity
Shadow attenuation Attenuation of shadows (blend to black)
Ambient occlusion attenuation Attenuation of screen space ambient occlusion (blend to black)
Shadow quality Switches between "Low", "Medium", "High", and "Interactive"
Radius mode Switches between "Manual" and "Interactive"
Ambient occlusion radius Radius in meters of screen space ambient occlusion samples
Ambient occlusion samples Number of screen space ambient occlusion samples, or "Interactive"


Interactive Modes

The "Interactive" modes are designed to deliver great visual quality without the need to manually adjust parameters.

When "Shadow quality" or "Ambient occlusion samples" are set to "Interactive", the best visual quality is used when the camera stands still, while the quality is reduced based on performance during camera moves.

When setting "Radius mode" to interactive, the ambient occlusion radius is automatically adjusted for best visual quality in the center region of the viewport. If you want to tweak this, set the mode to "Manual".


Ambient Occlusion

CityEngine's Ambient occlusion uses screen space ambient occlusion, a special real-time rendering technique that approximates ambient light occlusion. Ambient occlusion is a shading method used in 3D computer graphics which helps add realism by taking into account attenuation of light due to occlusion. Ambient occlusion attempts to approximate the way light radiates in real life and is especially well suited for outdoor scenes.


Left: Solid shading without ambient occlusion. Right: Ambient occlusion enabled.


Left: Low ambient occlusion radius. Right: High ambient occlusion radius.

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