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Fancy Bullets


  • This lesson will take you through creating an IES light in V-Ray for Maya
  • The information centers around the use of the VRayLightIES
  • This lesson topic is approximately 20 minutes in length
  • Lesson covers all 3 Learning Cycles for the Lesson Topic – Lecture, Demonstration, and Activity.
  • Learning Outcomes: You will be able to light a scene with a VRayLightIES and understand how to adjust the settings to create the look you want in your renders


Available Materials
Additional Resources





Goal – Create & adjust the VrayLightIES. Develop the look for our miniature house set, to create something that has a cinematic feel

Objective – We will light a scene with the VrayLight and understand how to use IES light profiles in a scene                        

Outcome – You will be able to adjust the VRay IES Light to create different light looks in your renders





Available materials

To set up the lesson follow the links below and download all available materials.

Lesson plan download
Presentation (Lecture) download
Demonstration tutorial download
Scenes & Assets download


1. Terminology

Lighting is important to our lives and our 3D scenes. Without it we can’t see anything!

  • IES Profile
    • Illuminating Engineering Society’s standard file format for photometric data
    • Allows for V-Ray lights to look like specific lights used in real world architectural situations
  • Soft Shadows
    • shadow edges that are blurry and look more natural (depending on the light source)
  • Light Shape
    • The pattern type used to project the light

2. Light!

a) Lighting in the real world

  • Controlling the direction of a light
  • Lighting is also about creating shadows
  • Larger lights will have softer (more diffused) shadows


b) Light Falloff

Real lights have Decay. Light falls off to the square of it’s distance – Inverse Square Law

  • An object at 2x the distance away from a light will receive 1/4x of the light it would at 1x distance
  • An object at 3x the distance away from a light will received 1/9x of the light it would at 1x the distance



c) Light Temperature

Use the temperature value to create the right mood for your scene



3. IES Light

a) Light Overview

  • IES File Name
  • Intensity is the overall strength of a light
  • Color vs. Temperature - Which mode to use depends on what results you want
  • Soft Shadows - Edges on shadows be hard and sharp, or soft and blurry
  • Light Shape - Shape information taken from IES profile or user-defined


b) Intensity, Color, Temperature

  • Mode: Color - the light’s color is directly specified by the Color value. When using photometric units, this color is normalized so that only the color hue is used.
  • Mode: Temperature - specifies the light color temperature in degrees Kelvin
    • Great for matching real world lights
  • Intensity Multiplier - defines the intensity of the light in terms of the units chosen in the Units parameter.


Color Mode: Color (with indigo Light Color)

Color Mode: Temperature (with Temp. of 3200)

c) IES File
  • The measurement of distribution of light (intensity) stored in ASCII format – a digital profile of a real world light
d) Filter Color
  • A color multiplier for the light to tint it as you need



e) Shadows
  • The light casts shadows in the scene


No Shadows

(hard) Shadows
f) Soft Shadows
  • sometimes the .ies file contains information about the physical shape and size of the bulb. When this option is on the light will cast shadows according to this information. Otherwise the light will cast shadows as if it was a Point Light.


Soft Shadows



a) Profiles

  • Photometric data that can be used in 3d scenes

b) Color Modes

  • Temperature vs. Color
  • Intensity (No Units)

c) Soft Shadows

  • Using available IES info to cast realistic shadows

d) Light Shape

  • Size adjustments



Time to see it work! 

Watch while I demonstrate how to create and adjust an IES Light in our miniature house scene.




Time to do it yourself!

Now it’s your turn!! Use the provided scene file to recreate the cinematic look as you have seen me demonstrate
We have also provided a final scene for your reference.


Used values:

a) Key light in desk lamp
  • Example_IES_A IES File
  • Temperature - 4800
  • Filter color - 0.075
  • Intensity - 0.025
  • Light Shape From IES file



b) Back light in Wall lamp
  • Example_IES_B IES File
  • Temperature - 3200
  • Filter color - 0.16
  • Intensity - 0.3
  • Soft Shadows
  • Circular Light Shape
  • Diameter - 3.0



Additional resources

Find more training resources listed below: