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Creating Lights

RenderMan lights can be created from the RenderMan shelf.  Right-click on one of the buttons to reveal a list of types.  Environmental lights are grouped under a separate button.

RenderMan lights show aim or other manipulators when you hit the 't' key in Maya.

Analytic Light Types

For detailed information about parameters, follow the links for each light type.


This is the commonly used rectangle-shaped area light.


The disk is great for using as an area light or in combination with filters to make a spotlight.


The distant light is perfect for use as a sun or other distant source where light rays are nearly parallel and cover the whole scene.


For users that miss using a point light, this light can be useful to illuminate in all directions.


This is a utility light for outputing an AOV mask.


The dome light acts as the environment light for a scene, and is often mapped with a high dymanic range image (HDRI).


For difficult lighting situations, like indirectly lit interiors, this light along with the PxrDomeLight can be used to increase the quality and speed of your renders.

Portal lights need to be associated with a dome light.  First select a PxrDomeLight and then create a PxrPortalLight from the RenderMan shelf.

In the Attribute Editor for the PxrDomeLight, you'll see a list of connected portal lights.  Portals can be connected or disconnected through these controls as well.


This is a daylight simulation shader where you can supply any time and location on Earth or simply place your sunlight where you like it.

Hit the 't' key in Maya to reveal a manipulator that allows interactive positioning of the sun.