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An environment light that uses a simple physical model for terrestrial daylight under clear or hazy skies. The sky model is based on A Practical Analytic Model for Daylight by A.J. Preetham, Peter Shirley, and Brian Smits. The solar disk model is adapted from H.C. Hottel's A Simple Model for Estimating the Transmittance of Direct Solar Radiation Through Clear Atmospheres, with parameters curve fitted for turbidity from physical data and a simple limb darkening model.


Daylight simulations are useful when you want a quick and easy setup for exterior lighting or maybe some look development time but you don't have an HDRI for the PxrDomeLight available. The simplicity and realism make this light a favorite for artists.


You will see mention of "non-physical" controls. These controls are designed to help artists make art-directed imagery by ignoring certain laws of physics we usually simulate.





Scales the contribution of this light linearly. Below we have 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 at sunset.


Specifies the exposure of the area light as a power of 2. Increasing the exposure by 1 will double the energy emitted by the light source. A value of 0 produces an intensity of 1 at the source, -1 produces 0.5. Below we illustrate -1, 0.0, and 1.0. You may wonder why you might use Exposure, and the answer is that real world lighting has high energies and typical exposures are low values while you may have to type a really large number for equivalent Intensity. This is also comfortable to artists familiar with photographic measurements.



The apparent direction towards the center of the sun. The zenith is at +Z (for noon light) and the horizon is in the XY plane (for sunrise/sunset). Note that the Z component must non-negative. Ignored if a month is given. In some DCC applications, like Maya for example, you can manually alter the Sun direction using a manipulator in the viewport (press 't' with the Daylight icon selected in the viewport.)



The turbidity of the sky. The lower limit of the model is 1.7 for an exceptionally clear sky, and 10, for an inversion, is the upper limit. Below we show 1.7, 5.0 and finally 10.



Sky Tint

Tweak the sky's contribution and color. The default, white, gives results based on measured physical values. You may be able to create some interesting alien skies this way. Setting this to black removes the sky contribution shown in the last image.



Sun Tint

Tweak the sun's contribution and color. The default, white, gives results based on measured physical values. Setting this to black removes the sun contribution like the last image (in case you want to create your own).



Sun Size

Scale the apparent size of the sun in the sky. Leave at 1 for a realistic sun size with an 0.55 degree angular diameter. Below we simulate default 1.0, 0.1 and 80.0. At 0.1 you'll barely notice that the sun's contribution has decreased. Notice that at 80.0 we have a very large sun in the sky that casts softer shadows since the light size has increased diameter.




Month of the year, 1 through 12. The default, use direction, means to use the explicitly given sun direction instead of automatically computing it.



Day of the month, 1 through 31.



Four digit year.



Hours since midnight, local standard time. May be fractional to include minutes and seconds. If daylight saving time is in effect, subtract 1 to correct to standard time.



Standard time zone offset from GMT/UTC in hours. Positive for east, negative for west. For example, this would be -8 for Pacific time.



Latitude in degrees. Positive for north, negative for south. Ranges from -90 to +90 degrees.



Longitude in degrees. Positive for east, negative for west. Ranges from -180 to 180 degrees.





Specular Amount

Amount of specular light that is emitted. This is a non-physical control.



Diffuse Amount

Amount of diffuse light that is emitted. This is a non-physical control.




All shadow parameters will be ignored if the light's Trace Light Paths is enabled in Advanced. The below options are all non-physical controls when used out of their default state. If Trace Light Paths is enabled then their physical nature is enforced.


Enable Shadows

Enable raytraced shadows.


Shadow Color

The color of the shadows cast by emitted light. This is a non-physical control.

.0 0.0 0.0

Shadow Distance

The maximum distance of the shadow starting from the position of the point being shaded. -1.0 is unset which will use the distance between the point being shaded and the point on the light.


Shadow Falloff

The distance from the light at which shadow falloff begins. -1.0 turns off shadow falloff.


Shadow Falloff Gamma

The gamma of the shadow strength in the falloff zone.


Trace Subset

Set of geometry to consider for traced shadow intersection. If this is not specified, all geometry are considered for traced shadow intersection.


Don't Trace Subset

Set of geometry to ignore for traced shadow intersection. If this is not specified, no geometry is ignored for traced shadow intersection.





Trace Light Paths

Enable light and photon tracing from this light.


Thin Shadow

Enable thin shadow (fake colored shadows for transparent objects) and disable refraction caustics for this light. This parameter will be ignored if Trace Light Paths is enabled.


Light Samples

Specifies an override of the number of light samples to be taken for this light source. If set to something other than zero, it will override the sampling performed by the integrator. You might find need for this if you have unsolvable noise from this light and need mroe samples.


Light Group

Specify the light group name used for light group LPEs. This is useful to generate per-light AOVs for later adjustment in compositing.




RenderMan for Maya includes useful presets for specific times of day.