Lighting in RenderMan is flexible but also very straightforward for users.

RenderMan includes a set of basic geometric lights, built-in. These specialized shapes - DomeLight, DistantLight, RectLight, and SphereLight (particularly the latter two) - can provide superior sampling behavior, compared with arbitrary geometry (i.e. standard geometric primitives with a light Bxdf attached). There's also a PortalLight to improve lighting interior scenes lit indirectly through openings like windows and skylights as well as a Daylight simulation.

Light Filters can also be used to modify and direct the lighting with even more control and artistic options. You can find real-world possibilities like Gobos and Cookies as well as advanced ways to link and control results like object specific intensities from a single light.

Note that due to these optimizations, the spherelight requires that all scale transforms be uniform, e. g. X,Y, and Z scale must all be the same so as not to skew the sphere shape into an ellipse or other form.

Note there are three main ways to light a scene:


Analytic Light Types

Geometric Light Types