The Different Lights In Unity

Today I will cover the different lights available in Unity for lighting your scenes.

Today’s Objective: Show the 4 different types of lights that are available in Unity (not including emissive materials, because that’s a whole other thing).

Point Light:

This type of light object emits light in all directions from a single point in space within the scene. It has modifiable settings for color, intensity, range and many other parameters.

A point light may be a suitable choice for a lantern, candle, or exposed globe.

Spot Light:

The spot light is another light that emits from a single point in space. However this one emits in a single main direction (with settings for light falloff and shape strength).

A spot light might be a good choice for a stage spotlight, enclosed lamp, or headlights.

Directional Light:

The Directional Light is another useful light type. Unlike the previous two, the Directional Light does not care about its position in space, and only cares about its rotation.

One way to think of this light’s behaviour is that, while only using a single directional light in your scene, all light in the scene only travels in the direction the Directional Light is facing. This means that shadows can appear on surfaces facing outwards in the same direction of the light. But objects will cast no shadows onto other objects, since the light is not emitted from a point in space, but rather every point at once, in a specific direction.

This sort of light is a good choice for things like the sun.

Area Light:

The Area Light is a bit different from the others in that it is a “Baked Only” light. This means that it cannot cast realtime lighting, and you must “Generate” your lighting data through “Window/Rendering/Lighting/Generate Lighting” to see its effects. Being a baked light means that is also cannot move during gameplay, unlike the others.

The Area Light is a square/rectangle shape by default, but can also be a circle, but is always 2D. The light from an Area Light shines in one direction, in the shape of the light, but falloff and indirect lighting is enabled.

An Area Light may be a good choice for a window (seen from inside), or a large area-covering light.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Vincent Taylor

Vincent Taylor

Unity game developer / C# Programmer / Gamer. Australian (Tasmanian) indie games developer for 10+ years. Currently looking for games industry employment.