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An introduction to Blender's 'Light Paths'


Addicted to CG dives deeper into optimizing your render quality and performance. It complements Blender Guru's recent look at Light Portals.

Addicted to CG writes:

Hi everyone! In this video you will learn what blender light paths are. And mainly about light bounces, what are they used for, when and if you should use them and if they are worth the extra rendering time. Now in this quick introduction to blender's light paths video (I know pretty long title) you will basically see a quick PowerPoint and then proceed to where the settings are located and how to change them. The conclusion of this video of whether you should crank up the light bounces values or not is totally personal although it is based on different renders. So if you have a different opinion than mine be sure to share it with others in the comment section bellow!


    • Well I can't really find a video with someone talking about the same topic. That's why I made the tutorial I searched both on youtube and Blendernation and didn't find a video talking about light bounces in Blender.

      • Precisely what I was looking for! And very timely, since I needed this exact information on light paths, since I was using the glass shader more. Couldn't find hardly anything current on this. Thanks, Addicted!

  1. I often take into account metals, and have a minimal 5 or 7 light bounces depending on scene.
    Because its a minimal to get reflections good, also glass materials might need that.
    So i prefer to go low, then set rendering passes to like 9000, and then i use the cycles adaptive version to render.

    Its good for all people starting with cycles, i think over time everyone finds his preferences and once in a while is surprised why things suddenly dont work out.. so its a good reminder.

  2. isnt it technical wrong what you tell in the video? because cycles is a raytracing engine which means the rays start from the camera and not from the light.
    the number of bounces of in the settings tell then cycles how often this ray can bounce before it stops following this ray.
    the different settings (diffuse, glossy, transmission, volume) are for the different type of rays. if you set the glossy = 0 then you get no reflections, if you set the diffuse = 0 you get no GI/colorbleeding effects = Direct light only.

    • Technically it is actually but is it way more complicated to explain how the rays are being shoot from the camera and how they find their way out than just saying something like "Imagine a lamp hitting a wall. The higher your light bounce values are the more light will bounce of this wall and give you a more realistic result". But yes you are actually right. It is just easier to explain it that way.

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