The Importance of Sunlight and your Objects

The sun’s position can affect the amount of detail and quality, or lack thereof, in a creation or location. The most common sun positions available in a virtual world are Sunrise, Midday, Sunset, and Midnight with each having a different influence on the environment. Both sunrise and sunset increases the amount of orange coloring in the area, midday can result in a possible over saturation and washing out details therefore making things look very dull, and finally midnight has the opposite issue as midday in that without lighting everything is underexposed.

Sunrise is defined as when the top edge of the sun is just starting to rise above the horizon while sunset is when the bottom of the sun has just lowered itself below the horizon. The sky and many objects will usually have an orange tint to them as they transition from bland during midday to sunset or transition from an orange hue at sunrise to potentially appearing dull in the midday. These transition periods are sometimes referred to as the golden hour and typically are the best times of day for outdoor photography. Alternatively, if the object is between the sun and the photographer the result is usually a silhouette of the object with only the edges containing any details with the center of the object mostly black.

It is important for creators to observe their object at the four different times of day to ensure that the final representation is what is desired. Double-checking all faces of the object to ensure those that should be full-bright are full-bright and those that shouldn’t be full-bright aren’t. Also, visitors/customers have varying computer capabilities where some may be upper-end are able to see bumps on a texture and shadows while others at the opposite end cannot see either of these and may also have local lights disabled. Before exposing or offering a creation to the public the creator should slide the graphics preferences in their own viewer to high as well as to low to ensure quality is satisfactory.