Lighting

The light tools are available in 3D Settings.

  1. From your model, go to Settings → 3D Settings or add "/edit" to the end of any model URL.
  2. Select the Lighting panel in the top left.

Only the model's author can access 3D Settings. Edits you make will not change your original file, they will only affect viewing on Sketchfab.

Sketchfab 3d model settings material editor

Sketchfab 3d model settings

Sketchfab 3d model light settings

Lights are a very important part of rendering a scene. They define object visibility, color, and set the mood. Sketchfab supports 2 kinds of lighting:

To edit lights, go to 3D Settings and select the Lighting tab. Lights will only have an effect when shading is set to Default (see Scene settings).

For 3D scans and models with baked lighting, we recommend you to set Shading to Shadeless and not use lights.

Real-time Dynamic Lights

Real-time dynamic lights simulate different kinds of lights sources. They let you precisely control how your model is lit.

Lighting Presets

The easiest way to have a good lighting is to choose among the available presets. There are currently 6 presets that cover different kinds of moods and styles.

Click Load Lighting Preset and select one of the available presets.

Sketchfab 3D settings editor lights

Sketchfab 3d model lighting presets

Manual Setup

There can be up to 3 lights per scene, which is usually enough for sophisticated lighting setups such as the classic 3-point lighting.

The light list shows you the type of light for each slot and lets you turn them on or off. Click a light slot to open its properties. Hover on a light slot and click Move to center to move the light to the center of scene and reset its direction.

Sketchfab 3D settings editor lights move to center

Choose None to remove the light completely.

Sketchfab 3D settings editor lights none

Directional

Sketchfab 3d model lighting settings directional

The directional light simulates the light emitted by the sun. 

  • The light is infinite.
  • Only the direction counts; changing the position of the light will not change the lighting.

Sketchfab 3D settings editor lights properties directional

You can adjust:

Point

Sketchfab 3d model lighting settings point

Point lights simulate small sources of lights, such as light bulbs.

  • It is positioned in space; its position affects the lighting
  • Light is emitted in all directions.
  • Light becomes less intense farther away from the source.

Sketchfab 3D settings editor lights properties point

You can adjust:

  • Position
  • Color
  • Intensity
  • Falloff (how far the light reaches)

Spot

Sketchfab 3d model lighting settings spot

The spot light is similar to a theater spot light or a desk lamp. It projects light as a circle.

  • It is positioned in space; its position and rotation affect the lighting.
  • Light becomes less intense farther away from the source.

Sketchfab 3D settings editor lights properties spot

You can adjust:

  • Position
  • Direction
  • Color
  • Intensity
  • Falloff (how far the light reaches)
  • Angle (how large is the circle)
  • Softness (how soft is the edge of the circle)
  • Shadows

Hemispheric (“Hemi”)

Sketchfab 3d model lighting settings hemi

Hemispheric light simulates the effect of an overcast sky with light bouncing on the ground. It is similar to the directional light.

  • The light is infinite.
  • Only the direction counts; changing the position of the light will not change the lighting.

Sketchfab 3D settings editor lights properties hemi

You can adjust:

  • "Sky" color and intensity
  • "Ground reflection" color and intensity
  • Direction
  • Attached to camera

Importing Lights

Sketchfab can import up to 3 lights from Blender and FBX files.

Attached to camera

Directional and Hemispheric lights can be attached to the camera, making the lighting consistent whatever the point of view. For example, if the light is set to come from the top right corner of the screen, it will always come from this corner when you move around the model. Backlights (or rim lights) usually work best when attached to the camera.

Shadows

Sketchfab 3d model lighting realtime shadows

Direction and Spot lights in the Lighting editor can be set to cast real-time shadows on your models.

Enable Cast shadows to activate this option and tweak the Shadows bias value to get the best result for your model: change it so you get the least amount of noise, while the shadows are still "connected" to your objects.

Sketchfab 3d model lighting realtime shadows

Due to their nature, real-time shadows may look different from rendered shadows. If you need high-resolution shadows, blurred shadows, etc., you should consider baking them.

iOS users: Shadows are not supported regardless of the hardware because Apple has artificially created a software limit.

iPhone iPad

Environmental Lighting

Environments offer a 360° panorama background for your models, and will affect lighting and reflections.

Classic Rendering

When using Classic mode, the environment is useful for ambient lighting and emulating reflections and mirrored surfaces.

PBR Rendering

Environmental lighting is very important in PBR mode. It creates realistic lighting and reflections.

Environment Settings

  • Choose an environment from the drop-down menu.
  • Import your own with the Import Environment HDR button.
  • Use the Orientation slider to rotate the environment itself around the scene's z-axis.
  • Use the Brightness slider to change the background's reflections and ambient light brightness.

Control the background's brightness and blur level, or turn it off completely, in Scene settings.

Our default environments are provided by HDRLabs thanks to Christian Bloch, as well as hdrmaps.com.

Sketchfab 3d model settings scene editor environmental lighting

Importing environments

Pro and Business accounts can import custom environments in 3D Settings.

  • We support .HDR and .EXR formats
  • The maximum file size is 50MB
  • The maximum resolution is 2048px × 1024px (Larger images will be downsized)
  • There is no limit to the number of environments you can import

Import a custom HDR environment for your Sketchfab 3d model

The process for creating your own HDR environment is explained in The HDRI Handbook 2.0.

Here are some websites that offer free environments:

Saving

Once you've made your adjustments, including position and orientation, be sure to update your model's thumbnail image and default position with Save View and/or save your changes with Save Settings. You can return to your model by clicking either the model's name or Exit.

Also see:

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Comments

  • Avatar
    DreadKnight

    This is really nice stuff! :-)

  • Avatar
    zinda

    Great job!!

  • Avatar
    cognition

    How do you load your own environments though?

  • Avatar
    gunnar

    I'm also wondering how to change the environment with my own panoramas. How do you do that? Is it possible?

  • Avatar
    James

    @cognition @gunnar - We just released this feature!