Lights are used, as you would expect, to affect how meshes are seen, in terms of both illumination and colour. All meshes allow light to pass through them unless shadow generation is activated. The default number of lights allowed is four but this can be increased.


A pretty sphere with multiple lights

Types of Lights

There are four types of lights that can be used with a range of lighting properties.

The Point Light

A point light is a light defined by an unique point in world space. The light is emitted in every direction from this point. A good example of a point light is a standard light bulb.

var light = new BABYLON.PointLight("pointLight", new BABYLON.Vector3(1, 10, 1), scene);

The Directional Light

A directional light is defined by a direction (what a surprise!). The light is emitted from everywhere in the specified direction, and has an infinite range. An example of a directional light is when a distance planet is lit by the apparently parallel lines of light from its sun. Light in a downward direction will light the top of an object.

var light = new BABYLON.DirectionalLight("DirectionalLight", new BABYLON.Vector3(0, -1, 0), scene);

The Spot Light

A spot light is defined by a position, a direction, an angle, and an exponent. These values define a cone of light starting from the position, emitting toward the direction.

The angle, in radians, defines the size (field of illumination) of the spotlight's conical beam , and the exponent defines the speed of the decay of the light with distance (reach).


A simple drawing a spot light

var light = new BABYLON.SpotLight("spotLight", new BABYLON.Vector3(0, 30, -10), new BABYLON.Vector3(0, -1, 0), Math.PI / 3, 2, scene);

The Hemispheric Light

A hemispheric light is an easy way to simulate an ambient environment light. A hemispheric light is defined by a direction, usually 'up' towards the sky. However it is by setting the color properties that the full effect is achieved.

var light = new BABYLON.HemisphericLight("HemiLight", new BABYLON.Vector3(0, 1, 0), scene);

Color Properties

There are three properties of lights that affect color. Two of these diffuse and specular apply to all four types of light, the third, groundColor, only applies to an Hemispheric Light.

  1. Diffuse gives the basic color to an object;
  2. Specular produces a highlight color on an object.

In these playgrounds see how the specular color (green) is combined with the diffuse color (red) to produce a yellow highlight.

Playground example of a point light -

Playground example of a directional light -

Playground example of a spot light -

Playground example of a hemispheric light -

For a hemispheric light the groundColor is the light in the opposite direction to the one specified during creation. You can think of the diffuse and specular light as coming from the centre of the object in the given direction and the groundColor light in the opposite direction.

Playground example of a hemispheric light on two spheres -

White hemispheric light with a black groundColor is a useful lighting method.

White/black hemispheric light - upward pixels white (diffuse), downward pixels black (groundColor)

Interacting Lights

Playground example of interacting spot lights -

Playground animation of interacting point lights

On, Off or Dimmer

Every light can be switched off using


and switched on with


Want to dim or brighten the light? Then set the intensity property (default values is 1)

light0.intensity = 0.5;
light1.intensity = 2.4;

For point and spot lights you can set how far the light reaches using the range property

light.range = 100;

Choosing Meshes to Light

when a light is created all current meshes will be lit by it. There are two ways to exclude some meshes from being lit. A mesh can be added to the excludedMeshes array or add the ones not to be excluded to the includedOnlyMeshes array. The number of meshes to be excluded can be one factor in deciding which method to use. In the following example two meshes are to be excluded from light0 and twenty three from light1. Commenting out lines 26 and 27 in turn will show the individual effect.

Playground Example Excluding Lights -