Standard lighting schemes

Has anyone ever come across lighting schemes for threejs (or just 3d applications in general I guess)?

I appriciate most of the time you will tailer your lights to the specific objects and materials, but im looking to create common set ups of lights (colours, types etc) that give the scene a different feel (warm, cold, soft,etc) and can be used as a starting point.

I am currently messing around making my own 3 point lighting scheme but its all trail and error for me, I was wondering if any one has any suggestions?


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I asked a similar question on Twitter recently: … most feedback was to use IBL. :slight_smile:

I thought i may have been asking a really daft question, so im glad im no the only one. Did you get anywhere with it?

I shall have a look into IBL, all new stuff to me and very interesting. I guess I could have a range of “studio” images/environments.

excuse my ignorance but does this get rid of the need for the usual lights?

I’m not an expert but I’ve landed on a combination of normal lights and an environment map. You can see the result on

I think it depends a lot on the scene and the mood you are trying to create. If you want to illuminate everything in the scene - I think a directional (sun) light is a good choice, and to avoid completely black areas you typically would add some ambient (flat) light. When it comes to more advanced lighting engines - ambient diffuse lighting can make your scene look a lot more plausible and softly lit.

Color temperature is an important aspect for the mood. Same scene can look warm and inviting or cold and clinical and cold based on the temperature of the light.

Personally, I value shadows a lot more than the light and pay more attention to them. For example, a simple AO post processing pass can make your scene look a lot more readable and pleasing to the eye, with no effect on what most would call “light” setup in engine sense.

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@donmccurdy is there a reason for adding the ambient light to the camera?

Heh no, that’s a mistake. :sweat_smile:

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@donmccurdy, that looks good, I especially like your radial gradient background, was that done using this?

One thing though, it doesnt seem as though the environment has any impact on lighting of the model ?

also @donmccurdy, I started another questoni here, i dont suppose you have any thoughts on that? It maybe worth you taking a look at sketch fab as they seem to have options for the lighting nailed

the environment does affect lighting, especially with an HDR texture (see settings dropdown) you can turn all other lighting off and still see something pretty nice:


I mostly just used env maps from the three.js source, haven’t spent too much time polishing there.