Let’s face it, in the film and video world, lighting often gets the short end of the stick. There’s so much fanfare surrounding new cameras, and their latest insane pixel counts that you’d think these cameras light scenes themselves. There are also tons of discussions these days about how AI is changing the industry, and other new techs are reducing the need for actual videography.

All that to say, it’s kind of refreshing to share with the rest of y’all about a new tech product that centers around lighting and isn’t aiming to replace any jobs or careers. Instead, it’s meant to help teach lighting to a new generation of filmmakers, and it does so without needing to leave your desktop.

Let’s talk about set.a.light 3D, a cool light simulation software that can help you learn everything you need to know about lighting, as well as provide some surprisingly complex lessons where you can manipulate light in simulated rooms and settings all from your computer.

Introducing set.a.light 3D

As you can see in our reference video above from John Gress, who honestly does a great job of taking you through this app sincerely and point-by-point, this software can be a huge game changer for anyone looking to learn to light but simply might not have access to a film school or studio setup to experiment IRL.

As Gress explains, too, he’s personally found set.a.light to help work through complex lighting problems, generate mood boards for various projects, and simply create behind-the-scenes images which he can workshop or share with the rest of the production team.

However, for many, this software will be a tool for those starting off on their film and video journeys and are interested in learning how lighting works and the myriad of lessons that teach everything about spill, luminosity, direction, and all of the other core tenets of lighting for film and video.

Set_a_light_softwareThere's actually a lot more than just learning you can do with set.a.light as wellCredit: elixxier

How it Works (and What Can You Learn)

So, a quick disclaimer to share as well, but for this video featured by Gress (and for many using this software in the wild), it might be more appropriate or associated with photography rather than video. Still, that being said, there’s so much you can learn about lighting for video, which we’d recommend exploring if you’re interested.

At its core, set.a.light 3D (which is now on its 2.5 version) is an excellent tool for modeling your home studio or set, then adding in and demoing any number of lights and/or other pieces of gear. For example, as we see in the video above, set.a.light can teach you a great deal about trying out these different lighting options, including:

  • Different lighting options

  • Prop options

  • Adding the background

  • Adding the softbox 

  • Adding the camera 

  • Manipulating the light

  • Changing the model's appearance and clothing

  • Posing options

  • Altering the model's appearance

  • Adjusting the lighting and pose to eliminate reflections in glasses  

From there, you can, at the very least, learn some basic principles of how these different light options can look and work on set and how you might want to adjust them and set your lighting setups when in the wild yourself one day. We are huge proponents of learning the fundamentals no matter how good the tools are.

Getting Started with set.a.light 3D

Designed as a 3D lighting software to allow creatives to express themselves faster and help bring their ideas to life without guessing on set, set.a.light 3D is as good of an option as any to explore lighting from your computer. It is, sadly, however, not a free product. To get started, you’ll need to purchase either the basic or studio option—which you can learn more about here.

Set_a_light_pricingThe different pricing options for set.a.light 3DCredit: elixxier

Other than that though, if you’re interested in learning lighting from your computer and you plan to use this software for modeling and pre-shoot planning later, it’s certainly worth a trial and can help you on your filmmaking journey.

How do you feel about this set.a.light 3D software? Any interested in learning to light from your computer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.