Flash Photography Effect in MtoA

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  • Film & VFX
  • Games
  • Lighting
  • Lighting and Rendering
  • Arnold
  • Maya
Skill Level
  • Beginner
15 min

This short tutorial will show you how to emulate a flash photography effect used to enhance this shocking render of a zombie attack!


  • Create an Area light (set to Quad). Position and rotate it so that it sits in front of the render camera. Middle drag the Area light onto the camera in the outliner. This will group it to the camera, ensuring that when you move the camera, the light will follow. Increase the Exposure of the light to around 4.

Quad light positioned in front of camera


  • We can use Spread in the Quad light to focus the light more on the zombie's face. In this case it has been lowered to 0.2.

Low spread values can be noisier than the default high spread, so be careful when using them. The lower the value, the more light samples will be needed to avoid noise in the shadows.

An alternate method for controlling how the light falls off in a scene is to add a Light Decay filter to the light.

Atmosphere Volume

We can use Atmosphere Volume to add a creepy atmosphere to the scene.

  • Increase the Density attribute of the Atmosphere Volume slightly to around 0.005.

That concludes this tutorial on how to create a flash photography effect. Have pleasant dreams!

Many thanks to Snaptank for providing the 3D scan.

Posted By
  • Arnold
  • Maya
  • Lighting
  • Lighting and Rendering
1 Comment
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| 4 years ago
Its kind of upgraded version of photography effect, not explored this yet. After reading this post, bit curious to know more about it. Thank you.