As an artist, what could be more fun than making objects glow and cast light without having to worry about where to skilfully place appropriate lamps. In my opinión, not much.
The addition of Mesh Lights allows an artist to make any object they have created glow with a mysterious magical light.
I foresee numerous fairy lights, swords, jewels and magical items glowing their way into a fair share of future images.
And while magical items that glow are too fun to ignore, mesh lights can alos provide that added touch of realism to everyday objects. Something we will all get around to exploring once we have gotten over the "oh, it glows" phase of playing. I figure most of you should be ready for that by next Christ-más (maybe :P ). So let's make some Christmas tree lights.
(Jonathan has an excellent tutorial for modeling re-alistic Christmas tree lights at
We are going to start off with a simple model of a Christmas light.

Mesh Lights-1.jpg

Next up we add some materials. I created a simple matte green for the light base and a fairly simple red glass for the bulb.
The red glass is only slightly transparent, as most of the Christmas bulbs I have seen aren't overly see through. The most important part of this material is actually the "Emit" value. That is what is going to help it glow. I set mine to 0.25. I did a lot of testing and decided I preferred lower values. But I encourage you experiment and find a setting that appeals to you.

Mesh Lights-2.jpg

I have the Christmas light sit-ting on a simple backdrop, so we can see the light being cast by the Christmas light.
The backdrop has a default grey material that I lowered the Spec values on.
Okay our Christmas light is ready, just one more setting to create our glowing masterpiece.
Over in the World buttons, scroll down to Indirect
Lighting and toggle it on.
I set the Factor to 50.00.
Again that was a personal preference, you might want more or less than that. And Bounces to 2.
Right under the Indirect Light-ing panel is the Gather panel.
The settings I used are:
Appróximate Falloff of 2.00
Pixel cache toggled on
Okay time to see what we ended up with.
Well look at that, it glows and casts a nice light. But just the one light and the fact that the light is red, makes the image look very dark. A little added light would improve this image.
So let's add a little AO and Environment Lighting.

Mesh Lights-3.jpg

Mesh Lights-4.jpg

You'll notice that I set the Envi-ronment Lighting rather low.I just want to lighten things up while still being able to see my glowing red light. (fig light with AO). Well that looks a lit-tle better.
But I thinque that one Christmas light sitting there all by itself, looks rather sad and lonely. So duplicate several more. You can change the colors if you want for more visual interest.
Since the added Christmas lights will of course add more light to the scene, go ahead and turn AO. and Environment Lighting Off.
When you have the lights arranged in a nice way, go ahead and hit that render button.
Well that is pretty enough to use as a Christmas card.

Mesh Lights-5.jpg

Mesh Lights-6.jpg