Light Wrangler: Cursor-Targeted Lighting Add-On For Blender®

by Leonid Altman in Render Setups

Light Wrangler Add-on Installation and Configuration Guide

Installation Steps

  1. Download: Acquire the .zip file provided with your purchase. Do not extract the archive.
  2. Installation:
    • Open Blender.
    • Go to Edit > Preferences > Add-ons > Install.
    • Navigate to and select the downloaded .zip file.
  3. Activation:
    • Find the add-on in the list.
    • Check the box next to its name to activate the add-on.

Configuration Settings

Access the settings for Light Wrangler through Edit > Preferences > Add-ons, then find and select "Light Wrangler".

Initial Light Settings

  • Initial Light Distance: Defines the starting distance between the light and the object.
  • Initial Light Power: Sets the starting power level of the light.
  • Initial Light Temperature: Determines the initial color temperature of the light.
  • Initial Light Size: Establishes the starting size of the light source.
  • Initial Light Spread: Sets the initial spread angle of the light.
  • Initial Positioning Mode: Chooses between "Reflect" or "Direct" mode for initial light positioning.

Advanced Settings

  • Light Customization: Enables a panel for detailed light customization. Note: This feature is exclusive to the Cycles renderer.
  • Smart Light Adjustments: Activates automatic calculation of light power based on its size and distance to the object.
  • Show Viewport Hints: Toggles the display of textual hints in the viewport.
  • Hide Viewport Overlays: Toggle to enable or disable viewport overlays hiding.

Ground Level Settings

  • Smart Ground Detection: Prevents the light from being positioned below ground level by automatically detecting the ground under the light.
  • Use Manual Ground Level: Allows for the manual setting of a ground level, below which the light cannot be positioned.

Light Wrangler Add-on Usage Guide

Adding and Adjusting Lights

Adding a Light

  • Right-click and navigate to Light Operations > Add Light.
  • Use the F9 hotkey.
  • Access the Pie Menu with Ctrl+TAB and select Add Light.

Real-Time Adjustments

  • Power: Adjust with the Mouse Wheel.
  • Size: Use Shift + Mouse Wheel.
  • Proximity: Modify with Alt + Mouse Wheel to adjust the light's closeness to the object.
  • Spread: Alter with Ctrl + Mouse Wheel.

Toggle Light Positioning Modes

  • In the active light placement mode, press 1, 2, or 3 to select Reflect, Orbit, or Direct modes, respectively.
  • Alternatively, use the SPACE key to toggle through these modes.

Adjust Existing Lights

  • Select the light, right-click and choose Light Operations > Adjust Light.
  • Utilize the TAB hotkey or the Pie Menu (Ctrl+TAB).

Track to Target

  • Right-click Light Operations and select "Track to Target".
  • Choose to create a new empty for tracking or use an existing object. If multiple lights are selected, all will target the chosen point.

Light Visibility Controls

  • Hide Current Light: Press and hold the H key.
  • Isolate Current Light: Press and hold Shift + H to keep only the current light visible.

Light Temperature

Cycle through light temperatures with the T key, switching the light from warm, to neutral, to cool.

Pause Automatic Positioning

Temporarily disable automatic positioning by pressing P. Press P again to resume.

Light Customization (Cycles Renderer Exclusive)

Located in the light data tab, the light customization panel offers unique options for each light type:

  • Area Light: Choose from default, scrim, HDRI, or gobo.
  • Spot Light: Options include default and gobo.
  • Point Light: Select between default and IES profiles.

Special Customizations

  • Procedural Scrim: Transform an area light into a light scrim effect with adjustable feathering and tilt.
  • HDRI Textures: Apply HDRI textures like Octabox, Parabolic Reflector, Umbrella, Fresnel, LED panel, etc.
  • Gobos: Use gobos for dynamic shadows in your scene, with some options featuring animation.
  • IES Profiles for Point Lights: Accurately replicate real-world lighting patterns with IES light profiles.

Light Wrangler Changelog

v1.9.6 - 04/04/2024
  • Organize Light Feature Update: Reverted to beta status and disabled by default.
v1.9.3 - 03/20/2024
  • Critical 'Organize Lights' Bug Fix: Addressed a major usability issue from v1.9.2. Updating is mandatory for all v1.9.2 users.
v1.9.2 - 03/19/2024
  • Custom HDRI Textures: Introducing the ability to add personal HDRI texture folders for enhanced lighting customization.
  • Auto Light Visibility: Improved feature reintroduction - toggles light visibility with selection for streamlined workflow.
  • Organize Lights: Automates new light arrangement into a 'Lights' collection and renames based on light mode for project neatness.
  • Orbit Mode Enhancement: Mouse cursor now seamlessly teleports across the screen edges in Orbit mode, ensuring uninterrupted navigation.
  • Interactive Scrim Lights Preview: A new interactive preview in the customization panel for Scrim lights, enhancing user experience.
  • Bug Fixes: Addressed orthographic mode light positioning issues, fixed Orbit mode navigation problems, and eliminated multiple minor bugs for increased stability.
v1.8.5 - 02/25/2024
  • Logical HDRI Image Sorting: HDRI images now arranged in a more intuitive order.
v1.8.4 - 02/24/2024
  • Gobo Texture Application Fix: Corrected issue with Gobo texture application in older Blender 3 versions.
  • Orbit Positioning Mode Enhancement: Improved behavior for retrieving orbit positioning mode.
  • New HDRI Light Textures: Addition of several new HDRI light textures.
v1.8.3 - 02/24/2024
  • Fixed a bug that prevented light gizmos from being retained across Blender sessions.
v1.8.2 - 02/23/2024
  • Bug Fix: Issue with incorrect last adjustment mode retrieval corrected.
v1.8.1 - 02/22/2024
  • Fixed a critical bug causing unexpected resets in light-to-object proximity.
v1.8.0-Beta - 02/22/2024
  • New Visual Representations for Positioning Modes: Redesigned gizmos for Reflect, Orbit, and Direct modes for intuitive use and better aesthetics.
  • Enhanced User Experience: Press 1, 2, or 3 for instant activation of Reflect, Orbit, and Direct modes.
  • Quick Adjust Feature: Allows temporary Light Adjusting mode with a simple left mouse click (and drag) on any gizmo for swift light manipulation.
v1.7.8 - 02/18/2024
  • Hide Viewport Overlays: Automatically hides overlays in light adjusting mode for a clearer view, toggleable in settings.
  • Minor Improvements: Enhanced light auto-positioning algorithm for improved performance.
v1.7.6 - 02/15/2024
  • Orthographic Mode Fix: Temporary solution for issues in orthographic mode.
  • Viewport Text Hints: Option to disable viewport text hints added.
v1.7.5 - 02/13/2024
  • Improved Positioning Mode Switching: Instant updates when switching modes.
  • Renamed Positioning Modes: Reflect Mode and Direct Mode for clarity.
  • Default Initial Positioning Mode: Option to set default mode in settings.
  • Adjust Light Shortcut: Changed to TAB key from F10.
v1.6.9 - 12/03/2023 (Testing Release)
  • Positioning Modes: Buttons 1, 2, 3 for mode change.
  • Spacebar Functionality: Switch modes with the Spacebar.
  • Adjust Light (F10) Enhancement: Remembers last used mode.
v1.6.1 - 11/30/2023
  • New Positioning Mode - Normal: Perpendicular light positioning.
  • Spacebar to switch positioning modes.
v1.5.9 - 11/29/2023
  • Bug Fixes: General improvements for smoother experience.
  • New Animated Vegetation Gobos: Introduction of 14 beta gobos.
v1.5.6 - 11/28/2023
  • Bug Fixes: Several issues addressed.
  • Performance Improvements: Enhancements for smoother performance.
v1.5.4 - 11/26/2023
  • Gobo Functionality Improvements: Bug fixes and enhancements.
  • Increased Stability: Under-the-hood improvements.
v1.5.1 - 11/24/2023
  • Critical Performance Bug Fix: Important update for optimal performance.
v1.5.0 - 11/23/2023 (Early Access)
  • Light Customizations: New feature in developmental stages.
  • Animated GoBos: Introduction of a basic form of animated gobos.
v1.4.4 - 11/19/2023
  • Auto Light Visibility Toggle: Enhanced control over visibility.
  • Manual Ground Level Setting: Flexibility in ground-level adjustments.
  • Duplicate Light Option: Quick light copying and adjustment.
  • Improved Preferences Access: Direct access for easier customization.
  • Custom Emission Node Improvement: Enhanced control and feathering.
  • Early Access to New Light Types: Parabolic and octabox lights.
  • UI Enhancements: Smoother light mode switching and texture use.
  • Quick Light Constraining: Simplified light target setup.
v1.0.8 - 11/19/2023
  • Temporary Light Hide Feature: 'H' key to temporarily hide lights.