Interior bedroom rendering with soft lighting
Vlad Moldovan

Vlad Moldovan

Published: February 03, 2023  •  3 min read

Achieving Soft Directional Lighting in Enscape

In his latest video tutorial, advanced user Vlad Moldovan explains how he creates soft directional lighting in Enscape and SketchUp by using a light tunnel. This lighting effect and its soft shadows help to create an even more realistic interior render.

We invited Vlad to share with the community how he achieves this rendering style. Take a look at what he had to say and watch the accompanying video for step-by-step instructions on how to create a light tunnel for perfect soft lighting💡.


My approach to lighting in Enscape has always been very similar to film set lighting. In the film industry, the lighting director is responsible for the look and feel of the images that make up a movie. For this, he uses all the lights at his disposal.

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In a similar way, I try to use all the lights Enscape has to offer, and I like to light my scenes with multiple lights and multiple light types.

For example, instead of using a sphere light for a pendant, I would use a circular light and three sphere lights to get an interesting blend between them. Some might say a single light is enough but in my experience, trying to get this blended light effect results in cleaner renders and softer shadows, not to mention it looks more realistic.

In the Enscape toolbar, you can use all the lights available, but you also have to take into account other light sources like emissive materials, the sun, HDRI lighting, and also reflectors for bouncing light. An interesting approach is to use negative fill (like a black wall) to enhance the shadows. Or black flags to direct the light. All these things come in handy for lighting your scene.

In my latest Enscape tutorial, soft directional lighting, I used something I can only call a light tunnel to get that soft light and shadows on the wall. For this, I used multiple sphere lights, a white HDRI for the sky, emissive materials, and a negative fill (black material).

Example of soft lighting in Enscape

Lighting results

Before we dive into the tutorial, let me show you how lighting from different sources can create certain results and moods within a scene. 

1. Sun and sky

This is the result when you use just the sky and sun (with shadow sharpness scaled down to zero). It is usually very bright where the sun hits and darker everywhere else. Yellow and blue tints are visible. 

Sun and sky lighting effect in Enscape

2. Just the sky (sun intensity set to zero)

Here the scene is only lit by the sky. The effect is a soft blue light and overall dark and noisy. 

Just the sky in Enscape

3. White dome (HDRI)

Here we have an HDRI lighting the scene. It's a soft light with no blue or yellow colors bleeding into the image. 

White HDRI lighting effect in Enscape

4. White dome and light tunnel without the emissive material

Now we can see what happens when we introduce a light tunnel.  Here we have the sphere lights going through the tunnel that I have created in SketchUp and Enscape, and we can see the multiple shadows they cast on the wall. 

White HDRI and light tunnel no emissive material

5. Light tunnel with emissive light 

When we add emissive lights to the tunnel, it adds more light to the scene and helps to blend everything together. With the sphere lights as well, we get this soft light in the whole room. 

White HDRI and light tunnel in Enscape and SketchUp


See how this looks in SketchUp:

Lighting setup in SketchUp and Enscape


Lighting setup with light tunnel in Enscape and SketchUp

Tutorial: Soft directional lighting

To see how I built the light tunnel in order to create this soft lighting effect, take a look at my video tutorial below.



For more information on this topic and for additional video tutorials, be sure to check out Vlad's YouTube channel, Modulus render.


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Vlad Moldovan
Vlad Moldovan

Vlad is an architect, senior CGI artist, and founder of Modulus Render.