The light in your scene comes from the Environment and/or from Light Source Materials, but the Render technique also has an effect on the appearance of your scene - this is what you can control in the Lighting tab of the Project panel or via the Main Menu > Lighting.

Lighting tab - Render Technique

In the Lighting tab you can control the interpretation of lighting in your scene. KeyShot comes with a number of presets which you can select between or customize into your own  Custom Lighting Presets.


This preset disables light source materials and shadows with reduced bounces for the fastest performance possible. This is useful for scene setup and quick manipulation. The option is also available in the Ribbon. The Performance mode can also be toggled from the Ribbon or the Main Menu.


This preset provides simple, direct lighting with shadows for basic scenes and fast performance. This is useful for rendering simple models illuminated by the environment.


This preset provides direct and indirect lighting with shadows. This is useful for products with transparent materials illuminated by the environment and local lighting.


This setting features direct and indirect lighting with shadows that is optimized for interior illumination. This is intended for complex interior illumination with indirect lighting; although it can also be used to avoid noise created by local lights and provide more accurate sampling of HDRIs with very small and strong light sources such as Sun & Sky.


This setting features the same settings as the Interior preset with the addition of Ground Illumination, increased Ray Bounces, and Caustics.


The Global Illumination sampling for Interior Mode has been improved for KeyShot 8. This may cause scenes to be brighter than in previous versions of KeyShot.

Sources of light in the scene

Environment Lighting

The most general source of lighting a scene in KeyShot is through Environment Lighting. Environment Lighting uses spherical High-dynamic-range imaging (HDRI) to represent the full, physically accurate lighting of an interior or exterior space. See the Environments section for more details.

Light Source Materials

Any piece of geometry can be turned it into a local light source. It’s a completely different approach from traditional rendering applications allowing more flexibility for rendering light accurately in your scene.

Types of light sources

There are four Light Source Material Types that provide different lighting capabilities:

Area Light Diffuse

Turn any object into an array of light. View and adjust the position in the real-time window. Control the intensity of the light using Watts or Lumens.
See the Area Light page for more details.

Point Light Diffuse

Turn any object into a point light. View and adjust the position in the real-time window. Control the intensity either using Power Watts or Lumens.
See the Point Light page for more details.

Point Light IES Profile

Load an IES profile by clicking on the folder icon in the editor and see the shape of the IES profile load in the material preview and in the form of a mesh in the real-time window.
See the IES Light page for more details.


Turn any object into a spotlight. View and adjust the position in the real-time window. Control the intensity either using Watts or Lumens.
See the Spotlight page for more details.

Adding A Light

A light source may be applied to any model you like. A light can be applied to imported geometry, existing geometry or to geometry available in KeyShot via the Edit, Add Geometry menu.

Applying a light material is similar to applying other materials. Drag and drop a light material preset from the Library window, Materials tab, Light folder. You can also double-click on an model, go to the Material Type dropdown, and choose one of the Light Sources from the list. KeyShot will change the object to a physical light. 

When you change a model to a light source, KeyShot will identify the light source in the Project, Scene tree by adding a light bulb icon  next to the model name. 

Apply a light to a sphere

Tip: Here's a simple example for adding a light to a sphere. From the KeyShot menu, select Edit, Add Geometry, Sphere. Move the sphere to the location for the light. Go to the KeyShot Library, Materials tab and select the Light folder. Drag and drop a light onto the sphere. If you want to reduce the ambient environment light, go to the Project window, Environment tab, Settings and reduce the Brightness.

Moving a Light

Right-click the part that is assigned as a light and select  Move Model. This will activate the Move Tool. You can also select the light source in the Project window, Scene tab, then select Move Tool from the Position tab. Additionally, the input boxes may be used for more precise positioning.

Animating a Light

Since light sources are materials applied to a part, they can be animated just like any other part. Simply select the light in the Scene Tree that you would like to animate, right-click and apply the animation you would like. Visit the Animation section to learn about the different types of animations.

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