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How to use Lightmaps - A Tutorial for Counter-Strike: Source.

Welcome to another one of my mapping tutorials, this tutorial will teach you about how to use Lightmaps.

First of all, what are Lightmaps?

A Lightmap is the light data which is stored on each face of a brush. Lightmaps are used to add some nice shadow effects into the game.

The Lightmap scales are measured by numbers (4,16,64 etc). The lower the number, the better quality, but the bigger the BSP is in the end. The Higher the number, the lower the quality and the smaller the BSP. Lightmap scales also affect Vrad time. The smaller the scale, the longer compiling takes. This is a reason why sometimes adjusting lightmaps help optimize your map.

How to use them

Using Lightmaps is pretty simple, so lets get started.
  1. Open up your map or quickly create a new one.

  2. Now, open up the Texture Application Tool and select the face where you want to change the lightmap scale.

  3. Look in the texture application box and you should see in the top right corner, a small box Labeled Lightmap Scale.

  4. That is what we are going to edit. You can mess around with the scale now but you won't notice a difference.

  5. In order for you to see a difference, you will need to change a setting in the Camera view of Hammer. Right Click where it says "Camera" on the to left corner and from the drop down list Select 3D Lightmap Grid.

  6. Once you've selected 3D Lightmap Grid you should see that your whole map has changed into something like this:

  7. Now, open up the Texture Application Tool and once again select the face which you want to change.

  8. You can now mess around with the Lightmap scale. You'll notice that as you change the scale, the look of it changes as well. The Higher the scale is the bigger the grid is. The smaller the scale, the smaller the grid.
  9. Here are some examples of the differences in the Scales:
    Scale: 4

    Scale: 16

    Scale: 64

    You should notice that Scale 4 looks the best and Scale 64 looks the worst, it's almost like there is no shadow.

    That is it! You can now mess around with it to your liking. Just remember that the lower the scale, the longer it takes for Vrad to compile.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me! You can post here or PM me for any questions.

-SGT_kick_ur_ass

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  • Elite_Slay0r avatar
    Elite_Slay0r Joined 13y ago
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    13y
    Pros: Very well explained, everything taken into consideration Cons: This is a useful function, but I think It would be easier to jsut say "Select lighmap, change size" instead of having that many side notes. Improvements: none Notes: I am in love with lightmaps and I really like your tut, don't get me wrong
    Bananite
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  • The Fool avatar
    The Fool Joined 15y ago
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    14y
    Pros: Your tutorials are always well put-together and informative, to say the least. Good job on this one in particular, since it was just what I needed to read. Cons: Of course this topic specifically isn't that useful. If anyone else had written it and left out the parts about what lightmaps do, I would have graded it even lower. Since you included the hows and whys, though, I marked you rather high. Improvements: None. You perfected this tutorial. Notes: Regardless of my 9 on the usefulness scale, the tutorial was great.
    Mapper, Graphic Artist avatar
    Mantra
    Mapper, Graphic Artist
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  • tatoma avatar
    tatoma Joined 14y ago
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    Cant be done better. Very useful for me.
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  • StoneBlood avatar
    StoneBlood Joined 15y ago
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    15y
    Notes: This is a well written and very usefull tutorial because now I am becoming more advanced in mapping I need to know alot more about lighting and shadowing then just placing lights with light spots and light sources.
    Bananite avatar
    Mantra
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  • MinotaurR avatar
    MinotaurR username pic Joined 16y ago
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    15y
    Pros: Very interesting and good tutorial + easy to follow and has great exambles and pictures! 10/10, because this one tells you everything you need to know at this point. Notes: Great job!
    MapsForFun
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    NeoShroomish Joined 17y ago
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    16y
    Cool, so lightmaps are basically baked vertex lighting? Interesting.
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    Rockerdudeman Joined 16y ago
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    16y
    Very good tutorial, I know how hard it is to teach noobs. So well done :D.
    Oh FPSB how I miss you
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  • .:.BeCool.:. avatar
    .:.BeCool.:. username pic Joined 17y ago
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    Really good tut SGT!!!
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    Mantra
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    sic_666 Joined 16y ago
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    Pros: Good tut man.. very informative.. Cons: None =D Improvements: None. Notes: pretty good might screw with my lightmaps now.
    o_O?
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  • Chillinut avatar
    Chillinut Joined 16y ago
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    Gj thnx for the nice tut :D
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    Mantra
    mmm clouds...
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