The LightCap sub-palette is used to create a new LightCap™. LightCap is a way to create a Material or Matcap in real-time by manipulating directly the lights they simulate.

Light > LightCap sub-palette

Light > LightCap sub-palette


Open a LightCap file.


Save the current LightCap to a file on disk.


Switch to this channel in order to manipulate the lights that will affect the diffuse of any material. Any changes done to the lights settings will be linked to the Diffuse slider of a Standard Material and will be linked to the A channel (or the left sphere) of a MatCap.

Note: Except for the Opacity information, all your changes in values and settings will be also applied in the Specular mode.


Switch to this channel in order to manipulate the lights that will affect the specular of any material. Any changes done to the lights settings will be linked to the Specular slider of a Standard Material and will be linked to the B channel (or the right sphere if the RedWax was originally selected.) of a MatCap. If you did not select a MatCap with two spheres then the specular will be baked into the A channel along with the diffuse light information.

LightCap Preview

The preview window displays the preview of the LightCaps in real-time, will also allow you to manipulate the light by moving their dots corresponding to their positions. The Preview display can be switched to diffuse information or the Specular information of the LightCap.

A red dot corresponds to the current light while grey dots correspond to non-selected lights.

The default preview is displayed as a sphere, which correspond to a 360° light positioning system and not 180°, which mean that lights which are positioned on the side of the sphere are in fact lighting the back of your model and not its side. If you wish to light the side, you must approximate your light position.

Sphere to Equirectangular mode

The LightCap can be display as a sphere (by default) and in a planar form name Equirectangular, similar to environment map with a width to high ratio of 2:1.

To change the preview of the LightCap, click on the larger red dot on the top left corner of the LightCap preview, visible only when hovering your cursor in the top left corner of the LightCap Preview window. To turn the LightCap Preview to the default view click on the top left corner again.

New Light

The New Light button adds a new light with its default setting on the center of the LightCap preview.

Del Light

The Delete Light button deletes the active light of the LightCap preview.

Light Index

The Light Index slider lets you quickly select the lights in order of creation by moving the slider or clicking on the arrow buttons on the left and right of the slider.

<< Previous Light

Switch to the previous light.

>> Next Light

Switch to the next light.


The Strength slider defines the diffuse and specular intensity which are bound together.


The Shadow slider defines the opacity of the shadow generated by the LightCap light and if the light will even cast shadows. To completely turn off shadow casting of any individual light move this slider to zero.

When a LightCap is generated from the environment background, the shadow intensity may vary and most of the time the lights below the horizon will have their intensity at zero.


The Aperture slider defines how the light or its specular spread falls over the surface. A high value will spread the light on the surface while a low value will do the opposite, creating a very concentrated light.

Note: We recommend the first light created in the LightCap has an Aperture value of 180 which will create a kind of base light with any selected color, similar to an ambient light.


The Opacity slider changes the selected light’s opacity. This setting is different from the Strength because it doesn’t affect this value, but makes it more or less transparent.

The Opacity value can be different for the Diffuse and Specular mode of the LightCap: you can create a light which won’t have a diffuse impact, but which will have only affect specular by turning the Opacity slider all the way to 0 on the diffuse channel but keep it at 1 in the specular channel or you can apply the opposite effect.


The Falloff slider defines the distance that the light will cover over a model from it center point to its extremities. The falloff doesn’t affect the amount of light or specular, but how it is distributed on its aperture space.


The Exposure slider lets you apply a multiplier on the light Strength value. This is very similar to the Exposure in photography.


The Gamma sliders allows you to change the Gamma of the light, which mainly affects the contrast of the light color.

Light Color

The Color selector allows you to define the color of your light. As each color picker in ZBrush, you can click in the color selector and drag your cursor any where in ZBrush’s interface to pick a color. With the LightCap, only the real color will be picked and not the color combined with the shadow and specular information.

Blend Mode

The Blend mode affects the way the current light will overlay with other existing light of the LightCap. ZBrush offers various kind of blending modes, similar to the ones found in popular 2D software.

Txtr icon

By clicking on the Txtr icon, the Texture palette will appear, allowing you select a texture to be applied to the light itself as a gel image which will be projected on the LightCap.

Note: If you want to use your own texture, you must first load it through the Texture palette or by clicking on the Import button in the Texture pop-up window.

Alpha icon

The Alpha selector button is similar to the Texture selector except that it allows you load an Alpha which will define the shape of the light. Like this you can create light shapes similar to what you can find in photography studio with rectangular soft box and a gobo lights that are used in film.

Note: If you want to use your own alphas, you must first load it through the Alpha palette or by clicking on the Import button in the Alpha floating window.

HTile and VTile

The Horizontal Tile and Vertical Tile sliders allow you to change the number of the selected Texture and/or Alpha being applied in the horizontal and vertical axes.

Scale Width and Scale Height

The Scale Width and Scale Height sliders allow you to adjust the size of any selected Texture and/or Alpha in the horizontal and vertical axes.


The Blur slider applies blur to the selected Texture and/or Alpha for the selected light.


The orientation slider allows you to change the rotation of the Texture and/or Alpha applied to the selected light.

Create Environment

The Create Environment utility converts the LightCap into a background texture that is automatically loaded as a background in the Light > Background menu.

Create Texture

The Create Texture button will create a material-type texture of the lights that have been added to the LightCap system. This texture will be available in the Texture palette for use with any MatCap material.


Reference Guide > Light > LightCap