Using Blender’s Light Path Node in Cycles

Learn how to use the Light Path node for Cycles

Blender’s light path node is incredibly useful for all sorts of tasks, but it’s also a bit difficult to grasp at times and so many of us are left with no understanding of how to use it. This tutorial gives you an introduction to the light path node, showing you what can be done with it in Cycles. However, it’s easier to understand how to use this tool when we know how render engines work, so we will give you a basic introduction to raytracing. You’ll also learn why it works, and what you need to know in order to use it effectively.

We will be taking a look at how to control the influence of created materials on other objects in our scene. This includes changing the color of an object inside a reflection, in the shadow, through refraction, or any number of other ways. It also covers how to hide objects from specific light paths, such that it appears invisible in reflections, doesn’t cast shadows, etc.

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36 Responses to “Using Blender’s Light Path Node in Cycles”
  1. Posts: 5

    Bartek, fantastic as always! One question… did you record this in the bathroom? :>)

  2. Posts: 50
    antonioya says:

    Great tutorial. Your explanation about this topic is really great :-)

  3. Posts: 7
    Anonymous says:

    The explanation is great (as always), but I would have liked a more practical approach with some real world examples.

  4. Posts: 1
    seth says:

    Awesome, Thank you! Very easy to follow along.

  5. Posts: 20
    belezariusz says:

    sorry for my language, byt I con’t write this in English.
    wspaniała robota.
    Trudno znaleźć w jednym miejscu więcej informacji na temat węzłów i sposobu w jaki one działają, co bywa często sporym utrudnieniem.
    fajnie by było żeby pojawiły się inne tutoriale na temat reszty węzłów. Sposób w jaki działają często może być podchwytliwi, a efekty, bez znajomości detali, nieoczekiwane.
    mam pytanie, za dany “piksel” odpowiadają różne wartości kolorów z różnych promieni “pochodnych” – np. wielu diffiuse rays. muszą one chyba być dodawane z jakimiś współczynnikami. czy zależą one od liczby promieni pochodnych?
    Wybacz głupie pytanie początkującego.

  6. Posts: 4
    dleitz013 says:

    Thanks very much for this video! I played around with this light path node a bit trying to get a cornea that didn’t look like a glass marble. Needless to say, without really understanding the concepts behind it (and I did read the Wiki), I couldn’t get any kind of good results. Maybe now I will have better luck! :)

  7. Posts: 31

    For some reason the ‘login’ button did the same thing as the ‘dim lights’ button on this page?? But when I went back to the previous page it worked again. don’t know If it can be solved…


  8. Posts: 2
    haansn08 says:

    Wow. Didn’t know how complicated a raytracer is….
    (I will never shout at my computer rendering slowly…. poor guy…. 😉

  9. Posts: 10
    reaction says:

    Superb – I will be coming back to this tutorial again and again! Personally, I had a yellow object in my scene that seemed to be reflecting far too much yellow colour onto the grey floor. Now I can easily ‘turn off’ that yellow cast and hide the problem. Sorted!

  10. Posts: 7
    ralf peter says:

    Thanks for this tutorial. Made a lot of things clearer to me.
    You really have solid knowledge about the subject you talk about.

  11. Posts: 1
    Paul Thomsen says:

    Hi – very informative thanks. I’m just wondering how I could make an object be effected by everything except the global world material… would be it by some use of the ray length option?

    I want a black floor reflecting the car model I have made but not reflecting the environment texture… :)

  12. Posts: 1
    dunn says:

    That was one of the clearest, informative, and easily understandable tutorials I have seen online. Thanks!

  13. Posts: 2
    craigar says:


    Thank you for a clear, concise tutorial – my only dire concern is like others have mentioned, does it work correctly in 2.7 ? . I can’t afford to learn two different versions of any major application. I will get confused, and give up on the whole arena.

    I ask this with the utmost importance, because when I follow a tutorial, if it does not work I assume I have done something wrong and end up spending far more time than I can afford trying to do the impossible, and usually lose grasp of what the tutorial was supposed to teach me.

    More than 50% of the tutorials / tips out here don’t work properly with 2.7 + cycles, based on my personal experience.

    If we only need a few changes for this to be accurate in 2.7, please let me know before I try to follow this. Even a notated image of the noodles will suffice for me.

    Thank You

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