Color Temperature

This is a complement to my previous post about Exposure Values.

Color temperature is the hue of the light, not it’s color.

A white light with a color temperature of 2800°K will appear reddish-orange, whereas that same light with a color temperature of 6500°K will have a bluish tint to it.

Color temperature is important when calibrating the white point for your scenes.

The following guide lists the color temperatures for a wide array of settings. But color temperature is subjective! These values should be considered a guide only.

Certainly though if you are rendering a scene illuminated by a camp fire and some Coleman lanterns you’d want the flame of the campfire to have a relatively low color temperature and the light coming from that lantern to be roughly 5000°K or so, and each light source will influence parts of your scene in different ways.

But the world around is not lit only by 5500°K light sources! Even here in my office I have warm white LEDs in the ceiling with about a 3000-3200°K color temperature and a strong white LED desk/ task light sitting here on my desk with a 5500°K color temperature.

And my blinds are open and it’s bright and sunny outside so the room is awash in 5500-6000°K light from our Sun.

And all of those light sources come into play, and are important for adding depth and realism to your scenes.

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