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There are defaults for Lighting ("Directional", "Neutral", etc.), but I would like to illuminate an object (e.g., a simple sphere) with a light coming from a continuous distribution that I define, for instance the sum of the real parts of two or three spherical harmonics. Is there a way to achieve this?

Of course I don't want to create some extremely large number of point sources, each with a specified intensity. (Regardless, the required distribution of such sources is related to the desired illumination distribution by an extremely complex function.)

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    $\begingroup$ Since no such thing is documented and you discarded the most obvious work around then I guess using a 3rd party software is what you are left with. $\endgroup$ – Kuba Feb 12 at 7:57
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe with the new shading stuff in 12 you’ll be able to get something like this. In the meantime though you’ll probably be best served by using the connection to POVRay that xslittlegrass made. $\endgroup$ – b3m2a1 Feb 13 at 17:11

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