Lighting a Sprite with Light Nodes

Add lighting and shadows to your scene with light nodes.


You can use a sprite’s lighting properties, lightingBitMask, shadowCastBitMask and shadowedBitMask, to apply effects such as illumination and shadow casting and receiving. These can be used in conjunction with normal mapping to simulate 3D lighting.

The following figure shows a normal mapped sprite node acting as background and two shadow casting sprite nodes (each with a rabbit texture).

The SKLightNode object's categoryBitMask matches the lighting bit mask of the background, and the lighting and shadow bit masks of the two rabbits:

// Create the background sprite node
let background = SKSpriteNode(texture: noiseTexture,
                              normalMap: noiseTexture.generatingNormalMap())
background.position =
background.lightingBitMask = 0b0001
let x: CGFloat = 150
let y = spriteKitViewController.scene.size.width - 150
// Create a light
let lightNode = SKLightNode()
lightNode.position = CGPoint(x: scene.size.width / 2, y: y)
lightNode.categoryBitMask = 0b0001
lightNode.lightColor = .white
// Create two rabbit sprite nodes and assign them with both a lighting and a shadow cast bit mask.
for position in [CGPoint(x: x, y: y), CGPoint(x: y, y: y)] {
                    let rabbit = SKSpriteNode(imageNamed: "rabbit")
                    rabbit.position = position
                    rabbit.lightingBitMask = 0b0001
                    rabbit.shadowCastBitMask = 0b0001

The resulting scene shows the two rabbits casting shadows over the background (the light is rendered as a white circle). The noise texture gains a 3D look from the normal mapping:

Shadow casting and normal mapping

See Also

Lighting a Sprite


A mask that defines how this sprite is lit by light nodes in the scene.


A mask that defines which lights add shadows to the sprite.


A mask that defines which lights are occluded by this sprite.


A texture that specifies the normal map for the sprite.