Lighting in Maya can be very effective for creating effects with a room, it can be used for highlighting certain features of a model room or shape. Lighting can be used to portray features of a room which aren’t actually there. It can also create an illusion of making a 2d shape appear 3d by using angles and lighting. For example, your room might appear boring and dull, using shadows created in the light room can imply there is a window or perhaps a banister this creates depth to the room and adds detail. The light may also reflect of objects depending on their material may depend on their reflectiveness. You could have a dead tree outside the window and the shadow could be created by a cookie.
Directional light can be used for a sunlight, the whole light in your scene will be following the same pattern. all the rays will be following the same direction.
spotlight can be used as a flashlight or a lamp, it gives of a light source depending on its position and angle. its going to emit light from all directions from the point. Emits light in a cone shaped.
Ambient light simulate bounced light from all angles it bounces from the walls, they are quite bad as they remove a lot of depth from your scene it can also be considered indirect light. ‘cheating’ Don’t use bounced light, just setup a new directional light to manually set up bounced light to generate a more realistic effect. Make each light ray weaker then the last as the light beam will be losing energy.
Area light, itself is an area. The light is emits from an area completely forwards. This can be effective for light coming out of windows or doors left ajar.
Volume light allows you to manually create a solid area of light, it however is not light a point light, it generally makes a 3d angled spread of light.
Light intensity can be used to create a mood in a room or scene, depending on the intensity.
Light linking, could allow you to highlight a certain areal, have a point light on a torch and a light on his head link them together so it only illuminates his head. It will only affect its target.
Maya software renderer, mental Ray Renderer and Arnold renderer. Are all different types of renderer, Mental Ray Render is a good external renderer. However it needs to be downloaded. Maya software renderer is Maya basic in 2016 and below and Arnold Renderer is a good renderer which is within Maya 2017.
Sky Domes emits light in a dome, it generates a really nice effect from all angles. Generates a show room effect.