Whether lighting is harsh, gentle, glaring, or diffused; whether it is cold; whether it comes straight at us like a spotlight or from the side, behind, above, or below - it plays perhaps the greatest role in determining the mood of a 3D rendering.
All light - whether it's frontlight, sidelight, backlight, or diffused light - imparts a color cast onto the subject, depending on the time of day. Morning light is warmer than midday light, and late afternoon light (shortly before sunset) is even warmer still, wheres diffused light can at times be "blue".
What is meant by frontlight?
It's light that hits the front of your subject, as if your camera were a giant spotlight bathing everything in front of it in light.
Sidelight hits one side of a subject, illuminating only part of it leaving the other parts in "darkness". The subject takes on a three-dimensional quality due to the illusion of depth created by the contrast between light and dark. As a result, sidelight is often considered the most dramatic type of lighting.
It is backlighting (when the light hits the back of your subject) that renders so many subjects in silhouettes. Backlighting will always find you reaching for your sunglasses or, at least, shading your eyes. Why? Because to render backlight, you must be facing the sun itself.
Unlike sidelight, which conceals the subject in partial darkness, backlighitng can cloak the entire subject in total darkness. The resulting silhouetted shape - whether it's a tree, your building, or a person - is devoid of all detail.