My medieval dungeon scene needs lighting. Can you help?
I believe that an interesting and believable design must also look functional. Here, I decide that my character wears this headgear when taking part in futuristic races, so it must feature headphones, a microphone and goggles. Doing this background work will help to put the scope of the design within a defined framework, and enable me to focus on its functionality.
After painting a girl’s head, I outline the main forms and elements of the headgear. The microphone is built into the jaw element, while the headphones, in addition to enabling communication and acting as a built-in antenna, is also responsible for raising and lowering the goggles. I avoid depicting wires, reasoning that an internal battery would make for a streamlined profile. I imagine that the races don’t last long and so the battery can be quite small.
This headgear is designed for the mass market, perhaps specifically for female navigators, so I decided to avoid sharp corners, working instead with smoother forms. All my materials have a matte finish.
I decide to use a two-colour palette, which is typical for the design of racing cars. However, I choose to construct the headgear from a range of materials: aluminium alloys on the ears and in the goggles, plastic in the chin and ear’s technical elements, as well as rubber and glass in her goggles.
Elsbeth Hoffman, England
Dungeons were initially built in towers, but those areas became used for living quarters (for the same reason the prisons were initially there: security) and the dungeons were moved to the underground levels. This means they’re too low for windows and generally the shabbiest place in the castle.
Without sunlight, we’re left with artificial forms of lighting. Without electricity, that means fire. Candles were a common way of illuminating rooms during the medieval period, along with oil lamps, torches and braziers (fire pits). Since we don’t want a dungeon to feel inviting, I suggest torches and a brazier.
Firelight has a high drop-off rate, meaning it doesn’t travel far. Each torch and brazier will give off light in all directions equally, and the amount of light is proportional to the size of the flame. If you look up some reference, you’ll see that small torches leave an obvious circle of light on the wall, which you can use to get an idea of how far their light stretches. The brazier works as more of a fill light, and is responsible for most of the illumination in this setup.
Since both your main light source (brazier) and the accent lights (torches) are using fire, the only colours you’ll see in the room are fire colours.
Start by painting the dungeon with a little low, ambient light (the bounce light from the brazier). This helps keep things organised as you plan your lighting.
It’s important to think about how moving parts interact with fixed parts: in this instance I decide on the functional and resting positions of the goggles.