Light and Shadow: Lighting and Rendering Series Vol 1
FADE TO BLACK Lighting artist Frederic Durand turns to the dark side for an illuminating class on shadows
You might be better off starting at the end of Frederic Durand’s lighting masterclass. In the brief chapter six, he talks about how light, shadow and the points where they meet form the basis of drawing, photography and other visual disciplines. That two-minute postscript cuts to the heart of why it’s worth investing your time in this technical but revealing video.
Frederic’s focus, in this first of a projected series on lighting, is not on light itself, but on the shadows it casts. He takes you through a sequence of CG scenes, each designed to reveal an aspect of how shadow functions and the ways that you can take command of it, to either reveal forms or support your artistic intent.
He uses Maya, the tool of choice for pro animators. But many of his ideas and techniques apply to other 3D software such as ZBrush or CINEMA 4D, even if you have to do some legwork to suss out how to reproduce the visuals that he achieves.
Frederic kicks off with a look at how light decays with distance and how you can control this in CG, before giving an overview of the various techniques you can use to create shadows cast by objects outside the scene itself. He draws many ideas from cinematography, where the light reaching the camera is controlled with precision. Indeed, film terms such as “barn doors” and “gobos” (both physical tools for directing light) abound, but it’s never off-putting.
By showing you all the relevant tools and options available in 3D software to control shadow, Frederic has made a deeply technical video that goes beyond the three-point lighting tips you’ll encounter in most CG training. Even if not every technique is relevant to the software you use yourself, you’ll learn a lot about the properties of light, and gain inspiration for staging your scenes more effectively.
In Light and Shadow, Frederic Durand shows how 3D software can precisely
control light distribution. Many of Frederic’s techniques are inspired by the physical blocks
used by cinematographers.