3D World

Cre­ate moods with CG light­ing

Lu­cas Pozzey demon­strates the dif­fer­ent ways to light a sim­ple scene to con­vey var­i­ous emo­tions and moods

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Ex­pert ad­vice from Lu­cas Pozzey on how to use light ef­fec­tively

There are many el­e­ments that go into cre­at­ing strong emo­tion in film­mak­ing. Us­ing a sim­ple scene, we will ex­plore the dif­fer­ent choices we can make in a sin­gle shot to elicit emo­tion by cre­at­ing four dif­fer­ent light­ing set­ups.

When­ever we start work­ing on a shot or a se­quence, we need to first de­fine the most im­por­tant fac­tors – story and char­ac­ter. The first step should be to an­swer the fol­low­ing ques­tions: What is the over­all mood of the scene? Where is the drama? Who/what/where is the sub­ject? Where do we want the au­di­ence to look? And the most im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion, how are we emo­tion­ally af­fect­ing the au­di­ence?

Once you have an­swered these ques­tions the rest of your light­ing de­ci­sions should fol­low the same path. Of­ten in VFX we are tied to some el­e­ment of on-set or plate pho­tog­ra­phy where a lot of the de­ci­sions will have al­ready been made, how­ever there is still a lot of room to com­ple­ment the work of the DP when adding CG char­ac­ters or set ex­ten­sions.

For this tu­to­rial we will be work­ing in a full CG en­vi­ron­ment and there­fore have the free­dom to cre­ate the mood from scratch.

Look around the room you’re in – or even bet­ter, through a cam­era lens – and see how light af­fects the en­vi­ron­ment. Look at the sharp­ness of the shad­ows, how the colour of the light af­fects the colour and shape of the ob­ject. The more you study light in the world around you the more you will be able to ma­nip­u­late it and recre­ate it in in­ter­est­ing ways.

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