3D World

SOFT NIGHT LIGHT­ING

- Hollywood

01

It’s com­mon when light­ing a scene to first fo­cus on the broad strokes and then work your way down to the finer de­tails. Find a good HDRI to use as a tex­tured aisky­dome as an over­all fill (night­time HDRIS are no­to­ri­ously hard to get right) and per­haps place a soft di­rec­tional light to mimic the moon­light. It’s very tempt­ing to go for the clas­sic Hol­ly­wood blue moon­light but once again, try to fig­ure out what feels real to you.

02

A good place to start with a night scene – if you are lucky enough to be in an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment – is to use the prac­ti­cal lights that would al­ready be there in the scene. In this scene the hang­ing lanterns of­fer clues as to where the light could be sourced. Cylin­der Area lights work well in­side glass lanterns with some added spot­lights to con­trol the bloom and falloff of the light.

03

Once you have the moon­light and prac­ti­cal lamps work­ing for the en­vi­ron­ment, you can ma­nip­u­late them as sources to light the char­ac­ter. Make choices based on the char­ac­ter’s emo­tion; for ex­am­ple, light­ing from the top will give dark shad­ows over the eyes, adding to the mys­tery of a char­ac­ter. Light­ing up from un­der the char­ac­ter will give them an evil look, and can add mys­tery depend­ing on the colour.

04

For this light setup, I chose to use the sim­u­lated moon­light as the key and fill on the char­ac­ter’s face. This shows that, while he isn’t stand­ing in di­rect light, the au­di­ence will be able to read the emo­tion on his face. You could also use light from one of the street­lamps to add a more di­rect light to the char­ac­ter’s face for yet another mood.

05

Next, use the street­lamp to the left of the char­ac­ter as mo­ti­va­tion for a strong rim light to carve out the shape of his head from the back­ground. This light serves two pur­poses, as it con­nects the char­ac­ter to the scene as well as defin­ing him as the first area of the im­age the au­di­ence will fo­cus on.

06

Try to be faith­ful to the three-point light­ing setup for char­ac­ters if you can. It will save a lot of stress in the long run – es­pe­cially if the char­ac­ter moves through the scene or looks around in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions. Af­ter you have these three lights set up, it’s just a mat­ter of find­ing the bal­ance of how much of each light to use to stay true to the mood of the story.

 ??  ?? Use a com­bi­na­tion of prac­ti­cal lights in the al­ley and sim­u­lated moon­light to pro­vide a soft, sub­tle mood in the scene
Use a com­bi­na­tion of prac­ti­cal lights in the al­ley and sim­u­lated moon­light to pro­vide a soft, sub­tle mood in the scene
 ??  ?? Aim for even light­ing When choos­ing an HDRI for a night-time scene, try to find one with­out too much colour or bright lights on the hori­zon. You will find that light on the hori­zon will con­trib­ute too much ex­tra colour and ex­po­sure when you just want a soft, even fill on your scene.
Aim for even light­ing When choos­ing an HDRI for a night-time scene, try to find one with­out too much colour or bright lights on the hori­zon. You will find that light on the hori­zon will con­trib­ute too much ex­tra colour and ex­po­sure when you just want a soft, even fill on your scene.

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