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Lighting Report- 3D Pre-Vis Animation

November 14, 2013

Being that my per-visualization animation is a western, my plan was to light the scene in a typical western style fashion by making use of strong afternoon natural lighting emitting from outside the saloon. The original concept was to have strong light passing through the saloon doors and through the windows giving nice shadows and to emphasize the western style. However, getting the lights to look the way I wanted quickly became difficult as I was under time restrictions. Therefore, I made the decision to change the time of day to the evening/night and use lighting which would be emitting from light bulbs on the ceiling.

The look of the lighting I eventually used supports the style of my narrative by creating a mysterious and serious atmosphere. It fits the style of a western by intensifying the tension in the scene which westerns tend to have. The lighting draws focus and attention to the characters and key props in the foreground of the scene where most of the action happens.  The lighting used in the animation specifically enhances key scenes in the story that the audience must take notice of. These include the close-up of the main character with the checkered shirt and the over- the- shoulder shot of the skinnier character showing the cards being played on the table. The lighting in the close-up shot creates a menacing look with the character’s face slightly dimmer than his body emphasizing the fact that this character is ‘up to something ‘. With the OTS (over-the-shoulder) shot, the lighting being emitted from above onto the table clearly shows how the poker game has been won. The absence of light in the background contributes to the story as it highlights the character’s isolation indicating to the audience that the saloon is empty. This in conjunction with the fact that the lighting also hints at foreshadowing of something adverse about to occur emphasize that one or both the characters may be in danger. The lighting used assists the style of the story by creating a typical evening light setup of a saloon where the lights are coming from chandelier type lights typical of the Old West time period.  It also adds to the style as the activity of a poker game was usually played in the afternoon/evening.

The lighting I used in my per-visualization animation consisted of mainly point lights and spot lights. The basic three point lighting system was used to block out the general lighting setup. When I was happy with the basic lighting setup, I began to light link and create specific character lighting as character features were not easily identifiable. The some of the point lights and spot lights also had their intensities keyed for specific shots to fix the over brightening of playing card props. The light linking allowed fill lights to be added to the characters without affecting anything else that was already lit appropriately. This is how I was able to create the intense, mysterious atmosphere and at the same time be able to show the audience what was happening in the animation.

The spot light was the keylight and was used as to get the ceiling light to get the chandelier, western type style lighting. This proved to be the best choice compared to the other types of lights and it lit both the set and characters simultaneously. The point lights were used for both lighting the set and the characters. The point lights were light linked to the characters and props independently for the best result. I found the point lights gave the best soft lighting which I was looking for. This also allowed me to get nice fill lights on the characters. The point lights were mainly used as fill lights and contributed to the intense atmosphere I wanted to create. It complimented the keylight well and contributed to the practical lighting setup I was aiming for.

I believe the lighting setup I used allowed me to achieve the style I was going for. I was able to utilize the point and spot lights to give soft, practical lighting reminiscent of the type of lighting used at night in a saloon. However, the lighting could have been improved with the use of light fog on a spot light placed outside the set. This could give a moonlight effect which could have reinforced the time of day along with the isolation of the characters.  Through lighting this scene, I found the most effective way of lighting was to light link. This is due to the fact that it was easier to tell specific lights to light a specific object than to adjust the entire lighting setup to achieve the look I wanted.

 

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