Good lighting can make the difference between a good shot and a
great one. I would like to see more artists equipped with a strong
enough understanding of lighting to make them masters of their art. To
that end, I wish to share the knowledge and experience I have acquired
over the years.
Why Read This Book?
If you have ever looked at a photograph and been unable to decipher the
light sources, direction, and color, or if you have been unable to replicate
this lighting within LightWave 3D, or even any other 3D application,
then this book will help you. If you have ever thought your lighting
looked flat, boring, meaningless, inane, incomprehensible, stale, cliché
(stop me any time), overused, cheesy, CG, fake, or derivative, then read
ing this book might be a good move. If you have ever wondered how to
make objects stand out from the background or how to demonstrate all
the minute detail you have spent weeks modeling, or want to make a
shot convey sadness, anger, or joy, then you might take some time to
look through these pages. If you have seen the work of some great 3D
artists and marveled at how photo-real everything looks and wished you
could add that sense of realism to your work, then read on.
Good lighting is crucial to the final look of your shot. Even a poorly
designed, marginally textured object can still look as if it really exists in
the scene if the lighting is good. On the other hand, a beautifully
designed, painstakingly modeled and textured object, if lit poorly, will be
easily identified as computer generated.
Physics nitpickers, beware. This section may offend some readers.
Lighting can be a very contentious issue. That is not to say that it is
very complex or difficult to learn. It is not. But it can be difficult to talk
about. This is mainly because there is a certain breed of people who just
can’t let reality go. I teach that a shadow may have a certain color based
on a number of different environmental factors. Someone nitpicks that
shadows don’t actually have any color, being, themselves, the simple
absence of light. (This is technically true, but quite unimportant to CG
lighting.) I teach that certain light types behave a particular way. Some
physics snob claims it’s all wrong and lectures me about angstroms,
electromagnetic wavelengths, photons, and wave theory.