Power of lighting.!!
The real key to fine lighting is not only to simulate reality, but to communicate a proper mood and feeling to the viewer. We have to know more than just basic techniques; we need to have understanding of how certain looks communicate to viewers. So we need to develop an artistic eye for light and shadow and of course the techniques to reproduce them.
We try to create the illusion of shape, depth and size in a tiny flat plane (2D) which is our Render Window, that’s why we light our scenes right.!? J well, it’s important to understand that while lighting we are not really trying to capture what our eyes see.. We are actually trying to capture the mind’s interpretation of what our eyes see!Describing the lighting process to someone who's never been involved with film, photography, or CG is difficult.
An artist might say, “I design 3D lighting for film and games,” but what does that tell someone who's experience with lighting is limited to either the sun or the light switch.!! J
Most people experience lighting very passively in their day to day lives.
So when they see a Pixar film, they acknowledge that someone had to build those characters and sets and someone had to animate them. But very rarely does a member of the mainstream audience walk out of the theater and say to his friend, "Wow, did you see the lighting in such-and-such establishing shot?" It was genius!"
No, if they comment on any aspect of the CG, it's most often film's character & environment design, or it's level of realism.
But very few people in this industry realize that lighting is one of the most important and challenging aspect film and CG. Most people that I’ve met so far just focus on building the model, rigging, and pay more attention to animation. Animators take most of the time in doing it and leave us a limited time to light those shots and in the end animators complain the movie is not looking good.!! Well, lighters should thank these people because they atleast know why the movie is not looking.
No matter how good the characters are and the animation is bad lighting can really screw up everything.
Lighting is the most overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of the entire computer graphics pipeline.
You could be a rock-star modeler, and literally create the best 3D model in the CG industry without a good lighting design you simply won't end up with a good render.
Lighting has as much power over the final look of an image or animation as any other aspect of the pipeline. A great deal of an image's color, mood, atmosphere are derived from the lighting design.
Think about it—simply by altering the hue, intensity, and placement of your lights, we can drastically alter a scene's overall impact.
We can change an environment from night to day by adding a few lights. You can change the mood of an image from suspenseful and mysterious to bright and cheerful simply by adding some warm hues, some saturation, and a few fill lights. You can make a portrait render "pop" by remembering to include a rim light.
A firm understanding of lighting increases the power of your creative expression.
Beginning CG artists are almost as guilty as mainstream audiences. Because modeling and animation are the two most "obvious" facets of a 3D production, these are the things that students and hobbyists focus on when they're just starting out.
It's fine to put all your effort into those things at the very beginning, but if you want to Show it to someone, it's incredibly important to invest some time in learning how to create interesting, dynamic, lighting for your renders.
I recently watched a lighting session by Criss Morris (http://www.3dtotal.com/index_news_detailed.php?id=10071&type=2) and he says,
“ The greatest model and the most amazing animation all looks pretty mediocre if you just throw a couple of lights on it and render.!! And the irony is that you know, a mediocre model and some decent animation can look fantastic if it’s really well lit and rendered”
That's what we need to understand as long as we are in CG industry.
So a humble request to my fellow artists is, if you're a beginner, or if you're in the middle of building a demo reel, do yourself a favor. Set aside a few days, or even a few weeks, and focus your attention on getting your model or animation look realistic, interesting and readable with lighting as well. I promise you'll end up with a ‘Killer Reel’ because of it!