View Full Version : Lighting a head properly

07 July 2005, 05:12 AM
First of all, I think lighting is subjective, but there must be a general way to light 3d heads correctly. I tried 3 point lighting, but I had mediocre results. Basically, I am wondering what seperates the good stills of 3d heads from the superb ones. Of course, the modeling quality, and texturing comes into play, but strictly.. the lighting, where can I learn how to do this "right". Right now, I might as well have a plugin that generates random lights in my scenes. Oh yeah, and I remember seeing something about using HDR images to light models.. I wonder how that works too.

Andrew W
07 July 2005, 06:31 AM
This question is a bit difficult to answer directly. All heads are different and will therefore require different lighting. But I'll offer a couple of suggestions. The first is post an image of your lighting which we can help you with and my second suggestion is to look at the work of great photographers like Horst P Horst, Yousuf Karsh, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. All these photographers also shoot in black and white which I think would also help you. If you ignore colour you can focus on lighting intensities rather than worrying about colour which can be distracting.

Hope that helps a bit.


07 July 2005, 08:37 AM
It's pretty hard to give you advice without an image of where you're at at the moment. It's certainly possible to get good results with a 3-point-type setup, and it's more a matter of practice and intuition than a set of hard-and-fast rules. Copying photographers is a good way to go. Copying close-ups from Pixar movies can also be quite helpful as it's generally a lot easier to reverse engineer the lighting when it's cg.

Andrew W
07 July 2005, 09:10 AM
Pixar movies can also be quite helpful as it's generally a lot easier to reverse engineer the lighting when it's cg.The photographers I listed are pretty well known for hard, directional lighting effects, which should translate easier to CG than most other photographic lighting techniques.

Somthing else worth looking at is American Cinematographer magazine which often features DoP's lighting diagrams. These can sometimes be very instructive.

Also, inevitably, at this point I have to plug John Alton's "Painting With Light" - still the best book on lighting yet written. I should put myself on a commission basis with the Alton estate...


07 July 2005, 11:47 AM
I'm not that skilled in lighting, but I suppose that It has a lot to do with that phrase I sometimes find in CG docs:
"Modelling with lights"
Lighting should reinforce some aspects of that face and darken some others, depending on the mood of the character
Or as J. Birn says: "motivated lighting"

07 July 2005, 03:41 PM
Sounds like lighting is pretty general. I'll give mimicing black and white photos a try. I was doing a similar thing with trying to replicate the lights in my room, but it is hard to take account for everything that is contributing to the light. The reflection of an orange container on my shelf, the plastic wrapper with light reflecting off of it. But I digress.. thanks for the replies people, and I'll see what I can do with the tips you guys mentioned.

07 July 2005, 04:04 PM
Lights from a higger angle add weigth to a face, because shadows are bigger.

07 July 2005, 11:56 AM
Good advice on lighting and character lighting comes from this guy:

Check out his book aswell, its fantastic.

07 July 2005, 06:02 AM
sweet.. thanks.

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