Cut out animation, best practices for lighting

I am working on a cutout animation set. I have not done this before, so I would like to know what the best way would be to setup lighting for external and internal scenes.

For example, I need a nice outdoor summer scene, sunny and etc. The objects look like cutouts intentionally.

I want to make sure I don’t have too many shadows that are out of place and that I don’t have too many lighting gradients on the objects that are mostly flat and uniform in color or texture.

I need bright even lighting. What kind of settings (approximately) should the objects have and etc.

Any recommendations on this would be nice.

I think if you’re rendering with BI (Blender Internal) then, a simple AO with ‘Add’, plus some ‘Environment Lighting’. I’d avoid an actual light source. But it depends on what style you’re after - I’d be thinking of something like Pokoyo (http://www.pocoyo.com). This way it would be also very quick to render - you may have to adjust the Approximate/Raytrace to see what quality is best for you.

You could set your floor/ground to only display shadows also, but it depends whether it’s textured I guess. :wink:

But you must remember, that if you are using planes with an alpha to achieve the cutout look (which is typical) that AO will not function correctly. If your cutouts are True curves in the shape of the cut out you are ok. AO can not raytrace through an alpha so any shadows cast by the plane will be long and plane like.