Siggraph '96 Lighting and Scene composition, still a must read

There is a ten years old Sigraph paper that it is still a must read for everyone interested in lighting & scene composition. It is a ten years old document (a lot of time in this industry) but still a great learning resource, one of the best on these matters IMO. It talks about lighting and scene composition and its psychological implications on the viewer.

  • Objectives of lighting

  • Directing the viewers’ eye. The study of composition.

  • Enhancing mood, scene and drama

  • Creating Depth

  • Revealing character personality and situation

  • Complementing Composition

  • Continuity [from shot to shot]

  • Film Considerations

  • Suggestions

  • Video 101 [when 3PT lighting stops working]

  • Basics

  • Suplementary lights

  • Ambient Light

  • Drop off

  • Materials [how materials react to light]

  • Lighting with a plan

  • Efficiency and simplicity

  • Image Impact

  • Integration

  • Tips and tricks

  • Lighting for compositing and integration (brief notes)

http://www.siggraph.org/education/materials/siggraph_courses/s96_course30.pdf (save as…)

http://img179.imageshack.us/img179/1166/sgcz5.jpg

Alvaro.

Wow, thanks Alvaro!! This is quite an impressive read. I, and others I am sure, are grateful that you posted the link.

Actually this is one of the very few long papers I have ever read about CG. I knew this before (however, I don’t really know from where I got it…) and enjoyed it a lot to read through. I can only agree with you here, definitely a very, very useful source of information for anyone who wants to improve his work… :slight_smile:

Thanks you so much, I’d print it last night for better reading.

Thank you very much. Lighting and composition never grows old, it’ll always be important. :slight_smile: Time to learn some more.

I’ve tried to download this for the last week and it keeps hanging on me. Does anyone know somewhere else I can get my hands on this?

Thanks for the comments, guys. The document is really a master piece.

I’ve tried to download this for the last week and it keeps hanging on me. Does anyone know somewhere else I can get my hands on this?

I don’t have problems to download it. Anyway, try this location:
http://www.zshare.net/download/s96_course30-pdf.html

Alvaro.

It certainly is a good primer for people looking to go to the next step in setting up scenes. Unfortunately, like so many documents, it doesn’t go into detail about lighting large scenes with buffered shadows.

I think @ndy was going to talk about this at the Blender Conference but if he did, it’s not on the video :frowning: It’s one area where I could really use a bit of experienced guidance.

Why do lighting tutorials always focus on small studio-type lighting setups where a circular spotlit area looks at home? I want to light large outdoor scenes where those damned circles of light are a pain in the backside.

Unfortunatelly, the document lacks a comprehensive index. I’ve made one, so you know what it is all about:

  • actualised in the first post

Unfortunately, like so many documents, it doesn’t go into detail about lighting large scenes

IMO, the document give away many clues about why a 3PT lighting is not enough, and what to do in those cases: Lighting education & trained intuition & compulsive cheating

Behind complex lighting setups there are simple concepts IMO.

Isn’t that why most CG features are set in rather closed spaces? Until Cars I can’t think of one that took place in a really large environment.

Lots of others have, like A Bugs Life, Shrek, Ice Age, etc. Those all have large open environments…

Anyway, getting back on topic, thanks for linking that paper, I’m printing it out to keep as reference material!

Not really. They only appear briefly in panning shots (with more often than not matte backgrounds). 99.9% of the action is in very small enclosed areas shielded by trees/bushes/walls and so on.

You thought you saw a big environment, but you didn’t. That’s the whole trick. The near and far could be (and in many cases are) rendered completely separately. Lots of game engines use the same trick.

EDIT: In the Incredibles famously the background team used Brazil to render, whereas the near field was all PRMan.

You thought you saw a big environment, but you didn’t. That’s the whole trick. The near and far could be (and in many cases are) rendered completely separately.

Oh. This is the solution I came up with for my Wu-Man animation. In fact, the little fence is actually there to hide the transition from 3D foreground to 2D background. My biggest battle however is managing the edge of a spotlight’s clipping range. Also, shadow only lamps effectively shed light because they shade areas outside the beam :confused:. What I’d really like is a buffered spotlight that ONLY affects the region within the light beam.

Anyway, I don’t want to drag this into a spotlight workshop. The Siggraph paper is well worth a read.

You thought you saw a big environment, but you didn’t. That’s the whole trick. The near and far could be (and in many cases are) rendered completely separately

Afaik, a good example of that is ICE AGE 2 the meltdown, where many of the backgrounds were both rendered separately or in many cases just composited matte paintings.