Sam Neilson's Lighting for Story and Concept Art
Sup AC dudes. You may not be aware, but schoolism now has a $145 yearly subscription model. This means for a relatively reasonable fee, you can get in there and view the mountain of content they have. These classes are self directed, so I thought it would be nice to try to pick a course and take it simultaneously with people. The real downside of going for the self directed model is isolating yourself from feedback and you never really have to commit to the assignments. by making it a group effort, you get to reclaim some of that value. Let's participate together! Sign up for the self directed course here: http://www.schoolism.com/school.php?id=29
We haven't made an exact schedule, but currently @BrainPaint
are in the course, along with and I'm trying to rally a few other folks to sign up.
Anyway, I'm still constructing this post, but let me post the lesson plan for the course:
Lesson 1 - Lighting Process
The most common question asked to skilled artists is, "What is your process?" The answer is almost never the same between any two artists, and yet each different process can be used to produce stunning results. Is this because process is irrelevant, or is an artist's unique process an important part of his or her equally unique ability? In this lecture, I will teach you about the process of painting light and surface, and how to tailor this to your personal strengths so that you can efficiently and consistently hit a higher bar of quality. I will describe multiple approaches and techniques for painting lighting, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each. We will determine what type of artist you are, and how to recognize and overcome your weaknesses. Assignment: Paint a simple scene a few times, using the processes you've chosen from the lesson.
Lesson 2 - Value Mastery
Well-executed values and contrast is the most essential part of any great painting. Not surprisingly then, mastering this is a lifelong process for any serious artist. In this lecture, I will teach you how to use values accurately while controlling your audience's interest. You will learn advanced value composition and how to use good design to juggle the complicated interaction between lighting and the other elements in any scene you are painting. Assignment: Design a lighting scheme that creates an appealing value composition, and then paint the scene using only values.
Lesson 3 - Color mastery
A beautiful color composition can feel almost magical, but it's a fickle enchantment that is hard to understand and control. This lecture is something I have always felt should be taught in art school: an advanced color theory class that teaches how to harness the power of color in designing and lighting a scene. So, in this lecture, I will show you how to use color in a way that is accurate, harmonious, and balanced. We will talk about how the concept of color relativity applies to color schemes and gamut masks. You will learn how color harmony and color balance relate to color composition, as well as how color composition and value composition relate to each other. Assignment: Paint a scene composed of colored objects under colored lighting using the gamut mask technique.
Lesson 4 - Lighting characters
This lecture focuses on lighting characters in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible. I will talk about common schemes that photographers use to light people, and how lighting schemes will differ between lighting for the face versus lighting for the body. We will discuss ways in which an artist can modify these patterns to create appealingly lit portraits and character sheets. We will examine the differences between descriptive and artistic lighting, and how to use lighting to support a character's personality. We will also talk about how to handle clothing under light and how different materials modify the character being lit. Assignment: Paint a character design with appealing lighting that reflects that character's personality.
Lesson 5 - Lighting objects and environments
What is the best way to light something that doesn't have a face or emotional intent? This lesson focuses on how lighting inanimate things is both similar to and different from lighting characters. I will talk about how appealing object design differs from character design. Furthermore, we will discuss how lighting can be used to amplify and enhance the most appealing properties of surface, form, character, and layout for inanimate objects and environments. We will examine lighting schemes for both open and enclosed environments, and how to give an environment the equivalent appeal of a character design. Assignment: Use the ideas from this lecture to light a simple environment while imbuing it with character-like attributes.
Lesson 6 - Surface design
The very best story and concept work considers how material and color distribution interact with lighting, and describes these ideas in a way that makes for interesting visuals for the project being created, whether it's a movie, game, book, etc. In this lecture, I will focus on how to design and render attributes in combinations that maximize character or object appeal. I will cover special considerations that must be taken into account for both specific and general lighting when designing surfaces. We will review surface attributes and talk about some principles that I have used in my own concept work for designing surfaces that feel interesting and iconic. I will teach you how to apply narrative to these choices, and also discuss how audience and purpose should affect the treatment and style of materials. Assignment: Paint a character design with local colors, values, and materials within a simple lighting scheme.
Lesson 7 - Expressive effects and atmosphere
Atmospheric effects are really fun to paint and can add to your work considerably if you know how to use them. My goal for this lecture is to teach you how to control atmospheric effects in order to add drama and support your painting. I will review some important technical components of atmosphere and talk about how technical considerations shape the artistic expression of atmosphere. We will discuss some ways in which we can apply caricature and abstraction to these properties of atmosphere, and how we can use atmosphere and water to affect the mood and energy of a piece. I will demonstrate how atmosphere can be used to affect the lighting of a scene as well as how it can help control composition. Assignment: Paint a scene and make it feel "epic" through the effective use of lighting, water, and atmosphere.
Lesson 8 - Lighting for narrative and emotion
The ability to use light to evoke a mood is useful for both concept and story work. In this lecture, I will teach you how to create a mood or tell a story through the use of lighting and surface together. I will talk about differences between narrative lighting in theater, film, and games. We will discuss how to create or resolve visual conflict, and how to handle lighting for action versus reaction. You will learn how to use light motifs within a lighting matrix to develop appropriate emotional lighting for any scene. Assignment: Paint a character in a scene that uses appropriate lighting and materials to communicate a strong emotion.
Lesson 9 - Communicating Theme with Light
This is where all the ideas of the class come together to create magic. In this lecture, I will help you understand theme and how it relates to story, premise, setting, and character. We will talk about how to make theme a useful tool that can drive and unify every visual decision of a piece, including emotional tone. I will go over some ways in which audience and purpose will modify theme as well. We will explore theme creation, and how different themes can be interpreted through lighting and surface. You will learn how your theme can guide your lighting decisions, helping them make more sense and be more appealing. Assignment: Paint a scene using a theme to guide and unify the decisions you make in every aspect of the piece.
Anyone who is thinking about taking some classes in the new year, consider taking the plunge with us! @F87
I'd love for you to participate if you can.