Lighting and Camera Usage

I knew that the lighting and camera perspective were going to be really important factors in my animation. Lighting in particular is a fundamental factor in many of the arts including photography, film making and game design. Throughout the process, I imagined that my character was for a 3D video game, so when choosing my lighting I had this in mind. ‘Lighting has the most influential role in your game’s world and can make or break the visuals.’ (Plural Sight, 2014). As all of my scenes/backgrounds and the colours that my characters clothes are are all very dark, to fit in with the dark/magical aesthetic of a witch, I knew that I would have to make sure that my character still would stand out, but that the scenes and backgrounds would still need to be illuminated somehow. In my first animation, I started off by trying out the different types of lights within Maya, and then rendering the frames to see how they would look. In the end I settled upon the ‘directional lights’ these allowed me to position them pointing onto my character (fig 1) I then kept rendering the current frame to see how bright it was going to be, until I had a good level of light around her. 

I also positioned one of the directional lights pointing down onto the floor of my scene, this really helped to bring out the starry pattern and helped to make the reflection much more prominent which I really liked. I then ended up using the same types and placements of the lighting in all of my animations (fig 2 and 3), because they seemed to work the best. Some, like fig 3 didn’t need quite as many lights, this was because I only really filmed the animation from the front perspectives. 

fig 1 – the lighting usage on animation 1

fig 2 – the lighting usage on animation 2

fig 3 – the animation usage on animation 3

I had already researched into using different camera perspectives, and had decided that using a fairly high angle perspective would be the best for my animations in particular as it is a less intimidating view, which suits my character well. For animation 1, I did my animation from two perspectives because it is a walk cycle I felt that it was important to show the viewer how it looks from the side too. Animation 2 is an idle cycle, and I wanted to keep it simple and just showed this from the front perspective, but again with the camera placed at a slightly higher angle. Finally, I wanted animation 3 to show two perspectives, as there was more going on in that animation. Again, I showed the animation from the front perspective and then also from the side and at a high angle.

References:

Plural Sight (2014) Light up your world: how lighting makes all the difference for games. Available online: https://www.pluralsight.com/blog/film-games/understanding-the-importance-of-lighting-for-games [Accessed 17/04/21].

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