See Like an Artist 3: Lighting

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In the last module we talked about value, and how light reveals form to us. The contrast and value is how we see form. Remember, different value different plane, a value change equals a form change. So now we're going to look at lighting. And that's really important. There's a couple different kinds of light you should be aware of.

What you're seeing here is an example of single source lighting that is light that comes from a spotlight, a softbox, or the sun and the key feature, and the characteristic is that the light and dark shapes are separate. They're almost like puzzle pieces, and you can separate them out into the family of lights and the family of darks. They're clear. Right, and that's good because we need clarity and simplification and When you have a nice balance of light shapes and dark shapes, it helps your design for portrait painting. More important than drawing details like eyelashes, nose holes and individual hairs is first dealing with the two dimensional shapes like triangles, circles, squares, etc. So if we look at any one of these, you can definitely see, you know, the triangles, the circles, right?

The square like shapes. Those like you can see this light shape. And that idea that there are like, dark and light puzzle pieces. There's a light puzzle piece, there's a light puzzle piece, right? Here's a dark puzzle piece. This whole part of the hair, right?

That's a dark puzzle piece right there. There's a puzzle piece. And I try to unify the darks by squinting and comparing. When you squint and compare, you know, those values get real clear. The details go away, you get your value structure or your tonal structure going. And then you can paint in details later after you've got a nice, good sculptural kind of representation, or at least first, its starts out with flat, 2d shapes.

That's your main concern. The triangles, circles, squares, no ovals, or variations of shapes. Okay, and we'll continue to talk about this and clarify this. So don't worry about it. If you don't get it right away. We'll definitely be prepared.

This. So again, you can see super clear shapes. And you want to squint down and reduce things, definitely to these kinds of, of shapes. You've got this shape, this shape, and you've got to make a decision. What's a light thing and what's a dark thing? So you kind of have to understand you have to understand value.

Once you understand value, you can start to make these distinctions. What's a light thing? What's a dark thing? and What shape is it? And then you can it makes it more manageable to get things down on the paper. Right.

So these, these are the dark shapes. These are the dark puzzle pieces interlocking with the light puzzle pieces pieces, which are over here on this side. And the best draftsman are the people who can see Clearly in terms of shape, dark and light puzzle pieces interlocking to form a picture. Okay, so let's move on to the second type of lighting, which is diffuse lighting. All right, this is an example of diffuse lighting. And what separates this from direct lighting is that diffuse lighting is fuzzy.

It's not so clear. One thing I forgot to mention about single source lighting is it's the best kind of lighting to show off the form. If we go back to this for a second, it shows the plane changes, and especially cast shadows. If we can find maybe a good cast shadow, even a shadow but it shows the plane change from front planes To an under plane, right then it kind of disappears but it comes out to a top plane starts to become a front plane and then turns under to a bottom plane. Right. And that cast shadow here in the nose.

That just shows this plane right here, the muzzle of the mouth right here. It shows that it's a plane protruding protruding out. What else can I find one I think that's good enough that it's definitely the best kind of lighting for showing the form. Now diffuse lighting on the other hand, not quite so much. It's fuzzy. There are lights and darks.

Right but it's the the local color of this hat separates it from the local color of the hair. Right? So what's the local color? Right, Her face is a light brown, and her hair is a dark brown so that local color separates out. But it's not really good in terms of showing form. Because it's almost like a Polaroid or a flash from your phone.

It just lights up everything from the front. And there's no real opportunity to describe the plane changes because everything's getting all the same amount of light from at once. But also, if you think of diffuse, instead of one light source, there's like maybe hundreds of difference of light sources because the sun is here. And let's say it's, the rays are going through and they go through the clouds and then they get scattered, right and they just go All which way, right? Completely scattered. And so the light sources, when it reaches down here, this person it's bouncing all around.

And so it's coming from every different direction, hundreds of different directions. And it's lighting up everything. So there's no real shadows. Okay, everything soft. Now, this is good in some situations like for beauty shots in photography, right are fashion, especially with women. You don't want to show wrinkles.

You don't want to show too many plane changes or Hard. Hard lines in the face. You want to show soft, round, blended things. So there's kind of diffused Light is good for beauty shots and showing someone making them look young. from a psychological point of view, it shows peace and tranquility and calmness. So there is that advantage to that.

But it's harder to do. Because again, there aren't any shadow shapes. And so the shadow shapes are the best thing to show the form. And if there isn't that, then you have to. There's a lot of passages, let's say like in here where there's nothing going on. Right in here.

In here, there's just no no detail of playing changes, no light and dark variation in the cheek even. How do you know when the nose starts and the cheek begins. You have something here which helps right but Everything, even the separation from the chin, the neck is just not there. So how do you create structure and sculptural drawing? If there isn't any plane changes, it's hard to do. So you have to kind of rely rely more on details.

Okay, let's show how this relates to squinting and comparing again, which is our main tool for solving this complexity of value and detail problem. Right from left to right. The first panel is obviously photo reference. If there's no squint, eyes wide open, you're just looking at the model. You've got a full range of values. Okay, it's fully real.

And it's sculptural, it's lifelike. You can see that the family Lights is separated clearly from the family of darks. And you have those puzzle pieces that you could almost cut out with scissors, right? There's so there's so clear. And again, that's good for us because it's easy and it's good press from a design standpoint to have that variety of value in there. Okay, if we go to the next panel here, that's a medium squib.

So your eyes are just halfway squinted, let's say. And you're getting right, you're narrowing down the value range, and you're getting less value that you have to deal with. And that's a good thing. I don't know if you can see it here. But we've got basically four values, right four values. You've got to in the light, so to On the light side, which is here, one and two.

So you have the light and then the half tone and the half tone is the value right before it turns into the shadow. It's that step before it goes into the core shadow that you have tone. So you have your your light and then you have your half tone. Right. So that's in the light, the family of lights. Okay, now in the darks.

This is where you might not be able to see it but there's the obviously dark and there are tones in here. that are a little bit lighter. So you have, you know, a shadow that's maybe, you know, 80% dark. And then you have a step lighter. That's maybe, let's say 70%. Dark.

Okay, and that's in the family of darks. So it's four values. This reduces down to four, four values. And that's what I like anything that's going to simplify all that complexity that we find here to here. I want that If we then go ahead and squint down II all the way, we can get ourselves to two values. Right?

You have the light side and the dark side. Right, the family of lights, the family darks. And the the puzzle pieces are very clear, you can cut them out. So this is this is where you go first. This is step one. Right?

You squint down almost all the way until almost everything's just in darkness. And you look for those values that stay dark. And you look for the values that stay light. And then you separate them, and you keep them separated, made it make it really clear and overstate it at this point. Make it Light and Dark puzzle pieces. Basically, you're flattening.

You're flattening out reality. So, you're taking something that's 3d here, and you're moving it over to 2d, that's your job. That's job number one. And then, in your drawing, you go back to 3d. I don't know if that sounds weird, but that's the process. It goes 3d to 2d, for our analysis there, and then we draw it sculpturally and we make it look 3d with values and light and edges.

Primarily here in this stage We're looking for shapes, clear light and dark puzzle pieces and values. So it's the shapes and values that we're looking for. Heavy squint here, two values. Then we get that down on the page. And then we move to here. Right?

This is for values. It's a medium squint. Right? We've got two values in the light and two values in the dark. We can handle that. It's efficient.

It's fast, and it's fun. Okay, I'll see you in the next video.

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