Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lighting Basics

This post on lighting was borrowed from the Light & Shade section, which I hope to get to eventually. Reilly refers to these basic lighting conditions through out all aspects of the program, so I think it's important to add it now. I will return to this topic in more detail at a later date.

There are four basic lighting conditions to consider. Front Lighting, Form Lighting, Rim Lighting and Back Lighting.

Front Lighting:
In this lighting condition there is no shadow to help give us the illusion of form. It shows minute detail and local values well. This is perhaps the most challenging and least used lighting condition for painters.

Form lighting:
As its name implies, this lighting condition helps us define the illusion of three dimensions by giving us a light side and shadow side to create form. It is our best option for showing three dimensions. Typically three-quarters to two-thirds of the subject is illuminated by the light.

Rim Lighting:
In this lighting condition, the subject is three-quarters in the shadow and one-quarter in the light. The light is actually coming from behind the subject, creating a brilliant light. The lights are compressed within a two value range, typically between 8th value and 10th value, so the changes in the light are hard to determine. Most of the modeling is done in the now expanded shadow value range. Good for dramatic effect.

Back Lighting:
Similar to Rim Lighting but with out the edge light. Also good for drama. Be careful of over modeling.

This post concludes the painting section of Reilly's program for the time being. This section focused primarily on  indoor figure-painting. I've covered the essential topics, and may add a few things in the future. Since summer is beginning I want to start blogging the landscape part of the program.

© John Ennis 2011

Next Topic: Landscape program


paulthea said...

Dearest John,
Awesome lesson today - Thank you! I'm looking forward to the landscape lessons too ... so much to learn. ;)
Thank you again for sharing your knowledge so generously!
Delightfully Yours
Thea x x x

knoxblox said...


I've been following the blog from day one, and really appreciate what you're doing here (especially since I can't afford a stay in NYC to attend ASLNY).

Eagerly looking forward to the landscape lessons, as I am working outdoors a great deal this summer.