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Top Light Off on How to train you dragon (4 replies and 2 comments)

chrisbrejon
7 months ago
chrisbrejon 7 months ago

Hello Mr Deakins,

sorry to bother you but I was reading the excellent Siggraph talk» by Dave Walvoord where you are mentioned.

I was very interested, not to say "stunned",by the removal of the top light on the characters.

I have used the top light on characters in CG for the past 15 years. Especially for exterior lighting where it can add some directionality and shape to a face. (see attached file) It really reinforces the sky without getting too flat.

So I am really interested by your motivation of removing the top light. Did you want to try something new or different ? Did you have a bad experience with it ?

I am always curious on experimenting things and I did not expect this to be honest. So different and interesting from what I am used to !

Thanks for your answer,

Christophe

 

https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/topLight.jpg
Roger Deakins
7 months ago
Roger Deakins 7 months ago

There is top light and then there is top light. I understand that it is useful when you are creating a 'real' 360º environment light but to make it the primary source for a character is not always so great. I find that there is a tendency now in animation to try to mimic an environment lighting that may be realistic but is not necessarily the most complimentary to the shot. For instance, do you like the effect of the light on the face from the top light in the image you post? In the end it is all subjective.

chrisbrejon
7 months ago
chrisbrejon 7 months ago

Thank you for your quick answer. Much appreciated. Yes I can confirm you the trend in CG nowadays is to mimic a physically-based environment for our rendering.

There is an interesting interview in the asc mag about the Lion King »where Rob Legato uses this expression : "it might be mathematically correct to place the sun where it would actually be, but it’s not artistically correct."

I found this to be particularly true. In CG we care a lot (too much?) about physically correct. We do not hear "artistically correct" very often on the floor.

I have made two quick renders with :

1- an "HDRI only" makes generally our renders look flat. 

2- an HDRI +Top Light help to give back some shape in a natural way.

Thanks,

Christophe

 

https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/skyAndTop.jpg
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/skyOnly.jpg
Roger Deakins
7 months ago
Roger Deakins 7 months ago

Yes, in live action you can never shoot two shots with the sun exactly in the same place so, you scout your locations, work out your shots and shoot each with the sun in a different spot that best suits each particular camera angle. There is one film in particular that is totally back lit and that is Dick Lester's 'Robin and Marion'. It looks great but it doesn't make an sense if you really stop and think about the angle of the sun from shot to shot .... but you don't.

I was working on a recent animated film and we looked at the 'real' light in a forest as captured on a 360º dome and transferred onto our scene. Of course it was all green and mushy! It was the real thing but it didn't suit our scene.

sameerdesh
7 months ago

Can you tell us what film this is?

Roger Deakins
7 months ago
Roger Deakins 7 months ago

That was when we were in prep and doing lighting tests for 'How to Train your Dragon'.

sameerdesh
7 months ago

Ah, thanks Roger!

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