Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fiat Lux

Holy crap but I've been busy. It's not all been work work work, but even the fun bits eat up time. The main things occupying my time are getting our shots ready for a temp screening next week (just as well we don't celebrate Thanksgiving as we're going need all the time we can get) and also preparing two talks I'm giving one in a week or so to a big industry shindig in London and I'm delivering another one this Friday at a university whose computer graphics course is regarded by many as the best in the UK. I'm much more excited about the latter as I get more of a sense of fulfillment talking to students than I do talking to industry people since the former might be appreciative of some inside knowledge.

I spent all Sunday preparing notes and slides for the lecture, which wasn't my intention. I'd planned to spend about 4 hours putting it together but as these things tend to, time ran away with me and I finished at about midnight. The lecture I'm doing is on creative lighting in computer graphics, something which a lot of CG courses are none too good at. I'm lucky because I started out as a fine artist and went through all the training that comes with that. These days, it seems, students are encouraged to specialise much sooner and so they miss out on the broad brush strokes of visual learning and frankly I see that in their work. My plan is to give them 40 minutes potted art theory and history focusing on light and then colour and round it out with looking at a specific example. It was making the slides for the "specific example" that took the time.

The idea was to set up a scene and try and light it in a few ways to show what emotions and moods can be created with lights alone including some not so successful ideas and explanations about why they don't work. I decided to use a model of the goddess Athena I have and set her in an alcove as this makes the lighting challenge more difficult as you don't have much free freedom to place your lights as if she were freestanding. To complicate matters further, she's holding a spear which can cast nasty shadows reducing the freedom of light placement further.

Anyway here's how it would look if you lit it with just a camera flash mounted right on top of the camera:



And here are a few different takes on lighting her:








I'm pleased with the last one. I hope the students get what I'm trying to tell them. The talk's on Friday afternoon so I'm bolting out of work at 12, heading to the station, travelling for two hours, getting a cab to the college, delivering my talk, getting back in a cab, another two hours in a train and then back into work at about 7 if we have another conference call to L.A. And then I shall rest.

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Blogger Churlita said...

That's really interesting. I love the last one. I'm sure they will too. That's a lot of travel to give the talk. I hope you're well compensated for it.

6:33 pm  
Blogger Mr Atrocity said...

I won't get a cent for doing it but I don't mind, lots of people were very good to me when I was a student and I think I owe them to give something back to the next generation. I'd like to lecture more than I do but it's not possible with the hours I work.

8:02 pm  

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