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Glasgow, United Kingdom
An illustrator and games artist living and working in Scotland. I have various hobbies: coding, travel, art and games; and I enjoy writing about them.

18 February 2012

Introduction into Light and Colour: Sunlight

Even though it's way past the pitch week, and I spend hours in the library and am permanently rushed off my feet. There isn't much to show yet. Most of the stressful running around is to do with presentations, essays, getting books and securing cameras. So I decided to share a little bit of my research with you guys. Let's learn together!

To quote the amazing "Colour and Light: A Guide to Realist Painter" by James Gurney, "A clear sunny day has three different systems of illumination: the sun itself, the blue sky and the reflected light from illuminated objects. The last two sources of light derive entirely from the first and should be subordinated to it". The cast shadow of the sunlight always contains the compliment, i.e. orange sun will cast a blue-ish shadow. The shadow from a skylight is blue and soft, but becomes more grey if it's overcast. In fog the shadows become closer to the tonal value of the sunlight. This is shown in the example below. The center light is orange, the cast shadow is therefore blue.

Anyway, the concepts I told you about are illustrated there. The is warm orange, the cast shadow is therefore blueish, and so is the object shadow. On the top, even though it isn't labelled, you can see a tiny highlight of the sky light.

Here's another study. This one I did a few months back, but tonight decided to go back and look at again. I fixed it, and it seems to work very well now.

Cast shadows are still a little bit of a mystery to me, and you can see it being slightly out of place in the Orange study. But I'm getting there slowly.

By the way the book I already mentioned, "Colour and Light: A Guide to Realist Painter" by James Gurney is amazing. I recommend buying it and reading every word.

Next time we'll look at Overcast lighting.


PS: An awesome resource to check out for a detailed tutorial: Itchy Animation: LIGHT - a detailed tutorial