Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lighting Artist pt.2

Hey all,

Welcome back on the blog and I'd like to continue with my "special" on the job function called Lighting Artist. Last time I showed some color simplifications to visualize more of the color tones that are being used to set a certain mood in game environments. I haven't learned anything concerning color usage and composition during my study, but as I am writing these blog posts I am learning to understand these topics better. It's not a professionally written post but more or less the findings I discovered and my interpretation of artists' their work. If I'm wrong with any statements I make during these posts, please leave a comment!


Before I go any further with the lighting artist special, I just wanted to tell what I've been up to lately. This weekend I've been polishing my online portfolio. Mainly adding some extra screenshots for projects and adding some description. Also optimizing jpg's is a big thing! The smaller the images the quicker the site loads, I kept this in mind but of course you don't want your high poly mesh showing up as pixel art.

Another thing that has been on my mind, one of the biggest game stores in the Netherlands shutdown all of their physical stores and is only going to sell games through their web shop. I'm somewhat disappointed this is happening. I can't imagine any more game stores disappearing because of the economic crisis.

One last thing, I wanted to wish all the people at Trion Worlds who got laid off last week, the best of luck. I think it's a bit of a nasty move to lay off 40 staff members just 2 weeks before Christmas, unfortunately lay offs are a common trend in the games industry.

Lighting Artists pt. 2

The following examples show off how crucial color contrasts and silhouettes are to make a believable and good looking scene. With the example that I showed off last time, concerning Tomas Lidström his work, I took the liberty of showing the differences between the edited and original version. The color contrast is very noticeable at this point but also the importance of silhouettes are becoming more clear.

Halo 4

I'm a very big fan of the artwork in Halo 4, although I haven't played it myself (yet). The environments are highly detailed and has an incredibly awesomeness of varying atmospheres. Most of you have already read the article on the Environment Art on Halo 4 but here is the link anyways.

I used several screenshots of the game and took the first example a bit further. By adding some orange lines I'm pointing out one rule of composition. It's referred to by some as "edge flow" or "lines". This means the eyes are being drawn towards the point of interest because of all the edges that lead the viewers eyes to this PI (point of interest).

In the screenshot with the hallway, all the piping and  paneling is hinting the viewer towards the door at the end of the hall. Maybe it's even luring the player/viewer to let him explore what's behind that door.

With the organic/outside screenshot I added orange lines to landscape, I'm pointing out the necessity of having enough positive and negative space usage and the interest of shapes. For example the rocks have a very interesting and organic look and feel. From a distance it's already noticeable that the objects are rocks, that's why we're using silhouettes. Having shapes of objects be as clear a possible to the viewers eyes, e.g. the rough figure of rocks are very easily recognized -> makes the scene more believable.

You're probably asking, why the grey scaled images? Colors can be very distracting at times, by making them grey-scaled, I made it visually more understanding for myself. It helps to see where all the shadows and light sources come from, another important aspect is the sense of depth. Objects from far away become desaturated/blueish tinted.

The contrast becomes lower the further you look away from the "camera", the grey scales are your visual evidence it works. Of course this rule is mainly applied for outside environment/landscapes.

This blog post turned from just Lighting Artist also towards a few rules for compositions haha. I'm gonna end it here, I'm out of writing material even though I haven't discussed everything yet, but feel free to leave your thoughts down below.

One last line, "Happy Christmas and a happy New Year!".

Have a good day!


Stefan Groenewoud
Freelance 3D-artist

I do not own the rights concerning the work of Tomas Lidström nor 343 Industries, I am just sharing my thoughts and interesting artwork to other artists out there. This blog is used for educational purposes and/or tracking of Stefan Groenewoud his personal work.