Laws of Light: Creating Dimension and Texture

Laws of Light: Creating Dimension and Texture


Light is a lot of things, but we know two
things for sure. It creates texture and dimension. So let’s talk about it. Photoflex is giving away a great starlight
lighting kit this month, so get over to theslantedlens.com and sign up so you can win that kit. Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan, today on The Slanted
Lens, we’re going to do our next segment in the laws of light series. We’re going to talk about dimension and texture. You know, I haven’t said this enough in the
series but the reason we talk about all these principles, the reason we’re talking about
light and what light will do in an image or in a video is because we’re trying to take
a three-dimensional experience and turn into a one-dimensional experience. So as you look at something in one dimension,
you want to feel the three-dimensionality of the experience, so light has gotta create
dimension. It’s gotta give you a sense of depth. It’s gotta give you texture in order to see
and to feel the texture that you would see in a three-dimensional experience, but in
a one-dimensional world, light is going to have to communicate that. So let’s get started on texture and dimension. If we’re going to look at texture and dimension,
then we have to understand camera view. Camera view is the line from the camera to
the subject matter. The closer you get your light to camera view
the less dimension and the less texture you’re going to have. So let’s move that light right straight to
camera view. Now, remember, camera view is not just a vertical
line up and down. It’s a straight line, so the closer the light
is up and down, side to side to camera view the flatter the light is going to be on her
face. It’s almost impossible to get the light directly
at camera view because it’s going to be in front of the camera. We can put it above it slightly and that would
help, but Jordan’s help me out here so there’s camera view. If he raises this light up now and gets it
up higher on her face, he’s already moved it off camera view. He’s moved it up. And as it’s moved up there about 35 degrees,
he’s now given a beautiful light on her face. You got a nice drop shadow. You got that nice butterfly light on her face. He’s moved off camera view up higher and we’ve
created dimension. No longer are her cheeks flat. Her cheeks now have highlight or have shadows
and highlights. And so we have a very beautiful look at her
face. So if he takes this light from above camera
view to below camera view, it still has texture, it still has a dimension because there are
shadows off her nose. There’s definitely shadows being created here. It, of course, communicates more of a horror
or a scary light on her face, but it’s not on camera view any longer. So if we come back up to that 45 above, most
people start out with their camera view here and off about 35 or 45 degrees off from the
left of camera. So move it over to there and put it back on
our stand there, and we can bring that light back up. Most people work in this area from zero to
45 degrees mostly because it’s just easy. That’s where you can put the light. You put on your camera. You put it out on the floor. You move around that area, but it’s very close
to you. I think something magical happens when you
move the light past 90 degrees or at least past 45, so bring this light around as we
go around into somewhere into there. Now we started what’s called a split light
on her face. We’re getting absolutely dimension. We’re seeing the highlights. We’re getting a turn, but if she’ll turn her
face just slightly into the camera. Turn a little more and look at the light there. Look that direction. Now we get a beautiful light on her face. I think it’s one of the prettiest places to
put a light, it’s just past 45. You can even go a little further with it there
around. And now we get a gorgeous light in her face. Once the light moves beyond 90 degrees in
the image and comes behind your talent, there’s all kinds of dimension, there’s all kinds
of texture it creates in the back of the talent, but your camera can’t see it. It’s all happening back here. It’s just away from the camera. So texture and dimension are always there
it’s just you’ve got to get them into the place where it will allow your camera to see
them. That means when you’re outside, you can’t
move the sun. You can’t move that building that’s reflecting
the light in, but you can move your talent. You can rotate your talent. You’ve got to create a dance between what’s
the background and what’s my talent and what do I do to move her into position so you get
a nice light on her face and let the background look beautiful as well. Okay, now we’ve lost a lot of dimension in
the side of her face. There is no…it’s all shadow. We’ve lost dimension their hair. She doesn’t separate from the background. The first thing we can do to bring some of
that dimension back is to add a fill card. As we bring this fill card in, it’s going
to create…start to create dimension once again. We’ll see her hair starts to reveal itself. We’ll start to see shadows start to open up. Sometimes this isn’t enough, you know, depend
on how close we can get this to her…getting pretty close and that starts to open that
up. It’s like that starts to reveal the dimension
in her face, give us some line on the back of her hair. If I need to, I can turn on another light. I’m going to bounce this one out of the ceiling
and try to keep it off from her. And the dangerous thing about a second light,
you don’t want to it be something that’s looking directly at her because now we have two key
lights. We create two sets of shadows, and it looks
very unnatural to the eye. You wanna have one key light, one set of shadows. The safest thing to do is to use a reflector
which pushes the light back into her face. We can use a secondary source, but in this
case, I’m going to bounce into the ceiling which is going to give us the dimension on
the side of her face but not create a second set of shadows on her face. So there is a beginning of dimension and now
let’s move on to texture. In this example, we’re going to take a look
at how we create texture moving the light off from camera view. So light right now is dead on camera view. We’re looking this piece of paper that’s all
crumpled and it’s absolutely flat. So as you move the light around, move it around
there, Jordan, you see how the texture starts to just jump off from this page. And all of a sudden, this turns into a mountainous
landscape. It’s a fabulous example of the light goes
around, goes to almost a 90 degree angle, and now we have incredible texture. As it comes back to the camera, it flattens
all that texture out and the texture is gone. So if he moves down off from camera view,
we’re going to get that same texture starts to be created. We get all these great shadows that fall up. We get a fabulous look. So if he comes up from camera view, again,
we create great texture on the piece of paper. As it gets higher and higher, we get that
sense of shadows on the page. So texture is a matter of placement of light
compared to camera view. You get dimension as you move the light off
from camera view. You also get more texture. So if you’re photographing a product, something
you want to see texture in, you’re not going to want that light to be close to camera view. You’re gonna want that light around and away
from camera view. If you’re photographing a person, somebody
that has very deep wrinkles and they don’t want to see this, and I shot a lot of celebrities
for NBC, a lot of older celebrities at NBC, and they absolutely love light that was pretty
flat. Well, the flatter your light gets, it’s closer
to the camera angle of view. So I would get that light above the camera
down a little bit, then I’d put a reflector underneath, and would soften up the shadows
and just look fabulous. If you’re working on someone who has very
weather-beaten skin and you wanna see all those wrinkles, then move the light away from
camera. Get it off from camera view. You’re going to reveal all those wrinkles. It’s going to be a great fabulous black and
white portrait because you need that kind of contrast to be able to communicate. So away from camera view reveals the wrinkles
or the texture in a person’s face. So there’s a look at texture and dimension. I hope that’ll help you understand a little
better on where you should place your lights and be brave, get past that 90 degrees. Get lights a little more from the behind so
that it gives you more interest, more dimension. Learn to fill the dimension to create even
deeper dimension as you fill that dimension and create a three-dimensional experience
in a one-dimensional world. That’s our goal, three-dimensional experience
in a one-dimensional world. So keep those cameras rolling, keep on clicking. If you have ever been interested in stop motion
photography, then I’ve got the perfect thing for you. Trisha Zemp has teamed up with us to create
a download called Stop Motion Basics for Beginners. Get over to theslantedlens.com. Get your downloaded today. It will answer all your questions. Make sure you subscribe to The Slanted Lens
and sign up for our newsletter and join our Facebook group. We’ve got a lot going on over here.

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