1st Edition

Aesthetic 3D Lighting
History, Theory, and Application

ISBN 9781138737570
Published March 12, 2018 by Routledge
238 Pages 450 Color Illustrations

USD $54.95

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Book Description

Aesthetic 3D Lighting: History, Theory, and Application delves into the history, the theory, and the practical and aesthetic application of lighting in the fine arts and 3D animation.

In this book, animation industry veteran and lighting expert Lee Lanier examines the importance of lighting and its ability to communicate information to the viewer. Lee examines the history of lighting as applied to the fine arts, film, photography, and 3D animation. He discusses the use of light color, light location and direction, and light shadow types to recreate specific locations and to generate moods. He includes guides for successful lighting in 3D animation. Software-agnostic examples lead you through useful 3D lighting set-ups. Chapter-long case studies step you through more complex 3D lighting projects in Autodesk Maya.

An accompanying eResource (www.routledge.com/9781138737570) features 3D model files, scene files, and texture bitmaps, allowing you to practice the discussed techniques in Autodesk Maya and many other 3D programs.

The lighting techniques covered in this book include:

  • History of lighting as used in the fine arts
  • The scientific mechanisms of light
  • Light types and light application in 3D programs
  • Light qualities including shadows variations
  • Basic and advanced 3D lighting approaches
  • 1-, 2-, 3-point, naturalistic, and stylistic lighting techniques
  • Replication of real-world lighting scenarios and locations
  • Overview of advanced 3D lighting and rendering systems

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The Importance of Light and Lighting

Chapter 2: The History of Lighting in the Arts

Chapter 3: Lighting in 3D

Chapter 4: Emulating Specific Light Sources

Chapter 5: Working with PBR Systems

Chapter 6: Reproducing Locations and Lighting Characters

Chapter 7: Designing Stylistic Lighting

Case Study 1: Copying a Renaissance Still Life

Case Study 2: Lighting a Complex Night Interior

Case Study 3: Lighting an Animated Animal Character

Epilogue: The Future of 3D Lighting

Appendix: Visual Lighting Glossary

Appendix: Common Question Index


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Lee Lanier has worked as a professional computer animator and VFX (visual effects) artist since 1994. He has more than 70 features, shorts, music videos, trailers, and commercials to his credit. Lee has written a dozen high-end software books that have sold more than 35,000 copies, has authored VFX training videos for LinkedIn and lynda.com, has taught VFX compositing at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood, and is a member of the Visual Effects Society. A strong supporter of the arts, Lee co-founded the Dam Short Film Festival and is an avid painter and illustrator. You can see his work at beezlebugbit.com and diabolica-art.com.


"A comprehensive look at the aesthetic development and theory behind 3D lighting practices. This book can be an essential guide to anyone looking to understand the development of lighting styles in 3D-animated films."

—A. Newman, School of Film and Animation, Rochester Institute of Technology

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