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RobynRose's avatar

Let's Draw Lighting Angles


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Count the shadows, Donna. Stay in the light, and always count the shadows.

Clockwise from the Top left:

- Diagonal from the bottom left
- Directly in front of me
- Diagonal from the side right
- Upper right
- Backlit from the right
- Side left somewhat close to the light source
- Bottom left somewhat close to the light source
- Bottom left VERY close to the light source
- Hand stock with gloves
- looking over the should turning degrees
- Stock photos on a bike
- climbing up a ladder
- expressions with the eyes closed
- poses with arrows and a quiver
- dramatic lighting with facial expressions
- Throwing poses (pokeball)
- Sleeping photos with pillows and blankets
- leaning against a wall, various poses
- Guns / holding a gun
- Let's draw falling from the front
- left-handed archery
- sitting / kneeling poses
- twin light sources
- slouched over a desk
- kneeling / crouching
- perspective from below, running, kicking, leaning casually
- unarmed combat
- crossbow
- Swinging on a swing (with a flat seat, not a round seat)
- Floating poses, but with a sword / staff / shield like an guardian or archangel.
- boxing
* casual poses, walking, eating, talking, passing
- Presenting something ala Vanna in Wheel of Fortune (low, medium and high)
- hands, feet, gun poses
- Emotions from different angles


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Hey, who turned out the lights?
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TessasART94's avatar

It's crazy how lighting effects one's appearance! This is awesome :)

dacringeyfangirl's avatar

Oof this helps A LOT

Fawks666's avatar
:star::star::star::star::star: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star: Vision
:star::star::star::star::star: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star: Technique
:star::star::star::star::star: Impact

These are just amazing, you are quite the beautiful woman. These have really helped me with shading on the face and neck area.

The only thing I would potentially suggest if there was some way to show on the picture where your light source is. For example maybe a red dot in the top right corner if the lamp is up in the top right corner. That will show, at least for me, where the light is coming from so I can be able to translate that into my own pictures for current and future references.

Thank you for these, they are very helpful! <img src="…" width="15" height="15" alt=":)" title=":) (Smile)"/>
Lulie's avatar
:star::star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Overall
:star::star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Vision
:star::star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Technique
:star::star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Impact

It would be nice if you had some typical attractive portrait lighting setups (e.g. rembrandt, butterfly, split, etc.), instead of somewhat random/unusual ones like from below. The sun never comes from below, so any lighting from below looks weird to us. At the moment, most of them are from below, so these could only represent rare unnatural lighting situations like a lamp or a camp fire.

Great for doing this, though. Good model, clear lighting.

NOTE: I give a default of 3 stars for everything in critiques because I don't think the star system is meaningful. (I have no idea what 'vision' or 'impact' means and I don't see how it's relevant to art.)
Laramuda's avatar
Sorry for this late comment, but I feel that you're assuming all light is natural light and should therefore always be higher.

Most lighting is given for dramatic effect- whether it be subtle or intense- and won't always be sunshine/standing lamps.
Lulie's avatar
Ah, thanks! You're right, I underrated the use of unnatural light. While I did mention that it could be useful for unusual situations of unnatural light, you make a good point that lighting is often done for dramatic effect, where these would be useful.
dsol2531's avatar
I don't like the star system either, but lets just say vision is really an odd way of saying composistion, and impact might be the over all effect the image has, i.e. did you stop, click on the thumbnail, and how long where you on the page?
jennytan's avatar
I disagree with saying its rather niche, its only as niche as you want it to be. There's so much you can do with these references and it's not necessary to follow the lighting to a T, a demon hunter (hello diablo) walking through a dark forest, a sci fi alien lair, the possibilities are endless and just because it's unusual does not make this any less helpful.

Great for study of lighting, great refs my thanks to Kxhara.
Lulie's avatar
Niche isn't bad! It just means it's for specialised purposes (like the ones you said) instead of what most artists happen to draw most of the time. Like I've said, it's very useful for what it is, I just thought the photographer should be aware that it is niche use rather than general.

The thing about lighting is that it's very difficult to predict/imagine accurately, with all the subtle shades and ways it twists around form, so getting a reference that matches your lighting as closely as possible is useful. (Either that or a super-good understanding of 3D form and perspective, and know what shape the thing is intimately. Most of us fudge it because it would take so much training to do this accurately.) It's not trivial to just change the lighting (at least not while having it look realistic).
jennytan's avatar
hmm, it appeared that you were stating it as a flaw though and most of your responses below seemed like you were just defaulting to using the explanation of "niche" and I felt that was rather limiting.

but it is good that we're on the same understanding that niche isnt bad.

I'm aware that lighting is very difficult to predict and imagine accurately even for the masters, Im on my own journing studying it- but these photos make a great study and at times are better than nothing, so thankyou for pointing out what I already know?
Lulie's avatar
Yes better than nothing (and as we agreed fantastic for those niche uses that might be hard to find clear reference pictures for), but the reason I commented in the first place was because artist asked for critique.

I mean arguably, this is just a marketing issue -- if it said something like 'reference lighting for niche situations', I'd have no crits because that's what it's designed for. I just mention because it looks a bit like accident and the photographer may not have realised that having the light low implies it's a rare kind of light.
jennytan's avatar
urgh forgot to add, the items i listed are really not specialised purposes, if you take a look at the things that Feng zhu and the greats draw, I mean...sci fi lair, fantasy these things are common. So throwing in another perspective there. For concept designs these are great, and really not that"niche" per se.
Shazzberry's avatar
Well think of fire pits shining up on a dark night, or kids holding flash lights up to their faces, or even an explosion that flashes across the body.
Lulie's avatar
Ya, true. It is very useful, just niche.
Earthymoon's avatar
It's a drawing study, not a photographic study.
Lulie's avatar
Yes, I'm saying it would be more useful for studying drawing if the lighting was more typical of situations you'd normally want to draw.

It also would allow artists to internalise attractive lighting better, so make more attractive pictures. The reason it's called Rembrandt lighting is no coincidence -- he chose that because it was flattering. Portrait lighting was invented long before cameras were.
Earthymoon's avatar
I think the point of the study is to show the way directional light acts on a subject. The interaction of light, planes and shadows.
sleepcircle's avatar
On the other hand, something this lighting DOES reveal are core shadows and forms via the terminator and occluded areas, so while perhaps not a 'portrait lighting' study it is a WONDERFUL study for getting a feel of the depth and shape of the upper body.
Lulie's avatar
Yes, true. It's really well-done -- my only gripe is I wish the light were just a bit higher for most of them. (Doing that would still allow the form to show.)

And these would be very useful for people trying to internalise what light looks like in situations like camp fires, lamps, that sort of thing.

I'm just saying, be aware that this is a niche use.
It's still somewhat useful for 'normal' lighting situations, but much less than if the lighting matched the lighting you want to draw.
HighVoltar's avatar
:star::star::star::star::star: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star: Vision
:star::star::star::star::star: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star: Technique
:star::star::star::star::star: Impact

I like this set of photo's.

I've been looking on the internet (google images) as well as Deviation for different shadow use of live people, but this has been hard to find. I'm still learning the art of shadowing with my own artwork, as I'm self teaching myself. Having a live person photo or clipart that already makes use and has the shadow in the direction I have my "sun" makes it easier to create my working picture or artwork.

I hope more photographers will follow your example and create more, as not every photo has to be in the "perfect" light.
SaMiYumiI18's avatar

So useful! Thank you!

Travinity's avatar
Shadowing is as as much critical as Good drawing.You thoroughly gave us this Very Good Tutirial:) Take my Praise.
Imdraproc's avatar
Thank you for this good and clean sample range of lighting and shadow angles.
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