Saturday, May 22, 2010

Portrait Lighting: Broad

When a face is turned slightly to the side, the nearer side appears wider or broader. It’s called the “broad” side, and the farther, foreshortened side is called the “short” side.

Light striking the broad side is called broad lighting. Mr. Lincoln here is lit “broad three-quarter.”

The portrait below of Arthur Denison and Bix, from Dinotopia: The World Beneath,
uses a low, broad, three-quarter light coming from the right. Note how the cheek on the shadow side has that inverted triangle we saw in the last post, a characteristic feature of three-quarter lighting.

The forehead and cheekbone planes on the illuminated side are turned with color temperature, rather than with value. The blue color of those planes that angle back suggests the effects of light from a blue sky beyond, even though we can’t see any background in this vignette.

The dramatic broad lighting brings out character in this mountain man from Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara. The shadows help to define the wrinkles in the brow, and the low sun increases the squint.

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