Sunday, December 11, 2011

Let There Be Light

The Holiday season is a good time to do lessons about lighting design. Click on the heading above to see an amazing light show set to music.

Light is a key element for 4D Spatial Designers so they are aware of changing lighting conditions during the day, the seasons, changing weather and the time of year. North light is typically sought for studios because it is more even and less likely to shine directly into windows. Southern, Eastern and Western exposures will have some times during the day when the light may be too bright.

In our classrooms we should make use of four levels of lighting:

1. Outdoor Light (windows, skylights, shades, stained glass, scrims, modulated colors and patterns with gobos, cookies, filters, etc.)
2. Fill light (ceiling lights, fluorescents, etc.)
3. Focal lights (track lighting, under-counter lights, lights over sinks and work areas, display lights, etc.)
4. Sparkle lights (a string of colored lights, a lamp in the corner, projected lighting patterns, a lighted aquarium, etc.)

Look for lighting sources and modulators such as Holiday lights, unused projectors of any type, colored cellophane, translucent paper and other materials, etc. Think about bounce lighting, indirect lighting, reflected light, filtered light, colored light, color temperature, patterned light, etc.

Some lighting projects:

a. Student pencil drawings can be run through a copying machine onto transparency film and then hand colored to make projected backgrounds for holiday concerts and displays.
b. Classroom windows or display cases can be transformed by using colored film and patterns cut out of paper or cloth (gobos, cookies).
c. Overhead lights can be modulated with color, reflectors, etc.
d. A display case can be concealed by a scrim until light is shown on the background which becomes visible through the scrim.
e. Plain white walls can become colorful by putting colored bulbs in some lighting fixtures.
f. Students can learn the additive color system by mixing projected lighting primary colors (R,G,B)
g. Students can learn 3-point lighting to improve studio photography
h. Translucent material can be used to modulate the color, intensity and pattern of light whether it is coming from outside or inside the room.

Students can come up with other lighting ideas in the ideation lesson.

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