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Light and Shadow

Lighting and Rendering Series Vol. 1 with Frederic Durand

Sample Clip

It is reasonably assumed that lighting is all about lights. The word ‘illumination’ implies that we exclusively focus on areas that are lit or brightened. Shade would only be the remainder of the areas we left untouched. Yet, this is not the way we should think about lighting. Notan is a Japanese word that means “lightness-darkness,” and it encompasses one of the fundamental principles of composition in painting, photography, film and computer-generated imagery. This fundamental principle is that, like Ying and Yang, opposite forces are interconnected and interdependent. Actually, lightness and darkness are complementary, interacting to form a whole greater than the sum of their parts. With these concepts in mind, the motivating factor of this DVD is to bring more awareness to the infinite possibilities that the concept of darkness offers the artist. This seminar ranges from the general to very specific lighting techniques. We use Maya and Mental ray, but the concepts are applicable to any software or renderer. Technical topics include Light Falloff, Decay Regions, Intensity/Color Curves, Penumbra, Blockers, Barndoors, Gobos, Gels, Negative Lights, Light Linking, Shadow Lights and Global Illumination.

  • Build in decay and fixing over-exposed areas
  • Intensity and color curvess
  • Intensity curves for pointlights
  • Decay regions
  • Barn doors, built-in and custom style
  • Blockers
  • Blockers or Light Linking
  • Flags and shadow objects
  • Cookies, geometry for lighting
  • Gobos, textures for lighting and simulating caustics
  • Blockers with Indirect lighting (final gathering)
  • Negative shadows and intensities
  • Shadow-only lights
  • Final gathering and regular light sources
  • Light linking methodology
  • Linking on models
  • Linking on materials
  • Working with the penumbra: Spotlight and floodlight
  • Indirect illumination basics
  • Ambient and indirect illumination
  • Unified sampling
  1. Introduction
  2. Light Falloff
  3. Shadow objects: Blockers, barndoors and gobos Part 1
  4. Shadow objects: Blockers, barndoors and gobos Part 2
  5. Negative values
  6. Light linking
  7. In the Darkness
  8. Conclusion
  9. BONUS: Maya2014 Unified sampling

  • Product Code: FDU01
  • ISBN: 1-59762-731-3
  • UPC: 805366018337
  • Duration: 206 minutes
  • Formats: DVD-ROM, Digital Download

DVD-ROM Requirements:

  • 1GHz or faster processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 64 MB Video RAM
  • DVD-ROM Drive
  • 5 GB of hard disk space
  • 1280 x 1024 display

DVD-ROM and Digital Download Requirements:

Minimum Operating System:

  • Microsoft® Windows® Vista®
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
  • Apple® Mac® OS X 10.2


  • QuickTime Movie Player (Version 7.0 or higher)
  • Acrobat Reader (Version 5.0 or higher)

For more information on DVD and Digital Download policies click here here.

  • Software Used:

  • Autodesk

Frederic Durand

Lighting Artist

Working on animated films, feature films, and commercials for the past 20 years, Frederic Durand has had the opportunity to work at Sony Imageworks, Disney Animation, DreamWorks, Jim Henson’s Workshop, the Mill, MPC and Digital Domain. He is the co-founder of Noroc Studio. As a leading lighting artist, his approach is not only technical, but also artistic. He heavily emphasizes and integrates aspects of cinematography into his approach. Frederic graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs (ENSAD) in Paris, France. Additionally, during his master’s program, he completed a one year residency at The Copper Union in NYC.

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"Fred is one of the most technical and proficient lighters I've ever had the pleasure to work with, and his knowledge of mental ray is unparalleled. For the commercials on which Fred and I worked together, he proved himself to be an indispensable part of the team."

- Nathaniel Morgan
3D Generalist at LOGAN & SONS

Lecture Stills Gallery