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Old 09-18-2003, 10:50 AM   #1
Linda Brandon Linda Brandon is offline
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Rim Lighting




I've borrowed this drawing from the Drawing Critiques Section. http://forum.portraitartist.com/show...5089#post25089

I'm posting this under the Artificial Lighting category even though I'm wondering if this setup can be achieved with natural light. It intrigues me because I often seem to get this effect unintentionally when I do a light setup in my studio, which usually has a lot of ambient light.

Is it "flattering"? Too "theatrical"? Can anyone post examples (in oil, maybe) of portraits using this lighting setup?

Charcoal drawing by Charles LaSalle
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Old 09-18-2003, 11:14 AM   #2
Lisa Gloria
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Robert Maniscalco uses all the time. People must like it. His online gallery is here

I think in using it, there's a risk that the temperature shifts become unclear. Often the rim light is considerably cooler and brighter than the main lighting, so what temperature should the shadows be? It also seems to throw what should be a receding edge way into the foreground. In old photos, this was often against a light background, wasn't it? That seems to work well, for me.

I get this effect in my studio frequently too, but I try to block it out. I have one painting where I used it when I didn't know any better. The light from both sides was roughly equal, unlike the Charles LaSalle example. My result wasn't great. Right in the center of a young girl, there's this columnar shadow shape, which really served to age her prematurely. I can see this effect in other paintings of young people too.
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Old 09-19-2003, 09:49 PM   #3
Mike McCarty Mike McCarty is offline
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Quote:
I'm wondering if this setup can be achieved with natural light.
Linda,

Of course anything is possible, but I would think it would be pretty difficult. I don't think you could produce that pronounced a shadow down the middle with natural light on either side. There would be too much ambient light to allow it.

My guess is that the studio was pretty dark before the lights on either side of this guys face were turned on.

It does have that old Hollywood feel to it. As Gloria mentioned, it has a way of bringing both edges of the face forward, thus a bit of flattening occurs.
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Old 09-20-2003, 09:45 PM   #4
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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Picky, Picky, Picky

This isn't rim lighting but split lighting. It is two equally strong lights coming from opposite directions. In the rim lighting condition the strongest light comes from almost behind the subject and creates a thin rim of light on one side. The rest of the subject remains in a shadow area.
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Old 09-21-2003, 11:27 AM   #5
Linda Brandon Linda Brandon is offline
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Thanks, Marvin, I knew there was a special name for this kind of light setup and I was hoping you'd check in. I have the feeling that you wouldn't use this on your subjects, or would you?
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Old 09-21-2003, 11:54 AM   #6
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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Anything that works

Linda,

Each portrait I do is based on the needs of my client. If someone wanted an edgier kind of look I would be more than happy to accomodate them. During my illustration career I was able to play around with a large variety of devices to spice up otherwise boring subject matter.

I think, however, that often, more "exciting" kinds of pictures will wear out their welcome more quickly and become tiring. In the same way that the person who is life of the party often reveals themselves to be shallow, repetitive and boring with more exposure.

My goal is to portray depth of character first and formost but in a subtle, not in your face, kind of way, for the above reasons.

On reason I admire both Bouguereau and Paxton so much is because of this very quality. However I feel that to truely appreciate their work requires a certain degree of sensitivity on the part of the viewer. Not necessarily a common trait in our "I want it NOW!" culture.

Too bad.
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