If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:6:38

Video transcript

now let's talk about one of the most important things that we do in lighting at Pixar lighting characters often times character lighting is used not just to light the character and make them look good but to say something about them or their situation in the story that's what this video is all about for example in this moment in toys Story 3 buzz is lit with only a rim light at the beginning of the shot even though jessie has a key light on her then he steps into the key light at the end of the shot this was done to make his reveal as dramatic and threatening as possible and in this example the monkey is under lit the key light is coming from below him so that he looks scary and threatening compare this to the scene where the light is bouncing off the floor from the window lighting the characters from below in this case even though the light is coming from underneath them it has kept soft and is balanced out with the other lights in the scene so then instead of feeling scary the lighting feels sad and in this example joy is the light source and her warm light shining back on to sadness helps draw them together in the shot we can see how close joy is to sadness and her light draws them together and underscores the intimacy between them in this moment to better understand how this happens I brought Danielle and Eric to tell us how they use lighting to bring characters to life here at Pixar I'm Danielle Feinberg and I'm a director of photography for lighting my name is Eric Schmitt and I was the director of photography for lighting on the Incredibles to so one of the things we can do in character lighting is to really sell sort of the emotion of a character or the emotion of a moment in interesting ways and so there's this really fun moment in cocoa where it's really the the sort of crux of the whole story shifts and it's up until this point we've thought that Ernesto de la Cruz is this very famous Mexican musician and he's Miguel's hero and this wonderful guy and they walk in together and Miguel's having these this this evening with de la Cruz his hero and there there's a pool nearby and so he's getting this nice soft sort of green light along with some candle light and the general light in the room is sort of purple and it's all sort of softly lit and they look appealing and and then as the scene goes on we reveal that de la Cruz is actually this totally evil guy and so by the end of the scene de la Cruz has walked over near the pool and so instead of this soft I'm sort of green light he now has this under lit harsh green light and it's sort of like if you're telling a ghost story and you under light yourself with the light and so that was the way we used the lighting to sort of signify this shift and we had this guy who was this great guy and now he's actually like completely evil and ascending Miguel off to his death and so we get them all under lit by that green light and there's there's this wonderful moment in the scene of a Helen checks-in where she calls him to check in and it's just after this raccoon fight had happened and so he's a little perplexed he realizes jack-jack has new superpowers and Bob things are going a little rocky for him not only is he not in the spotlight not being the superhero that he wants to be he's realizing it's actually harder to be you know the stay-at-home dad the parent the single parent on his own than he thought it would be and so we'd light him in a way where he's got a little bit deeper shadow in his eye he's like he's a little bit standoffish with her on the phone he's not feeling quite engaged and so she reveals to him that she had the best day of her life and she had this moment in the spotlight and saved this train and so he turns on the TV and so we continue that the sense of that in the cinematography with the light on his face creating even deeper shadow and as even harsher angles on his face and it's this world that he wishes he was in and he's not reflected on his face - showing like how miserable he is and so we're trying to create that tension in the scene so that the audience can feel it along the way it turns out that wall-e was incredibly difficult to lane because if you think about it wall-e is he's rusty and he's metal and he looks exactly like a lot of the things in the garbage dump behind him and so finding ways to pull wall-e out from that background was actually incredibly challenging and one of the ways we do that is with those rim lights that you've heard about and so getting this this edge of lighting has to kind of separate from the background is really critical but we couldn't get any rim lights on wall-e because he was this box with tight corners and it wouldn't catch any light and so we had to figure out different ways like banging up the corners to catch a little light that it gave us this distinct shape of wall-e and so you could kind of pull him out from the trash so we're seen in The Incredibles where the characters move from one strong lighting set up to another one that comes to mind immediately is at the beginning of the movie when they're trying to stop the tunneler from from crashing into City Hall there's this whole fight sequence that takes place in this kind of stormy steel grade light with like sunbeams that that sear through the clouds and capture certain areas of contrast and so it's like it feels very moody it's very pushed it's almost a little bit mysterious and and we we use that to kind of caricature their their action sequence as they as they chase this machine down the street at some point they realize they need to get inside and stop the thing from the inside out and so we wanted a big change of feeling when we go inside of there maybe make it slightly more theatrical slightly more stylized and so as helen swings across from the one of these lampposts across the sky and then down into the tunneler machine there's an abrupt change and the light is extremely red from where the the molten core of this engine is and bright yellow from the back and emerald green from the cooling tanks and we really use that as a way to distinguish between these two spaces and half the audience feel very something very different both when we transition inside and then when we cut back and forth from Helen fighting the machine on the inside to Bob and the kids still trying to top them to stop the machine on the outside as you can see we put a lot of thought into how we light the characters in order to help support the story in the next exercise you are going to return to your lighting setup and swap out your orange with a toy character of your choosing and try out some of these ideas