Saturday 27 November 2010

Coloured light in Proun

(At Ronimo Games, the Dutch game developer where I am lead programmer, we are currently looking for a coder with experience on the 360 and/or PS3. Interested? Have a look here for more information!)

Last weak I talked a bit about the technical side of lighting in Proun. This week, let's have a look at the more artistic side: the strange light colours I chose for each level.

A very common lighting setup among 3D artists is to let the sky emit a soft blue light, and the sun a bright yellow. This of course makes sense, since these are the colours that the sun and the sky have in the real world.

The fun of having these different colours for the skylight and the sun, is that the sun's shadows become a subtle blue. Brightly lit spots, on the other hand, may become slightly yellow. This fits what my highschool art teacher used to tell me: never paint a shadow with black, always add colour. (Of course, I didn't really understand her at the time...) Since I like this setup, I used it for Proun's first track.

For the second track, I wanted to use a totally different colour palette. Now I am not very knowledgeable in colour theory, but I did notice that yellow and blue are exactly opposite colours. So again I chose opposite colours and after a lot of experimenting with the colour scheme that I had in mind, I came up with a cyan/blue sun and an orange skylight. That is one really weird lighting setup, but I do think it looks good:

The third track is probably the weirdest. A greenish/blueish sun is combined with a pinkish skylight. I think this mainly proves that as long as two colours are chosen that work well together, the colours can be as crazy as you like. So no need to go for the standard lighting setups any more!

So, as these images show, the bright colours of Proun's objects are combined with much more subtle colour effects from the lights. Having just the bright colours worked perfectly well for many works by Kandinsky and Mondriaan, but I think in Proun's case, the subtle colours and shades that the lights add are what really make the graphics shine.

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