How To Use Light like Caravaggio in 3D Scenes

Study lighting techniques from the Old Masters.

2 min

July 9, 2023

Lighting Mastery

The foundation of cinematography and lighting techniques is essential to study at any level in your artistic development.
This brings us to Caravaggio. The master of light.

Together with cinematographer Erick Alcaraz we started a series of YouTube videos exploring and learning the lighting techniques of influential painters.

It has been an incredibly valuable experience for us to learn how to use the power of a single light source.
The strong defined shadows sculpt the shapes in the scene.

Adding depth to cg shots has always been a challenge.

When only using an HDRI the light values become flat.
However, Caravaggio shows us the power of exactly the opposite technique:

The Calling of St Matthew painting by Caravaggio.
The Calling of St Matthew (1599)

Salome with the Head of John the Baptist by Caravaggio.
Salome with the Head of John the Baptist (1607)

It’s truly wonderful.

As we explore the masters of lighting, we are gaining confidence in our personal work. We start with a dark scene and will use 3 lights to create the final result. Similar to Caravaggio we will be using a Keylight, Toplight and Background light.

A Look Dev render and study of the lighting of Caravaggio in Cinema 4D and Chaos Corona.
Look Dev of Caravaggio's Lighting Techniques

A clay render and study of the lighting techniques by Caravaggio rendered in Cinema 4D and Chaos Corona.

You will learn how to use minimal lighting set-ups by playing around with the Color Temperature, Angle, Directionality and Intensity.
I hope you enjoy the tutorial and learn something as well :)

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