Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Designing a Character: Light/Direction

Reveal your characters with light.  Illuminating people differently will project their qualities.  In particular, changing the direction from where a light originates can model a figure in a variety of ways, each creating a unique specific effect.

FRONT LIGHT: Car headlights.  No secrets.  Let it all hang out.  Projects a huge shadow behind.  Character revealed.

BACK LIGHT(Directly or offset to one side)/DOWNLIGHT: Sunlight/Moonlight/Streetlight.  Separates the character from their surroundings.  Allows them to pop out and be distinct.  No one melts into the scenery.

UPLIGHT: Unnatural direction.  Burning sewer grate.  Candle under the chin.  Creepy.  Monstrous.  Beware the up-lit character.  

SIDELIGHT: Room lamps.  Sunrise/Sunset.  Adds dimension.  Fills out the form of your character.  Depth, complexity.  Brings out the folds in their clothing.

What type of light is catching your characters?


  1. This is very clever. As a photographer, this makes a lot of sense to me. :D

  2. Great stuff Leslie. I think of my character in sunlight!

  3. I love playing with lighting in my manuscripts. I've had particularly a lot of fun with fire lately. :D

  4. Lisa - playing with fire - how out of character! Love the photog. POV Stina! Julie, I think of YOU in sunlight. You are always so wonderfully positive.