Rembrandt Lighting in Photoshop
Video TranscriptionHi! This is Mama Shan. In this video we are going to talk about Rembrandt lighting but before getting into that setup, I want to talk a little about this style of lighting. Its roots are from a style call chiaroscuro using stark dramatic lighting against a dark background. It is Italian for clear dark, this is a term in art for contrast between light and dark the term is usually applied to bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. But it is also more technically used by artists and art historians for the use of affects representing contrast of light. Not necessarily strong but you achieve a sense of volume in modeling three dimensional objects such as the human body or your human face. The term is mostly used to describe compositions where at least some principle element of the main composition shows the transition between light and dark.
Strong chiaroscuro became a popular effect during the 16th century. Chiaroscuro is also use in cinematography to indicate extreme low-key lightning to create distinctive areas of light and darkness in films especially in black and white films. Classic examples are the Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Devil and Daniel Webster. Frank Miller?s Sin City is an example of this style in both the graphic novel and the subsequent films as is David Lloyd and Alan Moore?s book V for Vendetta and Mike Mignola?s Hellboy. Pioneering movie director Cecille B. DeMille is accredited with the first use of the term. DeMille explained in his autobiography that while shooting The Warrens of Virginia in 1915 he borrowed some portable spotlights from the Mason Opera House in downtown Los Angeles and began to make shadows where shadows would appear in nature. When his business partner Sam Goldwyn saw the film with only half an actor?s face illuminated, he feared the exhibitors would pay only half the price for the picture.
After DeMille told them, it was Rembrandt lightning Sams? reply was jubilant with relief. For Rembrandt lighting the exhibitors would pay double. So that is the origin of the term Rembrandt lighting. To et up Rembrandt lighting, you set your camera in front of your subject and usually you have two lights or one key light and a reflector. You set your key light approximately 40 degrees on the short or narrow side of the subject and that term short or narrow means that you see less of the ear that is a short side, now, when you see more of the ear that is the bright side of the face.
Now, on the bright side of the subject?s face, this is where you would also place at about a 45 degree angle a reflector or a fill light and fill light would not be as hot or strong as the key light. And so you put that broad side which is the side closes to the camera where you see more of the ear. You adjust the height of the key light to model this triangle of light under the broad side of the eye. As you see here and you also want the vertex of that triangle to be in line with the tip of the nose as you can see in the illustration. So, what we are going to do is create what I am calling a macho makeover but I wanted it to describe the lighting for this particular setup because it is more dramatic and you should know how to light your subject. This is a photo right out of the camera here and with Photoshop we are going to emphasize this particular style of lighting with various adjustment layers and techniques and that will follow in the Macho makeover serious. But first you have got to shoot your image with this particular to lighting setup.