Aimee Erickson: YOU GLOW GIRL
Notes on light and radiance for PACE2019 demo.

LIGHT is the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Color is a reaction that happens when light (radiation) strikes an object and some of that radiation is bounced off and is received by the eye. Remember from physics class? a green apple absorbs all the light except the green frequencies, which it reflects.

Color isn’t something that IS. It’s something that HAPPENS.

I ask myself, what’s the color doing here? what’s the light doing? where’s the action?

So color is an effect of light.
Effects of light:
Remember, light bounces around.
Light and shadow
Reflections—into shadow, on other surfaces
Glow (light+atmosphere)
light can reveal form
bright bright light (glare) can obliterate form. It eats into things. People in front of bright water—you see their torsos but their limbs are softened and made skinnier by the light.
Shadow also can obscure or obliterate form

what do we see when we ‘can’t see’?
Letting go of “survival vision” (what IS it). Remember your eyes are an extension of your brain, and your macular vision, the part in the very center (you use it to read), in particular, is really good at identifying things. Soften your gaze. What do we see when we are…
blinded by headlights
exiting a dark room into broad daylight
looking into darkness from the light

We can roughly group lighting phenomena to understand them better. If you understand it, you can paint the phenomenon instead of being completely reliant on observation. Here are a few I have noticed in my work:
  1. Looking right at a light source
  2. Looking into the light
  3. Reflections
  4. A well-lit object

What and How to Paint
Slight gradations! In a light-to-dark gradient the eye will always move towards the light. It’s like putting an arrow in your painting.  A chroma gradation will work the same way—the eye will move away from the grayer color toward the brighter color. Very useful.

To make something look bright, paint it a really light (high-value) bright (high-intensity) color, like white with a tiny bit of color in it. Everything else has to be darker. However!!! If you want the thing to look bright, the dark background has to lighten as it approaches the object.  

Glow happens off the object. Around it. Remember, the light radiates from the source/object and lessens with distance.

iPhone apps I like
Camera+ because it has manual adjustments for focus
Genius Scan because it allows you to unskew images by manually selecting the corners of the crop.