Direct Lights are point or near point (disk) sources of light that cause
objects to cast hard shadows. In nature, this is usually the sun. As with indirect
skylight, the atmosphere modifies the light. The most obvious result of this is
influenced by how high the sun is in the sky. At high noon in the tropics, the sun will
be overhead and have a minimum of atmosphere to travel through before it gets to
where you are standing. Direct light of this type is the standard for what we call
"white". The lower the sun is in the sky, the more atmoshere its light has to pass
through before it gets to the surface of the Earth and the redder it is in appearance.
Everyone should be familiar with a red sun at dusk or dawn.
In a studio, we simulate direct sunlight with spotlights and high intensity lights
with a low angular size. Because the sun is so far away, the shadows cast by the
sun appear to run parallel to one another. If the source of direct light simulating
sun light is too close to its subjects, then shadows cast by actors on a stage will
not appear to be parallel. The DP and director must keep this in mind when simulating
an outdoor shot using a virtual set in a studio.
We are now planning the development of a product that will
integrate with our systems to simulate natural direct sun light.
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