3D: The Power of Outdoor Light

by Kimberly Potvin

posted on 06-20-2017

Last month, we covered the power 3D lights have to help any designer achieve more control over an indoor scene. For part two of this series, we look at this topic from an outdoor perspective.

As photographers know, the time of day, weather conditions and the surrounding landscape impact the success or failure of any outdoor scene. Bright, mid-day sun can often result in blown out highlights and shadows with little or no detail. Cloudy days can give a flat, dull appearance. Combine this with the difficulty of capturing light at the right time of day and your control over any outdoor lighting scenario becomes a trial of errors.

With Project Felix and our 3D lights, available for licensing on Adobe Stock, designers now have the ability to control the position of sun and the tone of the light with a few easy-to-use sliders. The power is now yours.

As with our first article on this topic, we will use the same model with different lights in order to more easily identify the possibilities. Welcome to the world of 3D – where a designer can dare to dream!

Subtle, sunrise light

Sunrise offers a soft, cool light specific to that time of day. As the sun appears over the horizon, hints of orange and yellow can be seen peeking through the subdued sky. By using a 3D light like early morning rooftop, a designer can capture the minute, warm undertones found in these morning hours. In our example, by rotating the light, the hints of gold become visible in the front folds of the fabric and forehead of the model. The reflective surface captures slivers of the surrounding scenery while that cool blue is left to flow across the scene. This light would work well with shiny materials like dented copper or glossy vinyl, and if paired with luscious, green plants on the porch of a house, could give any design a welcoming, intimate feel.

Solid, midday light

In the middle of a clear day, the light is intense and bright, often enhanced by the surrounding landscape. With this natural rock formation light, the 3D model shows undulating variations of light and dark. With a little contrast added in Photoshop CC, the deep, blue light, richer than that of dawn, creates a vivid, breathtaking result. The reddish highlights help to emphasize small details that usually, may not be recognizable. Just imagine, if partnered with a realistic model, like this cow skull, a designer could create a barren, desert scene, or if used with this shattering plate glass, that of a surreal world often found in surrealist paintings.

Pastel, evening light

The color of the light at dusk is truly unique. Often rippling with soft pinks and purples, a 3D light like canyon hills adds a pleasing color combination to any design. The evening clouds help to filter what is left of the setting sun while the sky is tinged with stunningly vibrant hues and tones. When partnered with a model and rotated, the remaining light, bouncing off the cumulus clouds, creates a backlit effect while the silver of the bust is enhanced with a luminescent sheen. It is easy to imagine a beautiful landscape design using this light – an empty wooden boat sitting on a calm lake or a vintage bike parked on a long, empty dock.

Deep, night light

Night is always the most difficult time to capture. Dim lighting conditions can result in washed out scenes and poorly lit objects. As a designer, finding a way to capture those subtle tones, the purples, the blacks that border on deep grey and that dense, dark, navy blue is always a struggle. With a 3D light like this helipad at night, those late-night aesthetics that are so difficult to visualize are now within your fingertips. The deep purple in this scene enhances every edge and curve of the model while the tiny orange lights pepper the scene with warmth and realism. Imagining a late-night rooftop scene with different musical notes, a treble clef symbol and one or two bass clef symbols floating up into the open sky from a record player could inspire any designer to capture the beauty and magic of a city rooftop at night.

This ends our two-part series on the power of 3D lights. Stay tuned for more articles over the coming months on how to unleash the power of our other 3D assets with Project Felix!

Topics: Creative Inspiration & Trends

Products: Stock, Photoshop, Creative Cloud