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Special Project: Making the Pixie

Photography I

A primary consideration in any kind of realistic photo-collage work is matching the lighting of the various elements that are to be brought together. Although the Pixie did not involve collage work in the strictest sense - the same consideration nevertheless did apply.

Like most popular raytracing software, Bryce has only primitive lighting tools: only point sources of light are available to illuminate one's digital constructions. This produces generally harsh lighting with sharp shadows. Knowing that I would likely use only a single point source for the digital scene (i.e. the sun), I set up the photo studio with a single bare strobe for the main light. This would ensure photography of the figure with the same harsh lighting that would be apparent in the surrounding digital scene.

The pose and lighting angle represented another complex of variables. I knew that I wanted a pose standing in or sitting near a surface of water, so that a reflection in the water would enhance the illusion of image integration. Also, the pose could only be lit from certain angles - otherwise the imported photo panel (with matched lighting in the scene) would cast strange shadows. Thus I selected a low sun angle for the composition.

I decided to "shoot" from a low point of view, so that the computer generated reflection of the photo panel in the water would not look too unrealistic. Although the computer calculates the reflections formed in the digital surface of water with perfect precision, it will be the reflection of a _flat panel_, not a real three dimensional object. This becomes increasingly apparent with higher points of view.


Next: The Digital Scene II


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