Text: Aksel Karcher
Photos: Frieder Blickle Fotografie, Erco GmbH

05. May 2010

Animation and digital lighting
Proposal for a technology transfer

With the increasing availability and use of lighting control systems the term ‘scenographic lighting’ has found its way into the world of lighting design. In former times, and given the technical equipment available, this was reduced to switching from one scene to the next. This article will give insight into the interesting and dynamic variations on this theme that adjacent discipline, such as computer animation, can provide.

“Technology can and will never be able to create art by itself. But technology can help and support artists to create.” Emerging technology has always had a difficult time finding its way into creative professions, and at all times there has been preoccupation with new toolsets and media inventions. Be it the concern of painters that photographic emulsion is a danger to their art, or the fear of a director that a feature film would never capture the way a piece of performing art comes across as a theatre play could. Most of the time this turns out to be not nearly as bad as it first seems. Fine artists, publishers, engineers, product and graphic designers embraced and controlled the computer with its new tools very quickly in the early nineties. On the other hand architects, interior designers and lighting designers seem to be more reluctant. Why is that? Does their work require different design tools? It is not easy to find adequate answers to these questions. And yet with the advance of LED technology, we are also seeing more sophisticated lighting control systems on the market, and as a result highly advanced software that offers designers a wide range of computer-aided design opportunities. It would be paradoxical if the required artistic digital expertise on the part of lighting designers did not increase in line with this. This applies in particular to those crossover areas where classic lighting design meets the somewhat hectic and frequently insensitive event lighting segment. The goal should not be to create illuminated scenes for technology’s sake, but to remain in command of the design aspects of the project and to be in a position to shape the concept as required.

History
Architectural lighting design is in its origins a mostly static art form: light sources illuminate built surfaces during the building’s life cycle. In the 20th century, influences from stage lighting made their way into architectural lighting, a development which could already be described as a culture and/or technology transfer. […]
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The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 71

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