Chapter 6.0 Lighting and Color Theory

This document will serve as an introduction to the fundamental theories necessary for the UDK user to effectively understand interior and exterior lighting principles. Just as traditional artists are taught the core concept of lighting and color theory so must digital artists learn and master these concepts as well. This document will then extend these theories into practical application by introducing the techniques used by game artists to implement these theories into real time environments. While many of the techniques and foundational theories are becoming automated into UDK's lighting toolset, a proper understanding of Lighting and Color Theory will  inform the users's ability to light environments in any game engine and the real world for that matter.

What is Lighting?
In the real world lighting, or illumination, is the deliberate application of light to achieve some aesthetic or practical effect. Lighting includes use of both artificial light sources and natural illumination of interiors from daylight. Daylight  is often used as the main source of light during daytime in environments. Moonlight and artificial light sources light the nighttime environments.


Artificial Lighting 3 Point theory

Painting with Light by Robert Altman

In digital environments, specifically real time computer games, lighting is the simulation of light using shader algorithms and simulated lighting sources to illuminate constructed 3D environments. This simulation can either be extremely accurate, employing lighting techniques which attempt to track the vectors of light rays interacting with materials surfaces using radiosity computational techniques. Alternatively, the simulation can simply be inspired by light physics, as is the case with non-photorealistic rendering. In both cases, a shading model is used to describe how surfaces respond to light. Between these two extremes, there are many different rendering approaches which can be employed to achieve almost any desired visual result. For the purpose of this document we will focusing on those techniques employed in real time environments.

Practical Application of Light & Color Theory in UDK

What is Color Theory?
Color is the perceptual characteristic of light described by a color name. Specifically, color is light, and light is composed of many colors—those we see are the colors of the visual spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Objects absorb certain wavelengths and reflect others back to the viewer. We perceive these wavelengths as color.

Those studying Color Theory therefore are investigating how these varying colors (wavelengths) interact with one another, and how and why some colors "just work" with one another while others do not. The following sections will introduce the foundation of color theory from a designer's point of view. Two options are listed below the 1st link is more exhaustive, the 2nd link more concise

Worqx's Color Theory Overview

Color Theory: A Brief Tutorial

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