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Francesco Giroldini, lighting tutorials

Posted on July 22, 2011  9 Comments
Filed under Education

I wanted to write a well thought post about Francesco Giroldini but my priority is animation and not journalism so a quick post should do it for now.

For the past few years students from Ringling have been producing some really nice shortfilms. Few weeks ago I did a fair amount of research to know the school a bit better and two things struck me. The first one being that Renderman is the default software they use to render their shortfilm and the second one that most shortfilms are a two, but more often, a ONE man job. Character design (based on a caricature of themselves, what a good idea!), modelling, rigging (using The Setup Machine), animating, rendering and even compositing! By the way, there is a mention of a software called Tsunami in their credits, anyone knows what this is?

Justin Sklar gave a pretty good breakdown for his shortfilm Helga on AnimatedBuzz
“All of the preproduction work was done over the course of about 8 weeks. Modeling, rigging, layout, and the vast majority of the animation were all done in about 4 months and then I spent another 4 months on lighting, final textures, and compositing.”

The good thing about this is that you can claim all the work yours. Most french schools have teams of 5 and upward people and looking at their showreels it is near impossible to know who did what.

Right, back to the topic, Francesco Giroldini!

Francesco is an Italian Ringling graduate who co-directed the gorgeous “The Monk and the Monkey” 2010 shortfilm. If you missed it, check it out here. It was so well received that an internship at Pixar and a Dreamworks lighting TD job followed.

So Francesco is not only an amazing lighter but he is also a really nice guy and he posted loads of tutorials on his blog. I would highly recommend you to check them out as they are directly aimed at people wanting to make their own shortfilm. They deal with dynamic simulation, cloth, hair and he obviously made several tutorials on lighting that are far more interesting than those crappy DVDs explaining every single buttons but don’t tell you how to make the magic happen! Here, Francesco shares his thought process on how he creates light sets and cheat things so they look more … magical.

Watching his tutorial made me realize that more than one light should often be used to create the effect of a rim light for example. Saying this, a Pixar lighting TD told us few weeks ago that they always have a different light set just for the eyes. Light linking and light breaking are your friends!

I hope I tempted you into browsing his blog so here are several posts you should start with.

Ah, I have few Lifehacking tips for you when watching video tutorials:
always take notes and write down the timecode so you can refer to them at a later time without having to watch the whole thing again, I write all my notes in Microsoft OneNote, OneNote is a great software to centralize and synchronize notes automatically. I keep my source files on my USB stick and they automatically update my desktop and laptop as soon as I plug the USB key.
– KMPlayer, Quicktime and probably other video players allow you to speed up the playback of videos, I often watch videos between 110% and 120% speed depending on how dense the information is.

Lighing video tutorial
New Lighting Tutorial Stewie
Renderman for Maya lighting and compositing video tutorial
Eye shading and rigging video tutorial

He has plenty more on Mental Ray and Renderman so make sure you bookmark his website and thank him for sharing his knowledge.

Francesco Giroldini

And while we are at praising Ringling, here are some interesting Ringling short films:

Ringling Vimeo Channel

Related posts:
KMPlayer, best player ever!
Microsoft OneNote 2007


9 Responses to “Francesco Giroldini, lighting tutorials”

  1. Andrew Cothill on July 22nd, 2011 23:32

    Thank you so much for this… this… goldmine of lighting goodness, or…gold, yeah.

    All the best as ever
    -Andrew =)B

  2. Olivier Ladeuix on July 23rd, 2011 02:51

    pretty cool isn’t it! ;-)

  3. Henk Kok on July 23rd, 2011 03:43

    Whoa, amazing tutorials, holymoly. Clear presentation and great tips and just listening to it for 5 minutes already taught me new things. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Olivier Ladeuix on July 23rd, 2011 04:42

    I updated my post with some video watching tips Henk. The tutorials are pretty long and sometimes there is a bit of rambling so speeding up the playback can be very useful

  5. Justin Sklar on July 23rd, 2011 18:53

    An excellent post! (certainly I’m a little biased…)

    Francesco’s tutorials are certainly a treasure trove of information and are well worth a watch through as much for the lighting theory as the technical information.

    Tsunami, by the way, is an encoder program we use mostly for outputting files for demo reel dvds and such.


  6. Andrew Cothill on July 24th, 2011 01:38

    Hello again, it seems like Tsunami was the name of a video encoder MPEG

    it has it under the windows 7 software category… but it seems like it might have been discontinued now. Not sure as to that last statement.

  7. Olivier Ladeuix on July 24th, 2011 02:53

    Thanks for passing by and resolving the mystery Justin ;-)

  8. Chetan on August 16th, 2011 11:33

    Thanx alot for posting such awesome resources Olivier! :)

  9. Olivier Ladeuix on August 16th, 2011 12:28

    Isn’t this great! Don’t forget to thank Francesco :-) . People committed to sharing their knowledge are so rare that they must be praised!

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