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Dramatic Lighting in KeyShot – Made Easy!

Will Gibbons by Will Gibbons | Last Updated:   January 2, 2019

Physical lights add realism and drama

Dramatic lighting can help capture the eye of your audience. Escape the routine of creating renderings that look like… well… renderings. The secret is in lighting (or one of the secrets anyway).

If you use the basic default environment in KeyShot for your renderings, your results are likely going to look flat and lifeless. You need to inject some drama into your images.

Search google images or Pinterest for dramatic lighting. The best photography and films rely on scenes in which there is lots of contrast between well-lit and dark areas. This is what we describe as dramatic lighting or low-key lighting. It helps to create a focal point within your image and enhances the form of what’s being lit.

Dramatic lighting requires few lights

The easiest and quickest way to add dramatic lighting in your scene is to use physical lights (not an HDRI) and as few lights as possible.

You could of course create a similar effect using HDRIs, but you’d want to use a single pin within that HDRI and have the rest of it be black or very dark.

This will result in brighter areas and much darker areas creating contrast. Further, by using physical lights, your shadows and highlights will have more natural roll-off or falloff which produces a more convincing result and overall more pleasing image.

Too many product renderings suffer from neutral, flat or boring lighting. Take a moment to learn about how to add drama to your renderings. It’s probably the easiest thing you can do to improve your images with the least amount of effort.

In just a few minutes, this tutorial will show you how!

The Easiest Way to Create Dramatic Lighting in KeyShot

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to:

Will Gibbons
Will Gibbons is an industrial designer-turned rendering specialist. He's trained and worked with some of today's most recognizable brands and now is focused on creating the best product visualization content on the internet.
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