The three-point lighting is a standard method used in visual media such as
video, film, still photography
and computer-generated imagery. The technique uses three lights called the key
light, fill light and back light.
- Key light creates the subject's main
illumination and defines the dominant angle of the lighting.
- Fill light softens and extends the
illumination provided by the key light and makes more of the subject
visible. The fill light can simulate the effect of reflected light or of
secondary light sources in the scene.
- Back light (rim light, kicker)
creates a defining edge to visually separate the subject from the
Link to three-point lighting
Key-to-fill ratio: ratio of the key light's intensity to the fill light's
key-to-fill ratios (2:1 or less) may be used for
High key-to-fill ratios (8:1 or more) for
- Interior scenes with white or highly reflective
- Cloudy, overcast or snowy outdoor scenes
- Kids' programs with a bright, cheerful mood
- Night scenes
- Dramatic, suspenseful, or horror scenes.
High/low key lighting
lighting is bright often shadowless scene in which the frame is predominantly
lighter than medium gray. The environment has a lot of fill light and a low
key-to-fill ratio. See the example below.
Low key lighting is a dark looking environment without much
fill light, and a high key-to-fill ratio (film noir look). See the example
The images are from "Digital Lighting
and Rendering" by Jeremy Birn.