Lighting Techniques: The Short List
Lighting designers and engineers take advantage of a number of techniques and tricks to make illumination design work...
Siva K. Haran, P.E.
Lighting designers and engineers take advantage of a number of techniques and tricks to make illumination design work:
Backlighting: The diffusing of light through translucent materials such as fabric, stained glass or acrylic panels.
Beam play: Shapes of light on walls or floors. Light beams and shadows can be used to enliven a bland space like a corridor.
Downlighting: The directing of light at 180 degrees from a fixture aperture. The method is used for uniform lighting in overhead task-lighting applications, for example.
Grazing: Illumination from a low angle of incidence, causing the texture of a vertical surface to pop into view.
Highlighting: A technique that creates an amount of brightness on a featured object that is about five times that on the background. Low-voltage lamps are used and are very efficient for this technique.
Shadow play: The reverse of beam play: the pattern of light is the background, while the shape of the shadow carries the visual message. Wide and soft-edged beams are used here.
Silhouetting: A technique that sandwiches an object between the viewer and a sheet of light. The object will be outlined by the light whose brightness acts as a negative space. Its high contrast focuses attention on the outlined shape of the featured object.
Sparkle: Where the light source is the object of interest instead of a surface or an object.
Structural lighting: A method of mounting fixtures on structural members like stairs, cornices and box booms.
Uplighting: This technique is used when what is up is interesting and should be emphasized.
Wallwashing: A technique to wash a wall with a sheet of brightness.
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