Investigating the Effects of Cinematic Lighting in 3D Animated Scenes on Viewers’ Emotions and Perceived Story
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A key reason for the success of animated films is the effects of cinematic lighting. Many techniques and theories have been devised for the creation of lighting effects, but we still do not understand well enough how such lighting effects may audience’s emotional experience and particularly the intended storytelling experience. This thesis investigates the effects of cinematic lighting in 3D animated scenes on viewers’ emotions and perception of the narrative. Twenty-six videos of animated scenes were developed with varied colors and lighting designs (high- and low-key lighting). A mixed-design perception study was conducted with 72 participants, 22 of which took part in the study in-person and 50 of which participated in the study via the Amazon Mechanical Turk platform. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected and analyzed using both qualitative coding methods and statistical tests to identify and compare the effects of each lighting designs. The results show how cinematic lighting affects the scenes’ emotional impact and story in detail. We also confirmed some of the existing lighting theories. Based on the findings, this thesis provides guidelines on how specific lighting techniques and colors may be used to affect viewers’ emotions and story interpretation in 3D animation.
Hengtaweesub, Pornubpan (2017). Investigating the Effects of Cinematic Lighting in 3D Animated Scenes on Viewers’ Emotions and Perceived Story. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from