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Description of La La Land study.


La La Land has been described as a “love letter to Los Angeles”, which becomes evident in the way the city is depicted with dreamy backgrounds. This is contrasted with the love story that develops, which becomes heartbreaking. Nonetheless the lighting choices made are interesting and appealing for the viewer.

I chose the following scene to recreate as a digital painting precisely because there is an interesting contrast between the surrounding LA suburban landscape at twilight and the characters that are being lit by a different source of direct lighting. This suggests a slight artificiality of the lighting composition, but this stylistic choice that appears more curated, alludes to the 60’s, and that style of filmmaking. The scene exudes a retro-inspired musical tint that is rarely seen from Hollywood these days. In that sense this movie is a unique piece, because filmmakers these days seem to be more interested in creating blockbusters focused around impressive visuals that are computer generated.



This study from a screenshot is also somewhat rough in nature, not really focusing in getting the precise details in the scene, but attempting to create an ambiance that is identifiable and evokes a certain mood. I have been recently interested in making studies from reference of images with low ambient lighting, to be able to understand how light interacts with objects when found in a scene with low light. In this case the characters are well lit, allowing for details of their faces to be made out with ease. The amount of light used for the characters is carefully adjusted to allow the background light to be visible.


The tree that extends along the sides of the composition creates an interesting visual image as a pattern. Because most of the ambient light is coming from behind the tree, the tree appears as a dark silhouette only. I am only hinting at the leaves of the pine tree with the size of the brush being larger when compared to the branches that go in many directions.


A mountain range can be seen in the far background, with some lighter spots of suburban light that run across the flat cityscape below. The bottom of the image nears an absolute black color. This also helps the narrative that is happening in front with the characters to develop with better visual clarity. We are able to depict with clarity their individual poses and the body language that the characters express.

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