The Right Light

Today, I want to talk about something sort of dry, but something that I find is often overlooked. Lightbulbs.

That’s right, lightbulbs.

As a visual artist producing through a fully digital workflow, I pay very close attention to the images on the screen in front of me, and I’m sure the same is true for you. I also spend a great deal of time working from my home office, so it should be no surprise that for a long while, I had regular CFL lightbulbs throughout my house, including my office. Makes sense right?

What never occurred to me for a long time was the way home lighting was affecting my work. You see, “normal” home lights give off a very unnatural cast, and as such really aren’t suitable for any type of visual work. I mean, we spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars on monitors, calibration tools and software, color correction filters, and other countless items to ensure the images on screen represent the images on the television or the printed page, yet, if you are like I was, the lighting in your office was less than stellar, but even moreso, was working to undo all of the meticulous calibrations and calculations you have done.

I came to this revelation while talking to my friend, who had invested in some natural light bulbs, not for the reasons listed above, but rather because he found himself suffering from a pretty severe bout of the winter blues, and if you’ve been in Boston anytime this winter I’m sure you could commiserate. He got some of the full spectrum bulbs, and has felt devoid of the winter blah’s ever since.

As soon as we had this conversation a lightbulb went off (See what I did there?). After doing some research, I decided to invest in some Phillips 5000K Full Spectrum Bulbs, and the difference is astounding.

I still have “normal” CFL bulbs in an adjacent room, and looking out the door of my office the other room has a very noticeable orange cast, while my office is purely lit by white light. As an aside, while it is difficult to quantify, I definitely feel better overall than I did with traditional lighting, so maybe there’s something to this full spectrum thing beyond the benefits to visual artists.

While alot of the major design studios have long known this, I feel like it’s something that slips past us sometimes, and a small investment can go a long way in improving your work, as well as your demeanor. Try it out, and you’ll see your work, and your world, in a whole new light!

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