How To Kill The Color To Go Film Noir | Film Noir 3D Style

One of Hollywood’s golden ages, Film Noir, sure kept thing intrersting. Not only was it pitch black and bright white visually, the storyline it self was fragmented with contrats, quick twists and post war paranoia.


(Image By Dreamlight, DAZ Studio 4.5 / Photoshop)

You can achieve Film Noir 3D style, by, of course, dropping the color in postwork. But it’s more to it than just going b/w. First, one of Film Noir specific “things” was contrast. And I mean REALLY strong contrast. You want to go for strong shadows, and keep the lighting targeted and tight, so you can minimize its whereabouts.

Further on, Femme Fatales, the beautiful, but often dangerous “dark-side” women of Film Noir, are meant to look smoking hot, but at the same time project coldness. You do that with closed poses, that doesn’t offer much joy. Hang over, cigarette smoking detectitves are best kept renegade, with their action speaking louder than words. Although Film Noir was full of cool lines, you can’t really project the spoken word into a 3D render. Instead, you need to focus on characters actions and postures.

Finally, you want a breeze of darkness and light to embrace your entire render, by carefully painting with lighting. You want the viewer to go from darkness and light multiple times through out your image. Mr Spot Light is your friend. Keep the shadows sharp, and the spread angles tight and you’ll achieve that effect much easier. I often recommend that you break off lighting everything inside your software, and instead aim at rendering in layers. The above DAZ Studio render was actually done in layers, later combined into the final image in Photoshop. By doing everything in layers, you keep maximum control over the final result, such as lighting and shadows. This offers a tremendous speed boost, since lights and shadows can quickly and easily be tweaked inside Photoshop instead of doing tedious re-renders.

Why not go Film Noir 3D Style with your next render… And head to an era full of corruption, beauty and contrast?

– Val Cameron / Dreamlight

P.S. Film Noir 3D Style training program, will show you exactly how to go from posing, lighting and mixing your DAZ Studio renders into maximum b/w Hollywood style. Get it HERE.






4 Responses to “How To Kill The Color To Go Film Noir | Film Noir 3D Style”

  1. Tony O'seland April 14, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    One of the major components of Film Noir is the location of f8 in the lens spectrum. Ansel Adams and several others located this problem and establish field guides on how to optimize the medium by setting f8 as the medium grey tone and adjusting to allow for contrast from that setting.

    I think you are doing an excellent job in your postings and the tutorials that you have made available, and I hope to one day be able to purchase your full course.

    • Val Cameron April 15, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

      Hey Tony, some useful insight about the F8, thanks for sharing! Glad you like the tutorials and you’re welcome any time…

  2. Cathy Danielson July 5, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    Wow, this tut looks great. I’ve been looking for help with this kind of lighting setup in 3D for a while… trying to translate what I used years ago in studio photography never seems to work too well. But can I get anything out of this set of tuts if I’m working in Poser? It was clearly originally done in DS, but do things translate in any way (besides the compositing material; I’ve used PS for a long time)? All thoughts appreciated, and thanks! ūüôā

    • Val Cameron July 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

      Hey Cathy, glad you like the tutorial! Yes, you can apply pretty much anything to Poser or any other software. The basics of lighting will work in any software. If you want more information about lighting, you can simply download my free ebook: “5 steps 2 stunning lighting”, here:

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