Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz is an associate professor in lighting design and digital technology at the University of California, Irvine where he is the head of the Lighting program. He instructs and mentors graduate and undergraduate lighting students as well as teaching computer drafting and rendering to both lighting and scenic students. The graduate program at UC Irvine is a three year program where lighting students have the opportunity to design at least six fully produced projects, with opportunities to design at least four other workshop productions in theatre, dance and opera. Students are given the opportunity to design in all of our performance venues which include 2 black boxes, 1 concert hall and 3 proscenium spaces of various sizes. The students are also given the opportunity to assist both on campus with their peers and on outside projects with faculty and other professional designers. The students train in theatrical lighting while taking classes in the craft and art of lighting design. They are also exposed to architectural, theme park and event based light through class work and internships.
Selected Classes taught at UCIrvine:
Graduate and Undergraduate Lighting Composition:
The objective of this class is to allow students to concentrate on varied projects in lighting composition. The class is taught in our black box theatre (Studio Theatre). Graduate students will take this class each fall in their three years of training while undergrads are able to take it at least twice. The class is taught in rotation with the three lighting professors; Jaymi Lee Smith, Tom Ruzika and myself. The class offers projects in lighting for dance, musicals, straight theatre and industrial design in Proscenium, Thrust, The Round and other alternative styles.
The objective of this class is to expose first year graduate lighting and advanced undergraduate lighting students to the principals and practices of creating light plots for theatre. It is my personal objective in this class to narrow the gap between the conceptual ideas inspired by text, director and design team to the act of dropping lights on the plot. Tactics are discussed and practiced to bring a more full understanding of the process of taking an initial idea or ideas to the stage. One major component to this class is the Script Treatment; An in depth document written for the director to better help convey ideas and to eventually aid in creating the light plot. See Samples below:
This class is also taught in rotation between two lighting professors. After the graduate student’s exposure to this class in their first quarter of study, independent studies and fully produced projects help to refine their skills.
The objective of this class is to be able to produce polished lighting Plot and Paperwork for projects. While Plotting centers on the ideas behind a plot and the implementation of those ideas onto the plot, this class concentrated on skills to produce all the varied paperwork needed to produce a production. VectorWorks Spotlight, Lightwright, Adobe Acrobat Writer and Microsoft Office are used extensively to create the package of information. The class gives the student’s an opportunity to explore their own style of drafting and paperwork creation. A strong emphasis is put on graphics layout and clarity
See PDF’s below for sample student work.
Beginning Lighting Design:
This class is required for all Undergraduate Students at UC Irvine. The first four weeks of the class introduces actors, directors and beginning designers to the basics of lighting design and practice. They learn the basics of theatre nomenclature, electrical and color theory, lighting history and light plots. In the final six weeks of class each student is given the opportunity to compose light, exploring color, angle, intensity and cueing within the parameters of a piece of text. Graduate students act as teachers assistants for the class, helping with setups, mentoring undergrads and teaching a few lectures.
Digital Design in 2d, 3d and Rendering using VectorWorks, AutoCAD, Photoshop and Dreamweaver:
UC Irvine is committed to the digital world of lighting and scenic design. This class exposes students to 2d drafting, 3d modeling, 3d rendering and web design. Scenic, Sound and Lighting students first learn how to draft in 2d in the computer and model in 3d, so that they can create fully textured 3d models. In the third quarter of a graduate student’s first year of study, they take a joint taught class with a scenic professor and me to lighting modeling. This class centers on communication skills with other designers and directors. By the end of both the VectorWorks drafting/Modeling Class and the Digital Imaging class, they are able to realize and modify their ideas in the computer prior to constructing their shows.
Lighting for Choreographers:
This class was created to help improve communication between graduate choreographers and lighting designers. The class is attended by graduate choreographers. They study some basic lighting principals and engage in lighting composition projects to better understand how to communicate with lighting designers and how to better accomplish their vision. Throughout the quarter there are ‘collaboration days’ where graduate lighting designers, faculty choreographers and graduate stage managers are brought in to discuss how artists communicate and what each part of the team needs from others.
Theories of Light:
This class was explores color theory, alternate solutions to site specific and other non-traditional lighting environments. The classes topics vary depending on year and interests of the students.
Business of Lighting Design :
This class exposed students to business contracts, union guidelines, tax strategies for the freelance designer and other business related topics.
Architectural Lighting :
This class exposes the student to lighting for architectural and themes environments.
This class explores electrical theory and practices along with a study of control systems and modern trends in lighting technology.