Job Description

Lighting artists light the scenes in animation. Just as in live-action production, there is a director of photography and a gaffer who decides what lights to use and where to place them, so there is a lighting artist in a computer-generated (CG) animation. The difference with animation is that the lights are created through software and the lighting artist has complete control of what the effects will be.

Lighting artists use light to enhance the atmosphere, tone, depth and mood of a scene. They input different light effects depending on the factors in a frame or scene, such as the weather or the time of day. They make it clear where the light sources are meant to be in a scene.

Skills Needed on the Job
  • Art: understanding of color theory, perspective and design theory have a strong sense of light and shadow
  • Understanding lighting: know the scientific principles behind lighting, have a strong knowledge of lighting techniques and materials
  • Problem-solving: overcome obstacles, use computer technology to find new ways to achieve a creative vision
  • Working to deadlines: work within given timeframes, be able to complete work under pressure and deliver on schedule
  • Knowledge of relevant programs: be adept at using compositing programs and digital paint software
  • In-depth knowledge of software applications used specifically for lighting 
  • Strong knowledge in physical-based rendering - shading, and lighting
  • Technical knowledge of path tracing
  • Extensive experience using 3D software
  • Strong artistic eye and understanding of color, lighting, and image analysis
  • On-set data capturing experience (HDRIs)
  • Experience with handling and assembling complex scenes efficiently



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