The Art of Lighting for Games

A 10-week course introducing students to the science and art of lighting

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Understanding light for digital environments

Students will be given an intermediate introduction to the science, technology, and art of lighting. In the first half of the course, they will learn the fundamentals of how light works, how we simulate and emulate the physical characteristics of light in a digital environment, and how we can break all the rules for the sake of art. The second half of the course will demonstrate some different approaches to lighting various scenes for visual appeal, mood, story and gameplay. (*note: this course description and course outline are subject to change)


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-Recorded each week
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   10 Weeks
Assignment:   Deadlines each week
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Maya (or equivalent), Unreal Engine
Skills level:   Beginner to Intermediate
Prerequisites:   Knowledge of Maya (or equivalent 3D software) and Unreal Engine

Environment design WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Considering player pathing, and mood. Gathering reference Setting up the sun direction, color, and intensity Setting up the sky light. (IBL) Setting up the sky dome. Setting up simple reflections Setting up a lightmass importance volume Baking a GI solution
Understanding HDR values Understanding post processing Working with fog and exposure Learning to look for separation of foreground and background elements Setting up a different time of day
Considering player pathing and mood Gathering reference Thinking about visual language, leading the eye Using primary vs. static lights Setting up local lights Setting up interior reflections
Basic light budgeting Visual language (cont.) Emissives IES profiles Spherical Harmonics
This class will examine a top-down real time strategy environment. (i.e. League of Legends). We will use tools and concepts learned in previous projects and apply them to the needs and requirements of this platform. Player Pathing Visual language Effect light contribution
Character visibility Post processing: character rim lighting Considering performance
Working with an interior environment Lighting the scene for a fixed or limited camera perspective Considering special cases: dynamic conditions, moving platforms, scripted lights Working with post-processing
Working with a 3-point light rig Determining readability Integrating the characters with the background lighting
Putting together a final level with interior and exterior areas Polish the level Color grading Post processing: volumetrics and auto exposure
Discussing performance Discussing PBR Expectations of a professional work environment

Your journey starts here

Lectures by Omar Gatica

Omar Gatica is currently a Sr. Lighting Artist at Infinity Ward studios. He has been working in the video game industry since 2005. Working professionally at AAA studios including NC-Soft, Activision, Naughty Dog and Neversoft. Over the last decade, he has shipped such titles as Guild Wars, Uncharted 1, 2, 3 and Call of Duty - Ghosts. Most recently, he shipped the latest installment of Call of Duty - Infinite Warfare.

May 14th - July 23rd

Summer TERM Registration



Classes Begin

July 21st!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

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