VFX Lighting Fundamentals 1001

This course will introduce you to the fundamentals of lighting for VFX.

Brian Chinnery
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This course will introduce you to the principles of digital lighting to create film quality images



In this course, we will take you through the process of creating a HDRI from bracketed photography and then pushing the HDRI through a VFX pipeline for shot lighting.

This involves grading the HDRI, extracting individual lights, match lighting th HDRI to a shot using the grey and chrome spheres. We’ll also look at creating a Nuke template for processing the HDRI and for shot lighting. To also improve the overall lighting, we’ll cover plate projects, AOVs and renderLayers. Lastly, we’ll cover creating a basic comp, black and white levels, lens distortion and adding grain to the shot.



Course Details

  • Type: On-demand
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Lessons: 6
  • Format: Pre-recorded videos
  • Tools: Maya, Arnold, Nuke
  • Prerequisites Basic Knowledge of Maya, Arnold and Nuke
  • Course Access Time: Lifetime

Learn production-tested techniques for processing HDRIs and using the data for VFX shot lighting

Industry partners

Lessons in this course

  • 01. Capturing Onset Data for VFX Lighting

    This course will begin by giving you an overview of shooting the standard package of onset data during a VFX shoot. We'll look at shooting the main plate, reference plates, the HDRI, photogrammetry, set measurements and reference photography of the light rig.
  • 02. Introduction to VFX Lighting and the Process

    In this lesson, we'll look at what a lighter can expect to be provided with for a VFX shot for lighting. This includes the set scan, witness cameras, HDRIs and additional onset reference. We'll also look at the process of creating a HDRI from bracketed photography.
  • 03. Setting up the Light Rig

    Here we will look at setting up the Nuke template to further push our HDRI. We'll also cover how to extract lights and grade the HDRI. We'll then move on to testing the light rig using the grey and chrome sphere and aligning the lighting to the shot reference.
  • 04. Refining the Light Rig and Plate Projections

    With our HDRI good to go, we'll look at refining our light rig by taking advantage of blockers and gobos. We'll also look at setting up a relighting workflow in Nuke along with using plate projections for more believable lighting.
  • 05. Procedural and Deep Render Layers and Creating a Deep Slap Comp

    In this lesson, we'll look at creating rendersLayers using wildcards and material overrides. We will also look at deep render layers and then how to go about using them in Nuke.
  • 06. Bringing it all Together and Basic Compositing

    For our final lesson, we'll bring all the elements together, create a basic comp and push our shot by macthing white and black levels, colours, adding lens distortion and grain.

Tutor: Brian Chinnery

Lighting Supervisor


Click on the link below to stay up-to-date on when we will be launching the course.

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