Maya Workshop:
CG Lighting and Compositing

Curriculum Summary

Want more details about our six-week CG Lighting and Compositing workshop? Here's a breakdown of the curriculum:


Week 01Exploring the Maya lighting/rendering UI


Get familiar with the Render Settings and Render View windows and Maya's basic light types.

Assignment: Set up your Maya session and preferences. Use Hatch to stage and light a simple scene.

Week 02Visual Storytelling with Light and Color


Learn the core principles of color and light used in visual storytelling.

Assignment: Create a basic 3 point lighting rig, beauty pass and render layers, assemble render layers into a composite file or prepare 3-5 shots for sequence lighting.

Week 03Your Shot Lighting Plan


Review key concepts in building a lighting strategy, including shot organization, reference & key art and shadowing concepts.

Assignment: Collect or create reference art, select your shot for key lighting, create a 3-point light rig and light your scene using different light types.

Week 04Set Lighting and Indirect Lighting Workflow


Examine indirect lighting and shadowing techniques like ambient occlusion, global illumination and final gathering. Study the application of indirect lighting in a basic environment scene.

Assignment: Re-light your existing lighting shot and light rig, this time using adding ambient occlusion to your material color or re-light your existing lighting shot using an IBL rig and HDR images.

Week 05Digging deeper into the render process & beginning composite setup


Explore advanced topics like motion blur, depth of field and comp setup.

Assignment: Add render layers for your Hatch mech and background, then experiment with render effects like Depth of Field or Motion Blur with your scene (mblur requires an animated scene). Adjust render quality settings to get a high fidelity image, rendering out layers for compositing setup.

Week 06Exploring compositing


Use final shot renders to generate a final composite. Additional advanced rendering topics include sweetening your shot and a comparison of contemporary, industry-standard tools like Nuke and Maya Composite. Get an exclusive preview of the VFX Fundamentals class: Compositing Basics.

Back to Workshop Overview