Chris Morris completed our classic Character Animation Program and then jumped into the Lighting Your Shot workshop. He returns to campus today to share the five things he learned from the workshop. Thank you, Chris.
— The Animation Mentor Crew
- It may be animation that brings a digital character to life, but it is lighting and rendering that turn those animated pixels into a great looking video. The Lighting Your Shot workshop is a great way to introduce animators and even non-animators to the tools and techniques used by professional lighters. One of the most important lessons I learned in the Character Animation Program was how the small details make a good animation great. In the Lighting Your Shot workshop, I learned how that same lesson applies to lighting. By paying attention to the subtle details of how light behaves and creates shape, and then building up layers of these simple techniques, you can create a rich and emotional render that helps tell the story.
- Another valuable part of the workshop was having a mentor who works in a major studio. He helped us to gain an understanding of the production pipeline and not only where lighting and compositing fit in, but how all the parts work together to create the finished film. I think it is very important for animators — and really everyone involved in the production of a movie or game — to understand how their part fits into the greater whole.
- I was surprised to see how big a role compositing and passes have in the final look of the rendered movies we see on the big screen. My mentor showed how the lighting and compositing work together to create the parts needed to put together the final look. He demonstrated how having those separate parts allowed for greater flexibility in the final stages and made me think about my approach to lighting very differently.
- I learned how important reference is to lighting, just as it is with animation. Being able to look at real world examples of lighting and learning to see the details of what makes up a picture made such a huge difference in how I approached and looked at my own lighting in the computer. Having a background in traditional photography and stage lighting myself, I especially liked the idea of approaching 3D lighting techniques from a basis grounded in reality.
- I think my favorite part of the workshop is simply the structure of the class at Animation Mentor itself. Not only having a specific assignment to work on with a real deadline, but also having the opportunity for direct, personal feedback from my mentor each week. And then getting critique and encouragement from my classmates and being able to do the same for them throughout the week. It is invaluable and makes such a difference in the learning experience (I could never have tried to learn this on my own).
— Chris Morris