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Lighting Artist - Job description


The Lighting Artist creates the lighting for a pre-rendered 3D scene or a real-time video game.

They enhance characters and environments while maintaining a consistent visual style.


  • Understand and translate artistic and directorial intentions into scene lighting terms.
  • Create high-quality lighting in a variety of environments or modify existing lighting setups.
  • Create, implement, and optimize all lighting elements (dynamic, pre-rendered, indoor, outdoor, cinematic and cutscene environments).
  • Use lighting to convey emotional experiences that align with the artistic vision of the project.
  • Master the technical and artistic aspects of lighting.
  • Prepare presentation materials for validation and reviews.
  • Perform requested retakes.
  • Stay updated on advancements in lighting techniques and rendering engines.
  • Contribute to the improvement of the production pipeline.
  • Adhere to deadlines and production schedules.
  • Collaborate closely with relevant departments involved in lighting.


The Lighting Artist should possess a set of knowledge including:

  • Deep understanding of light behavior, color theory, image composition, and post-processing effects.
  • Excellent knowledge and use of real-time or pre-rendered 3D lighting techniques.
  • Proficiency in composition, image processing, textures, and 3D modeling.
  • Familiarity with pre-rendered or real-time rendering engines.
  • Strong artistic culture: illustrations, paintings, photography, cinematography, and video games.
  • Aesthetic sensitivity and keen artistic sense for details.

Required Qualities:

Here is a non-exhaustive list of qualities required for the Lighting Artist profession:

  • Attention to detail and precision.
  • Ability to work independently within a multidisciplinary team.
  • Ability to accept constructive criticism.
  • Observational skills.
  • Adaptability and problem-solving ability.
  • Good communication skills and teamwork.
  • Proactive and innovative mindset.

Software Used by Lighting Artists:

To fulfill their role, Lighting Artists employ various creation software such as Maya, 3ds Max, Houdini, Blender, Photoshop, V-Ray, Arnold, etc. These tools allow them to simulate consistent lighting in line with the artistic and narrative intentions of the project.

They possess practical knowledge of a node-based compositing system (e.g., Nuke).

Being comfortable in a Linux environment can be advantageous, as well as having knowledge of Python scripting.

For working as a Lighting Artist in a video game studio, experience with lighting in a game engine (such as Unreal Engine or equivalent) is usually required.

How to Become a Lighting Artist

High School Diploma

To become a Lighting Artist, it is recommended to pursue a program in 3D Animation & Visual Effects or Game Art, as these programs are directly related to the creation of 3D images and lighting.

The Best School to Become a Lighting Artist

For over 20 years, ISART Digital has been the school for video games and 3D-FX animation, training young talents for the industry.

With campuses in Paris, Nice, and Montreal, ISART's expertise is recognized worldwide..

  • Europe's top-ranked video game school (source: 2022 GAMEducation)
  • 94% graduate employment rate
  • 21 years of experience
  • 1,200 alumni across three continents: AMERICA - ASIA - EUROPE

This reputation is reinforced by an impressive track record: over 150 awards won and over 600 selections in international festivals.

Students benefit from educational guidance provided by industry experts.

With over 500 partner companies, professional experience is at the core of the curriculum.

The alternating schedule allows students to integrate into video game studios during their studies, providing them with real professional experiences.

3D Animation / Special Effects Program

The 3D Cinema program at ISART (3D Animation and Special Effects) provides the necessary skills to work in the film industry, including animated films and special effects, from pre-production to post-production.

The program is availablewith a high school diploma.. It is offered at the Paris and Montreal campuses.

Game Art Program

ISART's Game Art program equips students with the graphic and managerial skills required to work in various artistic specialties of real-time 3D projects.

The program is availablewith a high school diploma.. It is offered at the Paris, Nice and Montreal campuses.

What degree is awarded?

Upon completion of the five-year program, ISART awards the RNCP level 7 title of "Expert in Digital Design, 3D Animation, and Special Effects."

Career Progression

Based on their experience and skills, a Lighting Artist can progress towards the following positions:

Lead Lighting Artist: The Lead Lighting Artist oversees a team of Lighting Artists and ensures that projects are delivered on time and with the expected level of quality.

Visual Effects Supervisor: The Visual Effects Supervisor oversees VFX Artists and all visual effects aspects of a project, including lighting.

Art Director : The Art Director is responsible for the overall artistic vision of a project.

Trainer or Consultant: Trainers or Consultants share their expertise and provide advice to studios on best practices in lighting.



Jury de professionnels 3D/FX

Ciné Story

Ciné Story

Mickael NEZREG | Promo 2019

Les Pros parlent d'ISART

Les Pros parlent d'ISART

BUF Compagnie parle d'ISART

Which Companies Hire Lighting Artists

Lighting Artists are primarily hired by creative companies that produce high-quality images and videos, such as animation studios, film and television production companies, advertising agencies, video game studios, and visual effects studios.

Here are some examples of companies that hire Lighting Artists:

In the film and 3D animation industry: Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination Entertainment, ILM, Weta Digital, Framestore, MPC, Dneg...

In the advertising and visual effects industry: The Mill, MPC Advertising, Framestore Advertising, Method Studios, Digital Domain, Animal Logic, Rodeo FX...

In the video game industry: Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Blizzard Entertainment, Naughty Dog, Rockstar Games, Square Enix, Bethesda Game Studios...

Job Opportunities in France and Abroad

Lighting Artists have employment opportunities in many countries, including France, the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and India.

Job opportunities can be offered under different employment statuses: permanent contracts (CDI), fixed-term contracts (CDD), fixed-term contracts for the performance industry (CDDU), intermittent contracts (intermittence), and freelance positions.

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