80 Level Ratings: 10 Video Guides on Lighting

In this 80 Level Rating, we collected 10 great videos on the topic of lighting for those who want to learn some new lighting techniques.

When it comes to 3D art, be it static or in movement, lighting is one of the most important parts of any artist's workflow. From small props to huge environments, the project can be either ruined or made excellent depending on the particular lighting techniques the artist uses. That's why in this 80 Level Rating we collected excellent tutorials that will help aspiring artists to comprehend the topic of lighting and learn some new techniques. Plus, we included several video breakdowns that explain how lighting is used by filmmakers to accentuate certain moments in their movies.

We'll begin our list with one of the best tutorial-makers in existence and Unreal Engine guru William Faucher. In this particular tutorial, William talks about the exterior lighting setup in UE4. The author discusses both raytracing/raytraced lighting and non-RTX-based lighting, digging into the core of individual lights and various lighting methods. The lighting setup in this video is not baked but rather fully dynamic. An excellent tutorial for aspiring artists.

In this video, a Cinematic 3D Artist Martin Klekner shares many character lighting tips that he learned throughout his career. From light placement to adjusting its quality, quantity, and color, you will learn practical workflows to make your character lighting more cinematic. By deconstructing several examples of 3D renders, Martin explains how to make your projects more appealing and help you in your storytelling needs.

What's more, the entire lighting process takes place in Blender, one of the most commonly used 3D tools, so if you are also a Blender Artist, this tutorial is a must-watch for you.

Many artists already know the term Chiaroscuro created by Leonardo da Vinci – the perfect definition for a lighting style that mixes the light and the dark to create a great effect. Chiaroscuro lighting is a visually stunning technique that helps turn a two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional scene. This video is a great introductory video for those who know nothing about lighting techniques but want to learn. What moments are best captured in brightness and in dark? How do filmmakers use Chiaroscuro? How has the technique been used over history? All these questions and more are answered in this video.

This next video, published by the developers of Redshift, a GPU-accelerated 3D rendering software developed by Maxon, walks you through an introduction to lighting in the Redshift plugin for Cinema 4D. The developer Merk Vilson explains all the nuances of lighting setup in the plug-in, how to use it to achieve a desirable result, and what techniques are the best if you light an object in C4D. The tutorial files can also be downloaded by clicking this link.

Star Wars episodes 7-9 are without a doubt one of the most controversial movies in existence. But say what you want about the plot, character development, and the coherence of the story, you must admit that on the technical level, these movies are great, partly, thanks to amazing lighting techniques that were used. 

In this video, Dan Mindel, a frequent collaborator of JJ Abrams, discusses the various lighting techniques he has harnessed over the years, working with different lighting fixtures (including LED's) and integrating them into the film set. Mindel explains how he works with lighting and what lighting experiments were conducted during the production of the movies.

In this video, Senior Producer at Unity Sam Dogantimur a.k.a. Sykoo covers the realistic lighting setup in Unity 2020/2019.4 with HDRP (High Definition Render Pipeline) for environment designs, environment art, and level design. The author thoroughly explains how to work with Directional Lights and Multiple Lights, talks about the Indirect Lighting Controller, and shows how Reflection Probes work. What's more, this tutorial is very beginner-friendly, so if you are an aspiring Unity artist, this tutorial is exactly what you need.

We all know and love Unreal Engine 5's Lumen tool, a tool that singlehandedly changed the lighting workflow of many artists. But, if you are a beginner, this tool and all the nuances of it can simply be overwhelming. Luckily, a 3D Artist known as pinkpocketTV has shared a great tutorial on using Lumen in your Unreal Engine projects. The author explains how to start with Lumen, how to add dynamic bounce light and global illumination (GI) to your scenes, how to use emissive materials to dynamically light our scenes, and shows how you can get real-time reflections with Lumen.

If you are sick and tired of a classical 3-point lighting system and want to add something new to your 3D project, we've got this video just for you. One of the most prominent and famous directors of all times Stanley Kubrick is well-known to many for using unorthodox techniques in his movies. One of the said techniques is called Practical Lighting, meaning the light sources visible in the frame also function to light the entire scene, for example, a candle, a fire pit, or a lamp. This technique is rarely used in 3D art but can be excellently implemented to diversify your portfolio. To learn how, check out this video and learn the Practical Lighting techniques used by Kubrick in his films.

In this video series, tutorial-maker Daniel Stringer explains everything there is to explain about lighting in Unity and how you can light your games. The series covers light types, light settings, light mode, render pipeline variation, light optimization, and much more. Every aspect of lighting in Unity is thoroughly explained by the author so if you need to learn something new to add to your Unity project, we suggest watching all of them.

And finally, we have a great tutorial for those who want to use Blender to set up lighting in their projects. By watching this video, you will learn how to do realistic environment (outdoor) lighting in Blender in just a matter of minutes. A 3D Artist Obaidur Rahman gives an in-depth explanation of the lighting setup, shows some interesting techniques, and explains why lighting is so important.

By the way, there is an Instagram account dedicated entirely to film, TV, and commercial lighting. The channel is called filmlights and in case you are interested in the topic, we highly encourage you to visit it to learn more about lighting techniques used in cinema.

These were our 10 great tutorials that will definitely teach you a thing or two about lighting. Do you agree with our list? What tutorials should we have added here? What tutorials did you use while you were learning? Leave your thoughts down in the comments below or on our new Reddit pageour new Telegram channel, on Instagram or Twitter.

Preview image by Victoria Zavhorodnia

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