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CGMaster Academy – The Art of Lighting for Games

CGMaster Academy – The Art of Lighting for GamesThe Art of Lighting

 

The Art of Lighting for Games : A 10-week course introducing students to the science and art of lighting.

Understanding light for digital environments

This course will demonstrate a practical approach to in-game/real-time lighting within the context of a production pipeline. We will be working in Unreal Engine, as it is an easily accessible platform, but the workflow and techniques will be presented in as much of a software-agnostic format as possible. This is because many studios use either proprietary or heavily modified engines that are unique or exclusive to that studio’s pipeline. These techniques will apply to any contemporary pipeline. The course will guide students through weekly examinations of different lighting scenarios, environments, and gameplay styles. The instructor will demonstrate his own lighting approach, and the workflow that he uses to get them from a conceptual state to a working playable level. All necessary scene files for each week will be provided.

COURSE FORMAT: Standard

LECTURE TYPE: Pre-recorded

FEEDBACK: Individual recordings

DURATION: 10 weeks

MATERIALS: Maya (or equivalent), Unreal Engine

SKILLS LEVEL: Intermediate

PREREQUISITES: Knowledge of Maya (or equivalent 3D software) and Unreal Engine


WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

The more you know, the better.

Week 1 | Exterior Environment 1

Considering player pathing and mood | Gathering reference | Setting up the sun direction, color, and intensity | Setting up the sky light. (IBL) | Setting up the sky dome | Setting up simple reflections | Setting up a lightmass importance volume | Baking a GI solution

Week 2 | Exterior Environment 2

Understanding HDR values | Understanding post processing | Working with fog and exposure | Learning to look for separation of foreground and background elements | Setting up a different time of day

Week 3 | Interior Environment 1

Considering player pathing and mood | Gathering reference | Thinking about visual language, leading the eye | Using primary vs. static lights | Setting up local lights | Setting up interior reflections

Week 4 | Interior Environment 2

Basic light budgeting | Visual language (cont.) | Emissives | IES profiles | Spherical harmonics

Week 5 | RTS

This class will examine a top-down real time strategy environment. (i.e. League of Legends). We will use tools and concepts learned in previous projects and apply them to the needs and requirements of this platform. | Player pathing | Visual language | Effect light contribution

Week 6 | MP vs. SP

Character visibility | Post processing: character rim lighting | Considering performance

Week 7 | Cut-Scenes: Environment Lighting

Working with an interior environment | Lighting the scene for a fixed or limited camera perspective | Considering special cases: dynamic conditions, moving platforms, scripted lights | Working with post-processing

Week 8 | Cut-Scenes: Character Lighting

Working with a 3-point light rig | Determining readability | Integrating the characters with the background lighting

Week 9 | Final Project

Putting together a final level with interior and exterior areas | Polish the level | Color grading | Post processing: volumetrics and auto exposure

Week 10 | Final Project (continued)

Discussing performance | Discussing PBR | Expectations of a professional work environment

Watch the Introduction Video : 

 

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