What is a Lighting Artist?

The lighting artist is responsible for illuminating all CG assets, characters, and/or environments for live action visual effects and or animated projects. Tasks can range between the more technical matching of light from filmed backgrounds through to the more creative mood enhancing styles of animated content. They use light to enhance the depth, tone, atmosphere and mood of a given scene. A lighting artist works to the vision of the director and create different styles of lighting to convey extraordinary effects. 

Our 16-Week Program

We offer a Lighting Technical Director Certificate program that prepares future artists for the trade of Digital Lighting for animation, television and feature film quality visual effects production by training students in Katana. The program is designed to build a portfolio demonstrating both animated and photo-real lighting skills. This course, taught by Francois Gendron, serves as a stepping stone toward accessing some of the most sought-after studios in the industry.

Meet Your Instructor

Francois Gendron


My Teaching Philosophy

In the last few years, I’ve really seen the VFX industry pushing for more realistic lighting, based on real-life light calculation. This is commonly called Physically Based Rendering, or PBR, and was not possible a few years ago because computers were not powerful enough. It’s great because the light reacts more like it does in real life, but the downside is that it takes longer to create an image. 

As a lighting teacher, I try to focus on the art of lighting as much as possible, not the tools. What I try to develop in the classroom is a good balance in between technical and artist. A good lighter will know the tools they need to make their shot look good and they will know how to find work arounds when the specific tools they use is not working for the specific task they are working on. At the end when the image is final, the tools or software are not important. Only the look counts.

I do this because, as a lighter, you often move to different companies and the tools and software change from company to company. A good lighter will want to use great tools, like Katana, but the tools you use won’t make you a great lighter, just as a good saw won’t make you a great carpenter. 

Because machines are stronger and renderers are more physically accurate, there are more places to express our artistic lighting skills. In the past, a great part of the lighting process was making the lighting look real. With the upcoming technology, there are more and more places to express emotion through lighting, which is a great part of what is supposed to be done in lighting. I’m a strong believer in working by doing it again and again. There is no shortcut, so be patient, and spend many hours sitting in the dark hitting render. 

Alumni Success

Our Lighting alumni have gone on to work on the biggest feature films in the world. With their specialized knowledge of Katana and fundamental compositing skills with Nuke X, alumni have been actively sought out by the industry. They all took the leap of faith that led to a creatively fulfilling career with the guidance of our Instructor and industry ready training. 


What You Will Learn

These are the core concepts that will be covered in our Lighting Program using Foundry’s Katana Software. Our curriculum evolves and adapts to fit Industry needs.


Katana Essentials

Here we will learn how to use Katana with efficiency and all the workflow and tools needed to build a good lighting shot.

Lighting Theory

Lighting and Colour Theory

To fully grasp the influence of colour, tone, and composition of lighting, we will cover the theoretical aspects of lighting and colour.



A big part of lighting is to render the image photo-realistically. To do this properly, a lighter must understand setting, denoise, and the concept of rendering as a whole. We will learn here how to tweak the render setting to make the technical side of the image great.

Understanding Renderers

Arnold Essentials

You will learn all the main settings to produce phenomenal lighting that captures the creative and technical aspects of light in CG space using Arnold Render.

The Lighting Process

Lighting Process

In this area, you will learn lighting in both fully animated movies and live action movies. Animation movies and live action movies have two different lighting pipelines. Due to this difference, you will learn and practice both to be adaptable for any feature film situation.

Compositing for Lighters

Compositing for Lighters

Although this is a lighting course, light and compositing come hand in hand in the visual effects production pipeline. This is because both are at the end of the production line. In animated movies, lighters need to do their own compositing. You will learn everything a lighter needs to know to do the compositing of a shot.

What To Expect



Designed by Francois Gendron, this lighting course deep dive into every aspect of photo-real and animation Lighting. The why, the how, and the when to use a tool or node will be expertly taught. If you are the kind of person that needs to know how light works in a shot with efficiency, you are going to love this!

Lighting Projects

Lighting Projects

We will work on four different projects covering all aspects of lighting. From portrait lighting, matching a colour script, indoor lighting, and outdoor lighting, you will learn the essentials of lighting in CG space and live action space.

Practice Exercises

Practice Exercise

Over the duration of my course, I prepare a few exercises covering hard topics to allow students to have a deep understanding of light. More importantly, training you in a studio environment of what actual tasks will be like in visual effect studios.

Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Weekly web cam review of student’s work and email reviews. This is to be done with pixel accuracy as to prepare students for Studio Dailies.

Industry Studies

Industry Insight

Learn about the Past, the Present, and the Future of the Visual Effects Industry. Over the course of this program, I will share my 20 years of experience in lighting in 5 different countries.

Career Prep

Career Prep

If you want a career in visual effects, not only do you need to know how to do shots, you also need to know how to get Jobs. Learn how to create a demo reel, breakdowns, present yourself on social media, apply for jobs, and learn how to interact with recruiters.

Select Student Reels

Visit our Vimeo to see more video content. 

Admission Info

Academic Start Date

To Be Determined – Contact us for further details.

What We Look For...

The following criteria provides a general idea of what we look for in the personal letter and portfolio that you must submit in the application process. It is important to note that the quality of these items are considered together with the general requirements needed to apply to Lost Boys

Tuition Costs - TBD

Our Lighting Program produces specialized artists who utilize the very powerful Katana software. This course will prepare you for all that is required by a lighting artist in the visual effects industry. With the constantly evolving industry and our programs adaptability to it, our program is the right step for those who are looking for a highly-specialized course prepared to get you into the industry. 


Contact For More Information


Contact For More Information

Interested in the program? Check out the admission process!