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The final lighting changes the atmosphere of the entire scene. This work-in-progress render does not have the high image quality of the final movie.

Virtual lights enhance mood and believability

What is lighting?

Lighting is an essential part of telling a story. Light shows you where to look and enhances the emotional feel of each scene. In Finding Nemo, the lighting also helped create the feeling of being underwater.

What does a lighting technical designer do?

Lighting designers light each scene to highlight the story and enhance the emotional impact. Pixar’s lighting designers have the additional task of defining virtual lights in the computer. They have to program in all of the individual effects of lighting such as where it casts shadows, how it reflects off shiny surfaces, and how is attenuates over distance in order to achieve the desired artistic effect.

The left half of this frame from Finding Nemo has simple lighting effects, while the right half has full lighting effects.

The left half of this frame from Finding Nemo has simple lighting effects, while the right half has full lighting effects.

Videos and Activities

Pixar’s Lighting Challenge

Creating virtual underwater light

Pixar’s Lighting Challenge

Danielle Feinberg

Director of Photography – Lighting

Danielle Feinberg

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