Set up lighting for digital animation

Business Sectors (Suites): Animation
Developed by: ScreenSkills
Approved on: 01 Mar 2017


This Standard is about your ability to light characters, props and environments for digital animation in a way that creates the correct ambience and style for the production. Getting the right lighting is an iterative process that needs working on through the production process. This standard is for you if you set up lighting for digital animation.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. determine the requirements that will affect your work by analysing

    briefs, scripts, visual references, storyboards, colour keys and

    technical and production parameters

    1. generate ideas on the use of lighting for each shot that meet the

    design brief

    1. confirm the lighting plot with relevant people

    2. set up lighting to meet creative requirements, technical

    parameters and production schedules

    1. work within existing lighting set ups created by others

    2. light characters, props and environments to create the required

    moods and effects to enhance the narrative

    1. create or work with prototype animations to confirm that lighting

    meets requirements

    1. adjust lighting to meet production and aesthetic requirements of

    specific shots and sequences throughout the production

    1. review material with relevant people and offer suggestions to

    assist others with the production

    1. respond to feedback about the material you create in a positive

    way, making refinements as needed

    1. remain flexible and adaptable to new directions, creative

    requirements and technical developments on an ongoing basis

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the design, style and look of the production and how lighting

    impacts on it

    1. the production parameters, such as budget, schedule, digital

    pipelines and edit suites being used

    1. the technical parameters, such as aspect ratio, colour space and

    format of final deliverables

    1. image capture equipment theory and techniques and the

    limitations of real camera gear

    1. lighting theory and techniques, real world set lighting and vector

    maths sufficient to carry out the role

    1. colour theory and how lighting works in films, painting and


    1. how to set up creative lighting to match real lighting from plate

    2. how to create different moods and effects such as times of day

    and seasons through lighting and camera angles and how it is

    used in story and character

    1. how camera movements impact on the effectiveness of animated

    performance and the physical rigging involved to achieve them

    1. the importance of light, shade and intensity, the impact these

    have on colour and how shadows behave and can be used

    1. the way shading and reflections behave and can be used

    2. the effects of camera positions, angles, lens types and lighting in

    relation to characters, props and environments

    1. how to exploit the potential of industry-standard digital animation


    1. the entire production process and the impact your work has on

    those people who are animating, shooting scenes and


    1. how to effectively work alongside key people

    2. how to use scripting to help workflow


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

01 Mar 2020





Originating Organisation

Creative skillset

Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Arts, Media and Publishing, Designers, Animation Professionals

SOC Code



Set up; Lighting; 3d; Digital; Animation; Characters; Props; Environments; 2d; Light; Ambience; Style; Production