3D Production Pipeline – Lighting to Compositing

Following last week’s post, I’ll be writing about the last 3 stages of 3D development: Lighting, rendering, and compositing.


Lighting is the placement virtual “lights” that illuminate objects. The lighting specialist will use the documentation created in the pre-production phase to establish the goal of the scene before any actual lighting setup. Through this, they will be sure to have the same vision as the director to accurately portray the scene as it was intended to be. Once the lighting specialist has understood what the director wants for the scene, they then place the lights in the appropriate places, these can later be changed by altering certain values to change the result given.



Rendering is the stage that brings the images to life. It uses a lot of Maths and a lot of processing power to draw the scene into an image. When an animation is rendered, all objects that have animation are positioned to where they should be when the frame is taken. To make the entire animation, the program renders, positions everything 1/24 seconds ahead of where it is (if the frame rate is 24 fps) and then repeats until it’s finished which it turned all of the images into a video file.



This is the final stage where the project comes to life. It’s mostly completed by someone more accustomed to film since the final result would rely heavy on correct timing for cuts between scenes. It’s the stage where the scenes rendered are placed together one after another with certain parts cut out and others chopped up and placed with some stuff between. It is also the time when special effects are added that couldn’t be done in rendering.



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