Introduction to Photorealistic Lighting

Expand Your Lighting Knowledge into Visual Effects (VFX). Gain the foundational skills + Portfolio to get a job in VFX.

  Enroll in Course

Pre-enrollment is now open!

The course begins July 2023!!

Do you want to become a Lighting Artist for VFX but don’t have the portfolio and foundational background to apply for the job?

We hear you.

That’s why we created the Introduction to Photorealistic Lighting:

This course will give you the necessary skills and knowledge to apply confidently to a VFX lighting job. Whether you are an existing Academy of Animated Art student in our lighting for animation program looking to expand your portfolio with photorealistic lighting skills, or someone who has been trying to learn VFX on your own and is ready to get everything you need in one place (including backplates ready to use) - this program is for you!

In today's competitive job market, it's essential to have a diverse skill set that sets you apart from other applicants. The Photorealistic Lighting course covers the technical aspects of lighting for VFX and provides real-world experience that you can add to your portfolio, making you a more competitive candidate for any job opportunity.

Plus, with the Academy of Animated Art, you get everything you need to succeed in the VFX industry—from industry professionals as your teachers to a comprehensive curriculum that provides you with the skills and knowledge you need to achieve your goals.

Don't let a lack of knowledge or experience hold you back from your dream job! Enroll now and start your journey toward success in the VFX industry.

How would your life change if you were to get a job in VFX?

Work On Something Cool!
Imagine this...You actually like the projects you are working on! You can work on the next generation of blockbuster visual effects films.

Think about Star Wars, Spiderverse, Lord of the Rings, and the last Marvel movie you saw, and imagine being a part of a film that your child, your grandchildren, and countless children worldwide will see. Your art can inspire people for generations to come!

Earn More Money Than You Ever Thought Possible!
Did you know the Lighting Artist's salary in VFX average $79,800 annually? What could earning that salary do for your life? Could you stop worrying about how you will pay your rent every month? Could you finally get that apartment you’ve always wanted? Or maybe that car? Support your family?

*Information and visual from

More importantly, you can finally earn a stable living allowing you to live the life you’ve always wanted. Not only vacations but an income you can use to support yourself and your loved ones.

Be Proud Of Your Job
Do you hate when people ask, “What do you do for a living?” Do you feel indifferent or embarrassed of the answer? Imagine never feeling that way ever again. Imagine being at a party or family gathering when someone asks you that question, and you get to proudly proclaim, “I work as a Lighting Artist in Visual Effects. And I just finished working on [insert awesome movie…].”

At the Academy of Animated Art, our courses are designed with one goal in mind ... Getting you a job.

Taught by industry professionals with recruiting experience, we know exactly what employers are looking for and what you need to succeed in the industry. Whether you're looking to turn your 3D hobby into a career or take your existing skills to the next level, our courses are tailored to help you achieve your goals.

Introduction to Photorealistic Lighting not only teaches you the foundational skills of visual effects lighting but also allows you to create a portfolio of your work. With the guidance of professional learning content and personalized feedback, you can showcase your skills and take the first step towards a successful career in the VFX industry.

  • Knowledge: Learn foundational VFX creative and technical knowledge that will give you the confidence and skills to land your first job as a Lighting Artist in VFX.
  • Demo Reel: Create work for your demo reel, that will get you noticed by recruiters.
  • Career Opportunities: Our program is tailored specifically to individuals looking to expand their lighting skill set and broaden their job opportunities within the exciting world of VFX.

Don't just take our word for it - our students have gone on to work at top studios like MPC, Sony, Dreamworks, and more. Join the Academy of Animated Art today and take the first step toward your career in VFX.

Introduction to Photorealistic Lighting (The details!)

In this course, you'll learn all about the art of visual effects and how to create realistic lighting effects that will take your projects to the next level.

Photorealistic lighting is an essential aspect of creating immersive and believable visuals. Our class will teach you everything you need to know, from the fundamentals of lighting theory to the technical skills required to use software like Maya and Arnold to create high-quality, realistic lighting.

Not only will this course help you excel creatively and technically, but it can also boost your career opportunities in the visual effects industry. Photorealistic lighting is in high demand, and by mastering these skills, you'll be more competitive in the job market.

What you will learn, get, and create from this course:

Master VFX: Gain Expertise and Confidence

Picture yourself confidently engaging in conversations about the ins and outs of VFX with in-depth knowledge and a firm stance. You will be able to answer complex questions like, "What is photorealism in the context of live action?" and discuss VFX's idea of photorealism with ease, and know why to avoid hyperreal product lighting. This level of expert knowledge will come easily to you after taking this class.

By mastering this foundational information, you will develop a unique perspective on the integration of physical objects in the plate. Cameras, HDRIs, environments, atmospheric effects, and lighting will come naturally to you and become an integral part of your vocabulary..

Imagine being able to confidently answer challenging questions, such as, "What happens to our perception of the image as it gets captured on film / digital sensors?" You will gain the skills and knowledge needed to tackle these types of questions and more.

  • Develop in-depth knowledge of VFX and photorealistic lighting
  • Confidently answer complex questions about image perception and VFX techniques.
  • Get a basic technical introduction of VFX, giving you the power to concentrate on iterating with your creativity.

An inside view of what a VFX shot looks like in the 3D software from this course

Build Your VFX Reel with High-Quality Assets and Hands-On Experience

The biggest advantage of taking our program is the work you'll have to show for it. We provide our students with the opportunity to work on a variety of real-life projects, giving you quality assets to add to your reel. With our program, you'll be able to showcase your skills to potential employers and make your application stand out from the crowd.

At our program, we understand that one of the biggest challenges when starting in VFX is having quality assets to work with. That's why we provide our students with everything they need to create without obstacles. We provide high-quality backplates, eliminating the need for you to spend time and effort sourcing them on your own. With this valuable asset, you'll be able to focus on your lighting skills and make the most of your time in the program

Our VFX lighting program goes beyond just teaching you how to light a single scenario. We cover multiple lighting scenarios, giving you a depth of hands-on experience and knowledge that will set you apart from others in the field. With the work you produce during the program, you'll have the confidence to apply for junior VFX lighting jobs and take the first step towards a successful career in VFX. Don't let a lack of experience hold you back – enroll in our VFX lighting program now and start your journey towards a bright future.

  • Gain real-life project experience to add to your reel.
  • Access to high-quality backplates to use in your lighting projects.
  • Cover multiple lighting scenarios for a depth of hands-on experience and knowledge.

*Examples of professional plates that will be provided in this class!

Have a built-in support system!

Working in isolation can be tough, especially in the creative industry. Without anyone to turn to for feedback, questions or motivation, it's easy to feel stuck and overwhelmed. That's why we prioritize support as a key element of our program. Our students have access to a community of creative individuals who share their passion for the industry, to provide a supportive and collaborative learning environment.

You will receive personalized feedback on your work, offering insight from industry professionals. This feedback is essential for improvement and growth, and we ensure that each student receives the guidance they need to progress in their craft. Additionally, our community provides a space to connect with other aspiring artists, sharing knowledge and tips on techniques and software. With our program, you'll never have to feel like you're going at it alone. Join our supportive community and take your skills to the next level.

Other Course Features:

  • All course lectures are pre-recorded and available whenever you are ready.
  • You will have Lifetime Access To All Materials...even course updates.
  • Learn at your own pace. If you are busy now, but want to take advantage of this offer. Enroll now and you can begin whenever you are ready. Learn at whatever pace works for you.
  • 1 year of professional feedback

More sneak peeks into the course materials:

You might be wondering ...

Is the software included in the course enrollment?

Maya: Yes! Free Student License Eligible as an Enrolled AAA student.

Arnold: Yes! Free with Maya! (not included if using software other than Maya)

Nuke: Special student discount for Foundry student bundle for enrolled students.

Your Instructor

Vadim Turchin
Vadim Turchin

Vadim Turchin's love for the art of filmmaking and photorealism has been a driving force throughout his 25-year career in the industry. Starting as a generalist, he worked his way up the ranks of CG to become a VFX Supervisor/Creative Director, mastering his craft and contributing to the success of some of the biggest names in the business. Currently, Vadim is based at Mill, one of the world's leading VFX facilities, where he continues to push the boundaries of what is possible with his passion for the art. Having honed his skills at top facilities like PSYOP, Curious Pictures, RhinoFX, MPC, and SHOWTIME, Vadim is thrilled to share his wealth of knowledge and experiences with the next generation of artists, inspiring and guiding them to excel in their creative journeys.


Quick recap:

The benefits of enrolling in Introduction to Photorealistic Lighting:

Master VFX Fundamentals and Speak with Confidence

After taking this class, you will be able to confidently discuss VFX concepts, answer complex questions, and develop an in-depth understanding of photorealistic lighting and integration of physical objects in the plate. You'll gain a unique perspective on VFX and be able to concentrate on iterating with your creativity.

  • Gain in-depth knowledge of VFX and photorealistic lighting
  • Confidently answer complex questions about image perception and VFX techniques
  • Get a basic technical introduction to VFX, allowing you to focus on creativity.

Build Your VFX Reel with High-Quality Assets and Hands-On Experience

Our VFX lighting program provides hands-on experience and high-quality assets to build your reel and showcase your skills to potential employers. With multiple lighting scenarios covered, you'll gain a depth of knowledge and confidence to apply for junior VFX lighting jobs and kickstart your career in the field.

  • Gain real-life project experience for your reel.
  • Access to high-quality backplates for efficient workflow.
  • Cover multiple lighting scenarios for a depth of knowledge and confidence.

Have a built-in support system!

Our program provides a supportive and collaborative learning environment by giving you access to a community of creative individuals who share your passion for the industry. You'll receive personalized feedback on your work from industry professionals, essential for improvement and growth, and connect with other aspiring artists to share knowledge and tips on techniques and software.

  • Access to a community of creative individuals who share your passion for the industry.
  • Receive personalized feedback from industry professionals to ensure growth and improvement in your craft.

Get started now!


Is Academy of Animated Art right for you?

If any of this sounds like you, Academy of Animated Art is right for you.

  • Are you someone that has always dreamed of a challenging, rewarding career that pushes you both technically and artistically? We are right for you.
  • Have you been trying and trying to make better looking 3D images, but just can’t figure out where to begin?Academy of Animated Art is right for you.
  • Do you live where there are no schools are teaching visual effects? Academy of Animated Art is right for you.
  • Are you looking to change careers but even the thought of paying to go back to a traditional school sounds like torture? Academy of Animated Art is right for you.
  • Have you ever dreamed of seeing your name in the credits of the next VFX film? We are right for you.

What if I don’t know 3D or have any technical background?

Not a problem!

No previous VFX or 3D experience is necessary!

For those new to 3D and/or who would like more technical learnings - you can add the VFX tech bundle to your enrollment, including Maya and Arnold Technical workshops - You will find this option at checkout as an add-on.

How much time will this take?

Investing in your career doesn't have to mean sacrificing your valuable time. Our program is tailored to fit your busy schedule; with all learning content available online and on-demand, you can learn at your convenience, dedicating just one hour per day to see results. Plus, our professional feedback system is also flexible - post your work when you're ready and receive insightful feedback from industry professionals.

  • Get professional feedback tailored to your schedule and needs
  • Enjoy the convenience of online learning with on-demand access to all course material.
  • Achieve your dream career with just one hour of dedication per day
      • An hour per day to have a career that you love.
      • An hour to earn a high salary in a creative field.
      • An hour to have your name in the credits of the next VFX film!

Student's work from the class:

Blank Backplates are supplied:

Students seamlessly integrate 3D objects into the scene


Still, not sure if Academy of Animated Art is right for you?

Believe me, we get it. Although these courses are a fraction of the cost you would pay a traditional school, this is still a lot of money. So here are some reasons why you should be willing to give us a try.

  • We also offer a 15-day money back guarantee. If you sign up and find that Academy of Animated Art isn’t right for you, we will offer a refund, when you show us that you have gone through one lecture and done the work, we want to make sure that you try!
  • We offer lifetime access to all our courses. This means you will have access to all the updates and changes we make to the classes as this ever-changing industry evolves.

Academy of Animated Art works hard to create courses that will provide value to our students. We are confident you'll LOVE this course, too. But if for some reason you don't, then we will gladly give you a full refund within 15 days.


Who is behind Academy of Animated Art?

Jasmine Katatikarn and Michael Tanzillo are the Co-Founders of Academy of Animated Art. They are both Senior Lighting Artists at Blue Sky Studios with a combined 20+ years of working on VFX and Animated Films.

Mike and Jasmine created The Academy of Animated Art because working in animated features and visual effects has been a dream come true. They were both struggling, young artists who were a bit lost before making the decision to try and become lighting artists. Since then, they have been able to launch careers that have allowed them the opportunity to not only work in an industry that is challenging and fulfilling, but also lead a full life outside of work including traveling the world and starting a family.

This success did not come without a price. Mike and Jasmine have combined to spend over $100,000 on their education before getting their first jobs in animation. Even after that, there was still a gap between what they learned in school and what they needed to know to ultimately succeed in this industry. Now, after more than 20 films and countless student loan payments, they have designed a way to teach artists the necessary skills in order to be successful in this industry without the huge financial burden. The system included a school designed to be an online education system that was affordable and accessible to everyone around the world who wants to chase their dream of working on the next big animated film.

In other words, they have designed a school they wish existed so they could get their dream job faster and save $100,000 in the process.

That school is Academy of Animated Art.

Get started now!