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Keywords
Electronics Arts, game development, Infinity Ward, lighting design, Naught Dog, Vivian Ding

Lighting Up Games

An Interview with Vivian Ding

David Wolinsky (Independent Journalist)

Introduction

Vivian Ding is a Washington State–based lighting artist who has directed, hired, and trained teams behind many of the biggest blockbuster video games. After starting her career in 2003 with animation production company Mondo Media, she pivoted into working on games in 2005. She steadily built an impressive CV as the industry eventually awakened to what lighting can bring to video games. In the first decade of the 2000s, game studios had not yet fully identified or understood the need for artists who can enhance the atmosphere, tone, depth, and mood of digital environments.

Ding has been refining how to create strong visual senses of color, workflows, and standards to assure lighting supports a game’s storytelling across multiple hardware generations of console titles. As of this writing, her credits include Dead Space (2008), Dead Space 2 (2011), The Last of Us (2013), Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (2016), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), and the upcoming 2022 Call of Duty sequel.

David Wolinsky, creator of the Don’t Die interview series now archived at the Stanford University Libraries, interviewed Ding by telephone over two sessions on April 25, 2020, and October 3, 2020.1 Some of her responses were subsequently supplemented via email. The text has been lightly edited for legibility and clarity.

Interview

David Wolinsky: Can you talk a little bit about how you became a lighting artist who works on big-budget, commercial video games?

Vivian Ding: Before the year 2000, I was in Taiwan, where I was born and raised. My major in college there was theater, to learn stage design. Back then, I wasn’t really doing lighting, but stage-design lighting. Broadway show-like live performance, that kind of stuff. After school, I was working at a bunch of performance centers, freelancing, doing stage design. And at some point, I felt like this was not a path that can go wider because entertainment live performance is not really a big market for making a good living.

Also, back then, the computer-graphic stuff and the applications weren’t advanced, so a lot of things basically utilized the traditional engineering drawing. I’d been doing a lot of that. I went to scene shops working with a bunch of people, cutting wood, making props, getting my hands dirty, and grabbing a hammer and brushes. So, [I was doing] this kind of thing until before 2000. Then, the internet started growing really big, and so I’m getting more exposure to what people do internationally.

Back then we had this software called AutoCAD, people using that for industrial design, architecture, or even graphic design. So, I kind of started using it instead of using a pencil to draw. That made me feel like: “You know, this is kind of interesting and fascinating.” But it also made me feel a little bit excited and stupid at the same time. [Laughs]

My mom didn’t think that staying at a theater job was a good career path. Both my parents worked for the government: one for the national bank and one for city hall. Their whole life, they just had a very consistent life. They wanted me to follow the same path, but I wasn’t like that. I had more of an artist’s mind. I like to do the thing I have passion about. About 1998 to 1999, I started to have this thought that maybe I should go somewhere else to change my career a little bit but stay in a similar path. That’s where I started looking into a computer-art program. So, finally 2000ish, I got accepted to the San Francisco Academy of Art University. That’s how this whole journey started.

DW: What was the curriculum like there at that time? Were there any particularly influential instructors?

VD: I’d say my work definitely was influenced by some instructors at the Academy of Art University [AAU]. Kevin Cain, who was the director of our computer arts graduate department, is a master of stage and 3-D lighting with wide knowledge that related to my previous BFA study in theater in Taiwan, as well as my MFA program in computer arts at AAU. I was really inspired by his classes like Lighting and Cameras and Advanced Texturing and Lighting. Through those classes, I was not just understanding the essential principles of lighting design better from artistic practices but also continually learning advanced shading and rendering from the tech side. For instance from Basic Lighting 101: what are the light types (e.g., directional light, spot light, Omni light, area light, etc.), to how to set up a light rig (with key light, fill light, and rim light), to working with different camera settings, and to creating the desired moods/tones for storytelling through lighting. Kevin was also constantly introducing the new rendering tech from the architectural and film industries to the school, (e.g., high-dynamic-range [HDR] lighting capture, normal mapping, and approaches to animation pipelines).

I was really having fun learning from the programs and found my passion in CG [computer-generated] lighting. Because of that, I decided to focus on lighting design as my primary major.

DW: Was there a career path you were hoping to follow? Was there someplace you hoped to maybe end up, or is that still something you’re working toward today?

VD: I was struggling in the last year of my academy time. I was like, “Should I go to film? Should I go to games?” ’Cause I remember a lot of instructors, they came from the film industry. They said, “Well, if you want to really polish and make yourself learn more, open your eyes, you should go for film. But if you want to have a job that is more low-quality, easygoing, and secure, you should go to games.” Which I found is not true. [laughs] That was in 2004, I believe. A lot of technology, also how people see games, started changing from there.

I didn’t get a film job, unfortunately. I mean, I tried. My first contractor job around 2004 was working for a company in San Francisco called Mondo Media. They wanted somebody who could do 3-D stuff, and that’s kind of in between because they do cinematics for games. So, I can use my lighting skills and do the prerendered stuff, and people are actually using that for film, because you have a bunch of scenes in 3-D prerendered. But for this purpose, they’re making cinematics for EA—I remember it was The Godfather game, and also they did the cinematics for James Bond [007: From Russia with Love]. That’s also EA. That led to me taking my first game job at EA Redwood Shores, and later they changed the name to Visceral Games. That’s how my real career started.

DW: This was a time when many game companies didn’t have lighting positions.

VD: Right.

DW: To what degree did you feel empowered doing that work, then? To what degree were you maybe bluffing and pretending you knew what the work was?

VD: The Godfather, that was a big team because the pipeline needed more lighters for each level. That’s where I started learning the very basic lighting stuff, what’s called lightmap and vertex lighting. The game had a very big New York City to build, so we needed multiple lighters on the different parts of the project to move forward. From there, I think that was the first time that I got my hands on a set and learned how a production works, and what a lighter is responsible for in his lighting work to support the game. Basically, I learned everything I needed to do for a project.

And then the second one, I think that was in the transition to The Godfather II. So, they dragged me in to help with The Simpsons Game. On The Simpsons, very interesting. They didn’t need lighting support in the beginning. The game used procedural lighting, so each level already had a preset time-of-day lighting, like daytime, afternoon, or sunset. So, there’s not much more for a lighter to do. They put me on the environment team to help with texturing and modeling. Like I said, I did this kind of stuff at school, although I knew that wouldn’t be my career path. I’m still capable of doing that, just not doing that as fast as the environment artists, but I learned something.

With Dead Space, the first one, when the production happened, I immediately joined the team and that was where I started learning scripting for lighting. It’s a horror sci-fi action game, so, there’s a big moment that happens. You figure out some puzzles, like the lighting from condition A to condition B, say, in an engine room where you finished a puzzle, and lights start to happen, machines start to turn on. So for all the things you need to script how that’s turning on. That becomes a job for lighting artists to be more creative: from a stark environment and have lights turned on, engine turned on, and even the posteffects, the color grading from a very blue tone to a very intense and warm tone. That is where I started thinking about lighting, not just lighting an environment, but to think about lighting as a strategy. That’s how I learned a lot of technical thinking, from there.

Yes, to your point, at some smaller game studios or maybe over ten years ago in the game industry, lighting was not a common independent principle or even had its own department. So back then, environment artists used to handle lighting creation as part of their workflow or had a few artists with some lighting specialties under an environment department for their lighting needs.

But I was lucky to be hired as a lighting artist from the beginning at EA, and then as senior lighting artist at Naughty Dog and Riot Games, to now as a principal lighting artist at Infinity Ward. Most of the projects that I have been working on usually had a decent-sized lighting team from a few to twenty lighters or even multiple lighting teams across co-dev[elopment] studios sometimes. From my own experience, I always felt empowered and given freedom in my work as a lighting person and as a professional woman in general. Although different studios have different cultures in terms of communication and work style, learning and sharing knowledge has always been encouraged among us.

In addition, it’s also much easier these days to explore CG-related information and find solutions via the internet, online forums, third-party engine documentations, workshops, events, and even through the community. It’s definitely less and less struggling and fighting along by myself.

DW: What actually is a lighting artist’s job? What are the technicalities of it? Where is there more room for creative expression? Where, whenever possible, do you push to do more?

VD: It depends on where we are in the production. From the very beginning, we will go to a kickoff meeting, meaning this is a new level that’s going to start right now, and we go there and get all the information. Design will hand off a block-model map, which doesn’t really have much detail: “I want this building to be here, the path has to be here.” They’re certain of the path and glancing angles, so we can shoot, so we can play with things.

From there, we will go to testing what the lighting could be. Maybe there’s some possibilities. We’ll start on our first lighting pass. We’ll go to our desks and load the map and run the engine, and start putting up the sky, and placing the lights, and then we talk to the environment artists and do a first pass. We keep iterating lighting a few times, and then we will have play tests internally, externally, and we find out if things work. At the same time, the art director will come and give us the art direction and say if he wants things in a certain way to make sure we’re on the right track.

Also, my responsibility is that after we put in all the artwork, we also have to fix all the bugs. Sometimes the tester comes back and says, “Hey, you did a really good job on the lighting, but you used too many lights.” The game runs at a slower frame rate, and everything starts getting really bad because when you don’t have a good frame rate, you play the game lagging. That’s also one of the responsibilities.

It depends on the studio and the project—the lighting artist also will handle parts of the posteffects. For example, fog or depth of field or volumetric “god rays.” Or, we even can have color grading, you can change how you want the color. You have a different color script you can follow, and you can change color from time to time, and you can script that change or gradually transition from moment A to moment B. Then, if something doesn’t work—say, the frame rate is bad or we have a lighting bug and QA [quality assurance] sends it back, you will adjust to fix that. If it’s something where you need collaboration from the other departments, you’ll talk about it and fix stuff and continue.

At the end, we all go to play tests. It’s very important. You can’t just work on something you don’t play, because otherwise you don’t really see how the game flow works. I’m not saying you have to play a game to do a good job for your artwork, but it definitely helps. You’ll understand why at this moment you need to do certain things, why design is doing things this way. And so, you can use the lighting to help or tell the designer beforehand and say, “Hey, if you want this certain thing and you don’t consider lighting until later, we will have problems, because we didn’t set up the lighting this specific way, and this decision will cause difficulties.”

DW: What about hardware? How has your job changed from console generation to console generation?

VD: Today, if you don’t develop your own engine, you have Unreal, you have Unity, and I think from 2016, they started to give us a free subscription for personal use, students, or small companies. The hardware definitely is getting better and better and the software is getting better and better, so you actually can have more resources you can use, and a lot of tutorials online. Even if you get a piece of software and hardware and don’t know what to do, you can always get answers—somebody you already knew or the internet. So, that’s definitely pushed the possibilities for what an engine could do.

Even right now, Nvidia, they have a graphic card, RTX, and some engines try to make real-time lighting, rendering for shadows, for reflections. It’s definitely become more advanced and everything is more believable, but nothing’s cheap, right? Everything costs. So, while your hardware is more compatible with your engine and you can bring your visual level up, but still, if you’re talking about specific games that require running a good frame rate—a first-person shooter, for example? You can see a lot of gamers have a high-end machine because it’s necessary, or they will tell you, “Okay, certain modes you can turn on, and certain modes you cannot.”

But sometimes you don’t want to make the players feel like, “Okay, I don’t have good gear. Am I just a secondary citizen? I don’t get to see this?” But some gamers, even if they have a really good gaming machine, they choose to turn off some rendering features because they run faster. Everybody has a different preference for how they’re playing games.

Some game companies I worked for were Naughty Dog, Infinity Ward, and Riot Games. I was on the R&D team [at Riot Games] and Valorant just came out of beta. Maybe you saw the footage. This one specifically, we wanted to run on low specs. Meaning, if people are playing in an internet cafe overseas, they don’t want these players to feel they don’t have better gaming gear, so they’re feeling like they don’t see the game visually the same way or play the same way. So, the art style in Valorant is more a 2.5-D–painterly look rather than a realistic style that would have a higher graphics requirement. This design is also better for gameplay readability and its graphics are functional and stylish, but it’s still efficient and possible for it to run well.

Compared to when I worked at Naughty Dog, this all mattered, too, but because their games usually represent the graphics for PlayStation, the needs of these two different production studios have different approaches. You have to utilize what is more important. I have all these “10” features I can turn on, but do I have to? Can I do it? You have to have your strategy in between or beforehand. Some things have to be more precomputed. For example, with lots of baked lightmaps instead of run-time lighting, sometimes I can have a little bit of a luxury of run-time features. So, say a flashlight moves and you can see shadows moving at the same time. Maybe with certain games you just can’t have that luxury and you have to think about different strategies.

This all matters to the pipeline. You have to set it in the beginning so the graphics engineers can help the art approach a certain way, and that comes with both evolutions and limitations when each game console generation changes.

DW: I’ve seen you talk in interviews about inter- or even intra-departmental misunderstandings of what your work actually is. You’ve said there was this expectation that “lighting designers can come in during the last three months of a project, and ‘turn the lights on.’” As time has gone on and both pipelines and design philosophies have changed, how has the understanding of your work on projects changed?

VD: Starting from The Last of Us, we tried to fix this problem because if you’ve already built the environment and decided that a certain time of day and some angle would be better, then you have this building blocking this light from the angle you want, and you try to place your lights, you find you are really limited to the environment. They already finished their environment pass and you go back to ask them, say, “Can you punch a hole? Can you open a window? Can you lower this building?” This trickles down to too much work, so we were like, “This is not a good workflow. We should think about lighting at the earliest stage possible with the design, with the environment, and even with the visual effect.”

DW: Was there a turning point in the industry where they started to listen and understand that?

VD: I think the majority of the big studios that care about the visuals, they would try to get the idea of the graphics and how they’re going to look in the early stages. This definitely happened at Naughty Dog and at Infinity Ward, who I’m currently working for, and also for Dead Space 2 at EA. Even though we don’t have the outdoor lighting, and it’s in space, we’re thinking, “When you go to each environment and open a door, what do you want it to be looking like?”

Say if I want to turn on a certain switch of the engine in this room, it starts functioning. The red light might now become a green light, and design has to script that, and lighting has to execute that. All of this talk has to happen in the beginning. When that happens, maybe some machine changes, so the environment has to change, too. It’s all intertwined.

DW: How has a lighting artist’s job changed as the role has become more formalized in the industry?

VD: That’s a big question. Let me think about it. My responsibilities as a lighter in general—we own the level from the beginning to the end. I’m not just lighting levels to be functional for the gameplay, but I also bring the potential of how the game can give the player a different experience when they’re playing the game.

So, sometimes you don’t notice lighting, maybe you’re fully enjoying it, but later, you remember specific moments with specific parts, though, because there’s something just triggering you to remember that really clearly. We have to put in those sparkles. That’s what I’m trying to do as an artistic choice.

In the beginning, I knew a lot of environment artists were doing lighting still. Some of the studios still have artists that do both. The thing about that is with the bigger productions, when all the disciplines get very detailed to very specific skill sets, they’ll hire somebody very specifically. Right now in my current job with Infinity Ward, we would want somebody more technical because lots of the tools—when communicating with engineers, we need somebody that actually can talk their language, troubleshooting, and prototyping through the beginning of the project to the middle of the project to the end. We need somebody documenting, putting information on a wiki about how we do stuff, so that when we have a new hire we don’t have to explain every single detail. How we split the role, it just depends how the company and team goes. Some lighters have more technical skill sets, some are more artistic, some could be both. It all depends.

Lights these days, the technology is getting more advanced. So, a bigger company, they’re making more graphics-driven and narrative-driven games. Lots of games that I’ve been working on like Uncharted, The Last of Us, they’re all very adventure-driven games. You try to make the player believe where they are, what they’re doing, and those kinds of things tend to be using more lighters. We’re telling a story through the game, so the lighting department has expanded.

I remember on the first The Last of Us, we had an hour and a half just for cinematics. That’s a lot of work to do internally. We have to hire more lighters because of the schedule and the quality and quantity of the work needed. From there, lighting artists—actually, we recruited some of the lighting artists from film, and partially from the game industry—utilized different tools, but we still have to understand how the engine works because everything for The Last of Us is still captured in the game. The big difference is how the artists understand how their tools correspond to the needs of the production.

DW: Are there aspects of or techniques from practical lighting that you wish carried over to digital lighting?

VD: Yes. We try to mimic the real-world lighting in the CG world. Capturing sky, that’s an interesting workflow and something that the theater wouldn’t do. Skies are very important in lighting. Say you want a sunset sky that we captured and put up in a library, and you use that sky to render in the engine, and then your environment would look like that sunset moment in the game. But from the very beginning, when it’s 3-D, we don’t have the HDR sky to plug into CG world, and so we use a bunch of directional light and even spotlight to try to fake sunlight.

Technology is gradually getting more powerful to support something you can do that the theater wouldn’t do. But in the theater, say you want an environment with a chandelier, and you want a little flashlight happening inside the space. That is a use of a certain man-made light source, right? In the game, that’s something that’s sometimes hard to do. You want to create a light—a chandelier, it projects on the wall with a specific light pattern, or a lightbulb’s pattern is different from an LED light. And you have a siren light, they have some pattern. So now, you try to mimic this one to the CG world, and we can use something called IES profile [how light spreads for a given direction]. It’s very interesting. If you go to the Philips website, the company that makes lightbulbs, and you search “IES profile,” that shows each light fixture has a specific look of a light pattern. An LED lightbulb and a fluorescent light, they all have different patterns. Right now in CG, we’re trying to think about, “How can I make that look just the same as the real world?”

We learn from each other, and right now the CG world is trying to learn from the theater world. All the lighting concepts are still the same, but the tools are different, even though theaters right now have computer lights. They can change different patterns, simulate trees, and you can have one light and you can change all the RGB colors and you can even project something.

The Mandalorian, the Disney show, uses the Unreal Engine. They are filming inside of a studio surrounded by this huge LED screen backdrop with Unreal Engine, and they can build a real-time CG background and project onto their backdrop instead of using a green screen that applies during postcompositing. Then they have the stage lighting and the characters, real people in front of the CG screen. It looks believable. So, are you saying which one is CG, which one is live performance? They kinda intertwine together right now.

DW: You mentioned your mom didn’t think that theater was a good career path. What do your parents think about your working in games?

VD: My parents were more supportive when I came to the States. First of all, I came here and studied English. They think that’s a good thing to do. And I’m learning computer graphic art, they think, “Oh, new trend, doing something with the computer.”

I tell them I work at Electronic Arts. Although they don’t really know what that is, when they talk to other people in the newer generation or some people that do know gaming, they say, “Oh, EA Sports!” So, immediately, that kind of made my parents feel much more comfortable. And later, I joined Naughty Dog. My parents don’t understand what Naughty Dog is. They don’t understand much about PlayStation, but I say, “It’s a Sony-owned company. We developed a deal with Sony with a franchise and an IP.” Immediately they connect to that kind of idea.

They still don’t know exactly what I do, but they somehow get the idea. My mom’s friend, just like my mom, she says, “What does that mean she’s working in lighting for games? Does she change a lightbulb in a Hollywood studio?” They don’t understand the workflow. I have to really challenge their story sometimes.

DW: If you had worked on Microsoft IPs, would it be more mysterious to your family what you do?

VD: No, actually, if I told them I’ve worked for 343—which is a Microsoft-owned company—my parents would be like, “Oh, Microsoft, great!” Or Amazon now is also making games. They would immediately connect. When I worked at Riot Games, I told them I’m not working on League of Legends, but that’s the company that makes the game. My mom actually knows the game, that name. They’re really popular in Taiwan in all the PC cafes.

DW: If you’re working on things that may be unfamiliar to your family, are there ways you recognize nevertheless how your upbringing informed your work ethic?

VD: Actually, even though my parents are traditional thinking, they didn’t really tell me what exactly I should do for my career. Although they kept encouraging me that if I could really get a government job, it’s best. That’s their suggestion. But I grew up—I’m kinda learning to be an artistic person. I’m not the best person at being very smart in math or in science. I like those things, but I just particularly enjoy doing art.

When I grew up, my mom would send me to learn watercolor and do some art class. They support that kind of thing. When I started at university in theater, they just started worrying about how this is not going to provide a good living. They didn’t really say this is a thing I shouldn’t do or I shouldn’t follow my heart. They just worried that it’s not going to make a living. It’s also dangerous. There are so many accidents that can happen when you’re working on a show.

But once I started applying to learn 3-D, I got accepted at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. My parents started seeing things from my perspective because I used to draw a lot of engineer drawings for making props, and comparing that to now, I have started learning to make things in 3-D. So, they started seeing something outside their knowledge that I could do, but they started feeling safe and that this is a good path.

DW: Beyond technical constraints, what obstacles do lighting artists face on any AAA title?

VD: The obstacle is how to make the game run fast but look beautiful.

DW: Do more with less, basically?

VD: [Laughs] Yeah. The second obstacle is maybe the schedule of the production. At some point we’re all gonna run out of time. Or, you try to polish but you don’t have time left. You have to really focus on where you can use the time. Beforehand, you can schedule, but at the end—how can you still deliver stuff that doesn’t look like you just quickly did something and shipped out? Because sometimes you can tell: In the beginning some games are really beautiful, it looks really great, but after halfway you feel like the quality didn’t follow up. You probably can tell, “Oh, these maps were probably at the end of production, people just couldn’t keep up.” That’s another obstacle, too.

DW: What do you do when you don’t know how to solve lighting problems?

VD: This actually happens quite a lot. We always find some problem and we don’t know what to do. Like, say this is a new tech. For example, something I was doing on Warzone for Activision on Call of Duty, we are releasing a subway system, and I need to have a train car going, and this train car is not a static object. It’s an animated project. You can hop on the train and the train goes around the train station, and a lot of lighting pipeline right now, it’s very good for static objects. You think about this train as if it’s a character. You need a lot of run-time lighting. When you’re inside of the train, a lot of things change and things happen.

When I don’t know what to do, usually what I would do is I would create a test level—a smaller level in the game with similar conditions. This is just like a white box. I would try to test my stuff here. So, I bring the most critical element, just this train car, and very simple lighting scenario. I would use this simple white box to ask the engineers, especially when I don’t know how to solve the problems graphic-wise, meaning I cannot achieve the look with my tool. I will go ask the render engineers and say, “Hey, I tried a bunch of things that usually work for scenario A, but it doesn’t work on scenario B.” And I would do a bunch of tests and I would list what I’ve done and this is not the result that I want.

When you have a very clear test result like a scientist in a lab, and bring the result to the engineers, they’re much more easily able to understand what you want to do. If you ask someone to jump in to help you, it takes a long time—hours—for them to build a level to just understand what you’re talking about. Looking at a problem takes hours because it could be other problems layered on top of yours. Every time, I try to build a small level. If they find some solution, we can try it. We can change one or two factors and build the level quickly to test. If something else breaks, I have to figure out what’s going on, on top of that.

By doing this simple process, I find the solution comes out frequently and easily by myself or with other people. Sometimes, even before I ask an engineer, I’ve already solved my problem.

DW: We’re making the leap to a new console generation. What does better lighting going forward in your work mean?

VD: Technology-wise, right now everybody wants to see everything running in real time. Let’s say you change a light source, you change an environment, and you want something kinda interactive to happen. Hardware definitely may adjust better because we can do more things better that we couldn’t do in the past. So, that’s definitely a helpful thing.

DW: At the same time, there’s an awareness that with what used to look great, it doesn’t take long for it to look comparatively not as great.

VD: Yeah. Just look at the sci-fi movies you thought looked so good, and you look at that ten years later and you’re like, “Oh my God.”

DW: Toy Story is the one I always think of where it’s like, “Really? We used to think that looked good?”

VD: I still think the first Toy Story is holding up really good, but I totally understand what you just said. You look at the last one and you look at the first one and it’s like, “Oh my God.” The shading, the technology, the facial, everything just looks much better.

When I played Uncharted 4, it was after the remastered The Last of Us. That was after I left Naughty Dog. It’s a mixed feeling because it looks so good. Especially water. The water, they did a great job. When I left, we were still trying to figure out the ocean system, how the water’s going to look. That was a beautiful piece. The water is so, so good.

And when this one came out, The Last of Us 2, I thought the snow was great before in the first one, but the snow in this one is really good. All the ambient lighting. When I got to the Seattle map, knowing rendering all the foliage and trees is expensive, but they did it really well. You can tell that it runs fast and looks great and is definitely expensive and they achieved that. I just very much admired the results they put together. It makes your game experience even better and better with the visual, and Naughty Dog games do speak for PlayStation. Like I said, they’re developing exclusively on one console. Not saying that’s easier, but they master all they need to do and push the limit, and they have a bunch of talented people working on the game, in the rendering. And the story’s definitely a beautiful narrative, so, yeah, it’s just fun to play through, like watching a great movie. It’s an awesome game to play through.

I think the reason I like to be a lighting artist is that I find that lighting is the part that brings everything together into a whole. Say you have a story for gameplay, and you have environment, and you’re putting in the lighting, lighting can tell story. It brings everything together like a magician would do.

Footnotes

1. ^ David Wolinsky, Don’t Die, interview series, 2014–22, https://nodontdie.com/; and David Wolinsky Papers, 2014–2022, Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/13768655.