How to Become a Lighting Technical Director

How To Become a Lighting Technical Director

What is a Lighting Technical Director?
A Lighting Technical Director (TD) is an essential member of the CGI team who adds surface qualities to objects, through adding depth to sets and characters with shadows, as well as light to provide illumination that helps accentuate the mood and emotion of a scene.

What is the Job?
As a Lighting Technical Director, you will be responsible for ensuring effects look as good as possible with the available resources. It is also your duty to write tools to facilitate lighting and shading rendering techniques, to ensure that shots can maintain the highest standard and continuity as required.

Lighting Technical Directors often work from references, such as paintings, drawings, photographs and film, as well as actual objects and locations. On top of this, they will work with a variety of different departments, such as art, digital paint and lighting, and will work in a variety of different stages of production (but will spend most of the job in rendering).

The Lighting Technical Director will also work with CG Supervisors to determine the best approach to solving any challenges that arise and the strategy for developing the final look. On top of this, they will have ongoing communication with production and leads regarding schedules and deadlines.

Key Skills

  • Knowledge of basic art concepts
  • Good communication
  • Experience with software such as Nuke, Python and After Effects
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Good problem-solving
  • Knowledge of lighting techniques

Salary & Working Hours
The salary for a Lighting Technical Director can vary greatly, starting at £24,000 for lower level positions, rising up to £65,000 for higher level positions. The average salary is £47,000.

How To Become a Lighting Technical Director
The role of Lighting Technical Director is a very technical position, and therefore it requires quite an extensive education as well as a fair amount of experience. Knowledge of basic artistic concepts, such as shading and composition are a good foundation, however many individuals who have gone onto become a Lighting TD have pursued a degree in computer science, mathematics or engineering.

There will be a leadership aspect of your job, and therefore having a few years of experience is helpful so that you are confident in what you are doing. On top of this, it is essential to have knowledge around coding, procedural shading and software, as well as being familiar with software packages such as Python, Maya, Nuke and Shake.

Where Can It Take You?
The job of a Lighting TD is a fairly high level position, so in terms of career progression, there may not be much direct advancement. However, as you become a more reliable and well-known, you are likely to be given the opportunity to work on bigger projects.

This position will provide you with a variety of skills and techniques and therefore the combination of skills and perspectives that you develop will make cross-sector advancement easier.

Latest Lighting TD Jobs

Become a Lighting Technical Director
If you are ready for the next step in your career, why not take a look at the latest Lighting Technical Director vacancies on our jobs board? You can view our latest vacancies here.