GSO Newsletter #4

Our Artstation Page is Up!

Every semester students would submit their homework to advance to upper courses. The students that pass will be forever immortalized in our art station page among the best students that have been part of the GSO community. Check it out now and hopefully this acts like a motivator for all students out there!

GSO Lighting Challenge #02
A Hero’s Call




Welcome to GSO’s second lighting art challenge! In this lighting challenge we’ll be focusing on character lighting! The theme is “a hero’s call”. The goal is to light a hero, focusing on creating a render that accentuates the mood and personality of your character within a single moment in time. You’ll be required to use only characters from Epic Games’ free content recently released from the Paragon universe. All of this content is available from the Unreal Marketplace, which can be accessed for free from the Unreal Launcher app or the online marketplace located here: Simply choose one of these characters and have fun creating a beautifully lit scene in Unreal Engine 4!



So here’s the deal- you’ve been brought on as a cinematic lighting artist for a game character, and you’ll be responsible for all of the lighting and final look of the character and scene. Your responsibilities include cinematic lighting, look development, and final polish.



If you don’t stick to the rules, your entry will be disqualified:

  • Do not create any new environment art, meshes, or textures; only use what is provided within Paragon asset packs:

  • Do not add new textures to materials (textures related to lighting are ok, such as those used with light functions, IES profiles, etc.)

  • You are allowed to adjust and tweak materials, as well as create new materials (that use textures originating from Paragon assets)

  • You’re free to use either static lighting, dynamic lighting, or a combination of the two

Judging Criteria

All entries will be reviewed by GSO’s lighting scholars. Your entry will be judged on the following:

  • Mood, atmosphere, storytelling, and personality

  • Technical achievement (did you use clever tricks to achieve a goal or manipulate final rendering?)

  • Artistic quality (composition, aesthetic, art direction)

  • Quality of cinematic lighting (i.e. no rendering artifacts, clean shadows, great control of exposure, tone mapping, depth of field, etc.)

Responsibilities of the Cinematic Lighting Artist

  • Use lighting to set a mood, or even tell a story- make the viewer feel something on first read of your render

  • You are free to edit or manipulate vista elements in the background, if you see fit

  • You’re a cinematic lighting artist, so make sure that your lighting setup is of the highest quality

  • Make use of the following:

    • Post processing

    • Tone mapping

    • Color grading

    • Volumetric/atmospheric lighting

    • Camera exposure

    • Depth of field


  • 1 screenshot of your entry showing final polished lighting; choose only the BEST screenshot to submit, it should have good composition! Final high quality screenshot must be 1920x1080 in JPG format


  1. Can I use static or dynamic lighting?
    You can use any lighting method you’d like.

  2. Can I change or add my own skybox and vista elements into the environment?
    Yes, many times lighting artists are responsible for skyboxes, due to their effect on overall lighting. Ony use environment assets from Epic Games free content available via the launcher. Do not use third party or purchased assets; also do not create your own custom content.

  3. Can I submit several different lighting setups, like a warm version, a cool version, etc.?
    No, you are only allowed to submit one entry for the challenge, so choose your best lighting pass!

  4. I know how to work with VFX- can I add VFX to add to the cinematic quality of my render?
    Absolutely! Although not required, if you want to add VFX to make your render have some extra quality, go for it!

  5. Do I have to target performance- for example making sure the scene in UE4 runs at 60FPS?
    Since this is a cinematic lighting exercise, the assumption is that this work would be used for pre-rendered cinematic videos for cutscenes, intros, marketing videos, etc.- therefore you should focus on visual fidelity and quality, don’t worry about performance on this one and have fun!

  6. What if I have questions about the challenge that aren’t answered here?
    Feel free to ask any questions in our Discord channel!

Brandon PhamComment