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Environment Lighting For Animated Films

Master the art of lighting both interior and exterior scenes in a variety of scenarios to make your world more beautiful!

   Watch Promo

Let me ask a question to anyone that has ever taken a course in animation or computer graphics. How often did you discuss atmospheric falloff? How often did you discuss balancing the warm light color of manmade tungsten bulbs with cooler sunlight? How often did you discuss the black point of an image as it falls back into space? My guess is never.

That's because most schools don't teach the importance of lighting environments and interior spaces. But guess what...we do! We will teach all the techniques used in animation companies to elevate the environment lighting on your demo reel over all the other students at traditional colleges!

Check out all the techniques you will learn!

  • Interior Lighting
    • Creating Shaping on a Flat Wall
    • Understanding the Difference Between Tungsten, Fluorescent, and Other Light Types
    • Making a Lamp Look Like a Lamp
    • Lighting from Televisions and Computer Screens
    • Understanding and Utilizing Radiosity in Interior Spaces
    • Balancing Window Lights
  • Exterior Lighting
    • City Lighting
    • Street Lamps and Other Manmade Lights
    • Lighting Vast Landscapes
    • God Rays
    • Gobos
    • Balancing Black Points
    ...AND SO MUCH MORE!!

** Several Lighting Walk-throughs are still being developed. Should be ready by the end of summer 2018.

Your Instructor


Michael Tanzillo
Michael Tanzillo

Mike is currently a Senior Lighting TD at Blue Sky Studios. His lighting credits include Ferdinand, Peanuts, The Rio Franchise, Epic, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Scrat's Continental Crack-up, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and is currently working on Spies in Disguise (2019). Along with lighting, he has also received credits as a Compositing Artist and Sky Artist. Michael began his career as a photographer and studio artist after completing his BFA degree in Photography from Ohio State. Michael switched his career focus and began freelancing as a 3D artist. He attended the Savannah College of Art and Design and received his MFA in visual effects before joining Blue Sky Studios in 2008. http://michaeltanzillo.com/


Class Curriculum


  Introduction
Available in days
days after you enroll

Wondering what the lectures look like?

Here is a Lecture Preview .... AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT! (Ok...maybe not that fast, but here is a time-lapse video of a sample lecture from this course.) We will show you techniques to elevate your skills and land the job of your dreams, let's get started!


Meet Some TDU Students!

Listen and read first hand how tdu can change your career path and transform your dreams into a reality!


“I don’t believe I would have been able to get the job I have today without the skills and knowledge I gained from tdu.

I was a little hesitant about signing up because I wanted to make sure I was getting my money’s worth out of an online class. These courses are worth every penny and then some! The investment I have made in my career.”

- Anthony Ragusa, Senior Lighting Technical Director, Blue Sky Studios

"I knew I wanted to be a lighter, but didn't feel I had enough experience or quality showreel material to get the jobs I wanted.

The showreel I used to get my current job contained a large majority of work from the assignments I did at TD-U. It has also helped improve how I go about breaking down the lighting in a shot and ensuring that my lighting starts on strong fundamentals."

- Chris Wetherly, Compositing & Finishing at The Foundry

"This course was so beneficial in my career because now I no longer doubt the decisions I make regarding my work.

Also, I didn't have money to afford college so I did not want to spend time just doing some boring tutorials I would just forget. I use what I learned from tdu everyday!"

- Anuar Figueroa, Lighting TD at Sony Imageworks

Is tdu right for you?

If any of this sounds like you, tdu is right for you.

  • Are you someone that has always dreamed of a challenging, rewarding career that pushes you both technically and artistically? tdu is right for you.
  • Have you been trying and trying to make better looking 3D images, but just can’t figure out where to begin? tdu is right for you.
  • Do you live where there are no schools are teaching visual effects or computer animation? tdu 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? tdu is right for you.
  • Have you ever dreamed of seeing your name in the credits of the next animated or VFX film? tdu is right for you.

Still, not sure if tdu 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 have our free, online webinar that gives you a little taste of tdu as well as provide you with some truly valuable information. This one-hour class will help you get to know us and see if we are right for you.
  • We also offer a 15-day money back guarantee. If you sign up and find that tdu isn’t right for you, we will offer a refund, no questions asked.
  • We offer lifetime access to all our courses. This means that you will have access to all the updates and changes we make to the classes as this ever-changing industry continues to evolve.
  • We offer access to our Private Facebook Group that allows you the ability to connect with artists and industry professionals all over the world.


What's included?

Who is behind tdu?

Jasmine Katatikarn and Michael Tanzillo are the Co-Founders of tdu. 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 tdu 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 tdu.

This is the average salary for a Lighting TD according to Glass Ceiling.

Would you like to make a 6-figure salary working a job that is both technically and aesthetically rewarding on animated films?

tdu can help!

Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 15 days and we will give you a full refund.

tdu 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.

Get started now!