Role: Senior Lighter at DICE
Hi, my name is Anders Lorentzen. I’m a lighting artist working in the game industry. When writing this, I’ve been working at DICE for 7 years, developing Battlefield games. As a lighting artist, my work consists of lighting levels in the game, this includes creating panoramic skies in HDR, creating the atmosphere and local lighting inside interiors. It’s an iterative process where you have to take into account guiding players, setting a good balance between gameplay visibility and creating interesting and mood setting lighting using traditional techniques for composition and cinematography. If done correctly, the players are amazed without being hindered while playing the game. Great lighting is usually something that you don’t notice if done correctly, you are instead totally immersed in the game. Its tricky but really fun!
When I first started out after finishing my studies at gscept in 2012, I had focused my studies on creating 3D content for games. I was able to get an internship at Fatshark, a game development studio in Stockholm, where I worked for a couple of months. Getting real life experience was very important, and a year later I was fortunate enough to get a job at DICE, early 2013. I spent three years creating 3D assets, props and buildings. After that I felt I had mastered creating assets, but assets were only a small part of the bigger picture. For that reason I had always been interested in lighting, where you work more holistically, and instead of focusing on the details, look at the whole image. Fortunately, I was given a chance to do an art test for lighting, which I succeeded and have been working as a lighting artist since then. As with everything else in life, I’m still learning, even after 7 years. It’s important to have ambitions, they drive you forward! And I can say, there is a lot of great artists out there to inspire you!
Before studying at gscept, I studied 3 years of computer science at Chalmers university of technology in Gothenburg. But programming wasn’t really for me, I always had an interest in art and playing games, and after my older brother Johan Lorentzen started studying at gscept, and later started working in the game industry, I suddenly understood that it was possible to work with games in real life. The game development industry in Sweden is among the best in the world, so even if it might be hard to get a position, there is plenty of great opportunities to work on. I knew early that I wanted to work with games, and not in the movie/VFX business. It never interested me in the same way, the grand blockbuster movies sure felt amazing to work on, but as they usually involved shorter, faster projects with not always a steady income, it wasn’t for me. I wanted to be able to work creatively, with games, with a steady and safe income over the course of years. That made up my mind of why I wanted to work there.
If you want to work in the game industry, here’s some advice. If you don’t know yet what field you want to work on, start by looking at each discipline, like 3D content creation like props, vehicles or characters, but you also have animation, FX, tech animation (rigging, skinning), procedural workflows etc. Find something you really like, that will help you drive you forward! Focus early on your portfolio, as it will be your portfolio that will get you your first internship or job. Work hard, always keep learning new things, be humble and learn to take and give feedback in a constructive way. Even if you think you know how to do that, look up some videos on the web, you will always learn more. No one is perfect! Remember, working in this industry is always a team effort. No employer wants to hire a jerk, even if they are the best in the world at their craft, as that will make the whole team suffer. But all employers wants to hire the honest, humble and likeable person, even if that person is a total newbie. Because that is pure potential, the likeable newbie will be a lot more valuable to a company after growing as an artist, because then you will have a humble, honest and likeable expert! In this industry you are always working with other people, take care of them and they will take care of you. Oh, also… take care of yourself as well, don’t work yourself too hard! This industry is filled with passionate people, and it’s so very tempting to work harder and longer with more and more overtime. There is so much cool stuff! Remember though that will only give you diminishing returns, and you will risk burning up from stress from which you may not recover. Learn to find a good work-life balance for yourself and you will go far! Good luck!