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Cinematic Lighting in Unreal Engine 5

Interior Lighting Workflows Using Lightmaps & Lumen With Ted Mebratu


This advanced 2-hour workshop covers the Unreal Engine 5 lighting workflows that Naughty Dog Lighting Artist, Ted Mebratu, uses to achieve cinematic results.

Unreal’s Lumen is a very powerful Global Illumination system. However, when comparing it to static/baked methods, it can take some of the artistic control that Lightmaps make available to lighting artists. In addition, due to performance constraints of current hardware, there’s a limitation to how many runtime light sources you can place within a given scene using Lumen. With Lightmaps, however, this budget is practically infinite.

This workshop teaches both workflows to arm you with the skills that make the most sense for you. Starting with Lightmaps, the first portion of this video guide details the process of lighting an environment for two different scenarios — night and day — using baked/static Lightmaps (GPU Lightmass). Through these first chapters, Ted covers the different tricks and techniques he uses to craft baked direct and indirect lighting. He explains how to effectively use reflection probes to achieve believable results and walks through how to achieve realistic fog and atmospheric effects using static volumetric fog.

The workshop then dives into the process of creating a full multi-camera cinematic using Unreal 5’s Sequencer tool. Demonstrating using an ornate cathedral in Unreal, Ted showcases different techniques for shot lighting a cinematic sequence utilizing Lumen’s real-time GI system. He reveals how to create a full master cinematic sequence from scratch, featuring his top techniques for arranging and editing cinematic shots. You’ll also discover Ted’s approach to achieving dramatic compositions.

By completing this workshop, you should gain a solid insight into lighting in Unreal Engine 5 and understand how to create cinematics using UE5. There are many helpful takeaways from Ted’s workflow shared throughout that you can incorporate into your own projects.

Duration: 2h 12m

Format: HD 1920x1080

Ted Mebratu

Lighting Artist at Naughty Dog

Ted Mebratu is a self-taught artist from Ethiopia currently working at Naughty Dog in Santa Monica, California, as an Environment Lighting Artist. During his time at Naughty Dog, he has contributed to the development of The Last of Us Part I remake. Before Naughty Dog, Ted worked at Ready At Dawn as a Lighting Artist on titles including Lone Echo II and Echo VR.

  • I had the pleasure of working with Ted on The Last of Us Part 1. His eye for lighting and composition are truly unmatched! The love and attention to detail that Ted pours into his work definitely shows! His lighting is constantly setting the bar in the industry, and it is always an inspiration to witness

    - Gabriel Cervantes
    Senior Environment Artist at Naughty Dog

  • Working with Ted on The Last of Us Part 1 has been an absolute pleasure. He is very passionate about his job, works hard to achieve great results, and is constantly pushing himself to stay up to date with the latest developments in lighting and digital art software. Ted's contribution has been extremely valuable and allowed us to deliver great-looking environments. His understanding of PBR makes him a perfect partner for texture artists looking for realism and high-quality renders.

    - Jonathan Benainous
    Senior Environment Texture Artist at Naughty Dog