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During the recent pandemic, beginning lighting classes continued to be given on a regular basis. Of course, we were working remotely, like many other institutions, using on-line video conferencing. This necessitated revising traditional lighting education methods.

To grasp the fundamentals of lighting, you must hold an instrument, direct it at something, and observe the effect. We needed something to mimic that experience.

With decades of experience in computer modeling, as illustrated on this site, this seemed like the most natural route to go. And after creating numerous performances with CGI tools, there was a ready supply of CGI models that could be lit by students utilizing computer tools and skills.

When not in a theatre, due to a pandemic or while doing homework, a computer simulation can be very useful. Generating a design in this manner more closely resembles the procedures involved in creating a stage design than simply creating plots and schedules. A student can utilize simulations to virtually hang and focus instruments, assign gel colors, give them gobos, project images, or even program them with all the functionality of moving lights. Cues can be recorded and written down. A rendering or video clip of the wonderfully illuminated scene can be created. The pre-visualized design can be transformed to a plot if everything checks out. . These tools have shown to be useful for design students, whether they are being taught virtually or in person.

These simulation packs are freely available for download HERE

     Each pack may include:

          A scenic model in several formats, Cinema 4D, FBX, and obj.

          All texture files used in the model

          A ground plan in Vectorworks format

          A line drawing of the set for making lighting storyboards

          A color rendering

          A script or partial script if available

 Sim 1, A first exercise in using virtual lighting.


Sim 2, Colored light on colored materials.

Sim 3, Simulating natural light onstage.


Sim 4, A small scene, Mozart and the Gray Steward.

(Not Pictured)

Sim 5, A more complex problem, Comedy of Errors or The Boys From Syracuse       (Not Pictured)

Sim 6, Sightlines, the problem of a thrust stage.


Sim 7, An example of the included line drawings, Talley’s Folly.       (Not Pictured)


Sim 8, A full thrust stage production, Talley’s Folly.


Sim 9, A generic arena stage simulation.


Sim 10, A traverse, or alley stage sim, The Big Meal.

(Not Pictured)

Sim 11, A lighting challenge, projections and scrim.

(Not Pictured)

institute for the

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