We’re featuring Danielle Feinberg in Snail Mail #17

Hello Snailers, it’s Pepper! One of the people I really look up to in the world of computer science is a woman named Danielle Feinberg! She has been a critical artistic player in almost every Pixar movie going back to Bugs Life as the lead lighting director.

Before I talk more about Danielle, I want to talk about why lighting is so cool. When we think about what goes into digital animation, we think often about:
Character & Background designers
3D Sculptors
Animators
Musicians

But the thing that brings all of these aspects together is the lighting. Lighting is the KEY to the mood and emotion of a scene! When people hold flashlights underneath their faces, that lighting makes them look spooky. Bright sunny lighting has a different feeling from moonlight. Fluorescent lighting is different from flickering torchlight. The best acting in the world isn’t worth much if the lighting telegraphs the wrong mood.

Danielle Feinberg

Danielle Feinberg’s career working at Pixar has been so important because Pixar showed the cinema world that high budget (and high quality) digital animation was possible! Pixar, and Danielle by extension, know how good CG-animated movies can look when made with love and care. Her lighting direction helps craft the mood of a scene, and that’s what sticks in our memory after watching a movie!

On top of being the lighting director for some of the most beloved movies of all time, including my favourite Wall-E, she has a degree in computer science and has been working with organizations like Girls Who Code to help bring people into her profession!

To learn more about Danielle and lighting you can visit her website and watch her TED Talk: http://daniellefeinberg.com.