I've followed animators for most of my life. I grew up with a best friend from grade school whose father spent over a decade creating an out-of-this world feature-length stop motion film, Consuming Spirits. Though I messed around with it as a kid, I started seriously animating in high school at a summer film intensive at Northwestern University (shout-out to my 2008 NHSI Film Cherubs!). I have the deepest respect for those who can create everything from their minds with no actors to fall back on or fancy camera set-ups to make a shot. As a senior in college, I spent three grueling months shooting a 4 minute stop-motion animation for my senior film thesis. There were a total of 12 animated sequences in the film, although 20 were shot in total, with each sequence consisting of an average of 50-170 photos. It was one of the most difficult projects I've ever worked on.
Katedra (The Cathedral) by Tomasz Bagiński is my most favorite animated short. I first stumbled upon this gem when I was 12-years-old after seeing it was nominated for an Academy Award in the Shorts category. Every aspect of it is perfection: concept, music and building of tension to an ending that still gives me chills 10+ years later.
The lighting specifically has always impressed me. Rays of moonlight, small light sources illuminating a deeply ominous cathedral, it's simply gorgeous:
Watch it. Love it. More awesome animations to come.