Dynamic v/s Precomputed Lighting

Hey all!

I am working on an Abandoned Swamp House scene and need help understanding which lighting mode I should choose. I have a pretty clear understanding how to get the lights working and set Static, Stationary, and Moveable ect. but still don’t fully understand the pros/cons of each as far as quality goes. I get that baked lighting is cheaper CPU/GPU wise and that is a main factor when it comes to making a playable game but in my case I am building this to show off my art / visual skills so I am not worried about frame rate necessarily. I want to achieve the best quality of shadows / ambient occlusion and global illumination possible. As you can see I am making heavy use of foliage and am having some difficulty getting the shading looking right. I would appreciate some deeper insight here, most of the advice I get isn’t supported with reasons or explanation. I’d like to know ‘why’ not just ‘what’.

Thanks so much!


Baked lighting will give the best quality, it does high quality lighting bounce which dynamic lighting doesn’t do. The only problem is that you have to have lightmap UV’s set up for your geometry and that it takes time to bake the lighting. The only reason to use dynamic lighting is if your light is moving or if the level is very large which could make it difficult to build the static lighting.

Ok, here is the scene with a different lighting setup closer to the color/tone I want. Look at the foliage, it looks like garbage. I have lightmap UV’s on them, am using the two sided foliage model for the material and have them set as double sided and casting shadows in the foliage settings The meshes that are facing away from the light are using the lighting from the back side, which is super dark. How do I fix this?


Best scenario would be to use a stationary sun/skylight and set your foliage to movable! Your gonna have a HQ baked lighting for your geometry and dynamic shadows for foliage. Lightmaps on foliage can raise build time big time!

If I were to go this route how would I ensure the grass under the porch get matches the ground? If it isn’t lightmapped then it won’t get the same shadow info and will stick out like a sore thumb.

Ok, I’ve spent the day going though all the documentation on lighting and have learned a good bit. I found out that Lightmass makes an Indirect Lighting Cache for dynamic objects. I have been doing tests with foliage using that an it seams that each foliage type can only reference a single sample point. See the images bellow as to how adding foliage in a different lighting affects that entire group. Is this the expected result? If so, how can I solve the problem of trying to get the foliage to correctly respond to indirect lighting?




Can I get some help on this please?

Here is a gif showing what I am talking about.


I think foliage patches are split to rectangular chunks and each chunk use single light “sample” which is averaged from multiple samples in that area.