How to get lighting to look better

I am working on a small project with someone and I cant seem to make the lighting look good, I have never been able to get lighting to look good in the 6 years i’ve been using UDK either so is there any tips? any good tutorials?

Here is a pic from one of the bare levels from the game:

As you can see I have to have 9 lights in the level to light it, and i could use 1 light and make the attenuation radius large and turn the brightness up, but then there is this huge bright spot on the ceiling, you can clearly tell theres a light there, how can i make the lighting look photorealistic?



At the moment in your level it appears that you have not built the lighting. (Preview tag on the shadows is showing). So that would be the the initial step. :slight_smile:

There is no definitive answer for a question like “How do I do realistic lighting?” and each scene will need it’s own setup an settings to get things the way you would like.

There are some places to start though. :slight_smile:

  1. Take a look at the guide that Eric and I have setup. This will have common issues and ways to troubleshoot along with tips for lighting.

  2. Build > Build lighting Quality > Production. This will give give you the final lighting results. Anything lower will not be using the full quality, this is in the guide linked above.

  3. You would be better using the 9 lights to light the scene. If you just want to create some light but not have extra shadows casting just turn off cast shadows for the light when you build. This technique is used often in games to add a little extra light where needed. Also think about it this way. If you placed a single light in the middle of a room and turned up the brightness you would get the same kind of bright spot on your ceiling while the bounce helped light the rest of the room. Same thing here. Lighting is an art form in itself and can take a lot of practice and testing to get right.

  4. Going back to the guide linked above take a look at the number of bounces from the light that is baked. This can help provide a little extra global illumination in your scene from your static lights.

  5. Use a lightmass importance volume around your playable areas. You can use more than one and size accordingly. These do not work well when scaled to be extremely large.

  6. realism is not just lighting. It’s using realistic PBR materials as well.

  7. Post Process Volumes can help as well with adjust the scene and how it feels.

  8. take a look at the ArchViz forums section and the work these guys are doing. They do some awesome stuff with lighting and there is some good information there. Also check out the ArchViz samples in the Marketplace that are available for free from some of these guys/gals. We have Epic’s Realistic Rendering scene in the learn tab, Koola’s Lightroom: Interior Day Light (there’s a night lit level in this one as well), and finally Xoio’s Berlin Flat. All of these are FREE! :slight_smile:

Here are some other ArchViz resources as well: