Lighting a horror scene and lighting in general

Hey guys,

I have taken over a project at school and basically starting over from scrath. I created several models and textures (and using some of the previous artist working on it).
I went into the project joining a small team as a prop modeler and texturer. Circumstances changed when I found out I would be the only artist working on the project and need to do everything from beginning to end.

Seeing my skills are limited in both unreal engine and lighting in general, I thought it might be smart to get some input from… well you guys.

In general I would appreciate any critique or tips on lighting. We are going for a dark horror themed house and I find it hard to light a level that is supossed to be dark and yet as visible as possible.

More direct questions concerns the first screenshot. As you can see I am having trouble with lightbaking where different models are getting a different overall brightness. I have looked around to see if it is possible to to fix this problem and found some similar questions on the forum. For instance, create one single mesh for the props in question (the walls and woodpanels). This would eliminate the problem completely but I like to have seperate meshes so I can still play with the size and layout of the room in question. Now I know it has something to do with how light bakes work and it is mostly influenced by indirect illumination I just don’t know how to fix it.

My second problem is how to light areas that are darker, as seen on the screenshot. My first thought was increase the indirect illumination of my lights which did work however it would increase the problem mentioned above. Also it reduced the “dark” feel that I am going for.

And last is specular leaks. I don’t know how to call it but I have some problems with not light leaking per se but hotspots of point lights that I used to fill the rooms. These hot spots are then seen in different rooms but only as reflections not as actual diffuse light. Sorry I cannot show a screenshot for this because I can’t open my scene on my laptop.

I hope some of you are able to help



As a former Lighting Artist as a game studio, a key to effective lighting is a nice contrast between light and dark, while also maintaining enough lighting that you can see well enough, it may be necessary to not go entirely realistic.
If you want to get a more creepy feeling you might want to make some slight tweaks with post-processing.
Here are a couple examples.

For your hot spots from point lights problems, Adjust the “Min Roughness” setting on the light, it’ll help you soften the specular highlights.