Lighting Help? (Static vs Stationary)

Hello there Unreal community!

I’m having a bit of a problem grasping the ideal lighting set up and work flow for ArchVis. Currently I have a particular problem regarding static lights vs stationary. My static lights produce some really nice results, aside from needing to really crank up the light map resolution on some pieces. However, I’d be interested in taking advantage of stationary lights. Dynamic shadows provide a much crisper cast shadow with out being weighed down by several large light maps, and because of that I could use construction scripts that populate meshes (the wood boards, for example) rather than making larger modular pieces. It also will allow me to adjust intensity and color without having to rebuild every time, which would save me a lot of time on the projects I will be working on.

The problem I’m having with stationary lighting is that I get these really blurry and messy looking shadows (like ambient occlusion kind of shadows, not cast shadows) at the edges of most everything. I don’t have AO enabled in world settings, nor do I have a post process volume in the scene. For sake of ruling out any potential fumbling I did with settings I’ve made sure all settings for the lights and world settings have been set to default. I’m using one point light and one spotlight. No skylight, no directional light (many of my projects will end up being indoor lighting only).

I was hoping someone could point in the direction of what is generating these shadows and how I can fine tune it to be more proper like the static lighting, or if it’s even possible. The first image is from static lighting, the second is stationary.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

It’s important to know that stationary lights still use the entire static lighting workflow; they just add dynamic shadows and color/intensity settings. It looks like you may have lowered the lightmap resolution of that mesh in the hopes that the stationary light would make up for lost detail. Is that correct? The dynamic shadows aren’t perfect for fine details, and the soft bounce lighting still needs lightmap resolution to look good.

I didn’t change the lightmap resolution between the two shots. The only thing changed was setting the light mode from static to stationary. I think I found the issue though…at least if I’m understanding it correctly. I changed all my static meshes to “moveable” and it looked better. So static objects can’t receive dynamic shadows? Or don’t receive them as nicely anyway?

What’s the generally accepted method for photorealistic archvis shots?

With stationary lights static meshes will receive and generate static shadows, but the light will be able to cast dynamic shadows for movable objects as well which will blend perfectly with the static shadows

The movable mesh will not receive any bounce/static/soft lighting. So the stationary light pretty much acts like a movable light for it. This will help define those edges because I still think the blurry dark corners are due to a lightmap density issue.

Can you do a side-by-side with the static mesh version and your movable mesh version? And also turn on the Lightmap Density viewmode? Even if you’ve found a workaround, I 'd like to figure this out.

Sorry for the delay in getting back to this.

Attached is an image for comparison, the lightmap density, and a look at the UVs and how the static meshes are put together. The lightmap density reveals the benching as being way dense, but I’m not sure how else to handle the lightmaps for an object like this. If I did the boards themselves as individual meshes then I’d have exponentially more lightmaps.

I did discover a way to get what I wanted out of the set up however. I lowered the value of the Static Lighting Level Scale under World Settings -> Lightmass.

Glad you got it fixed!