Which lighting combination to use? (please help!)

I have tried to watch as many tutorials as I can about this but still can’t seem to work out what is best for our project.

Our project is a mostly outdoor world but does have some dedicated indoor scenes which are very dark. We can stream those in as separate levels so that is not a problem however the open world needs to be light outside but with dark interior sections. One example is we have a rollercoaster that begins in an enclosed station, goes through a dark tunnel then comes out in to sunlight. The train needs to be fully dynamic.

Here is the tunnel section which will be completely closed off eventually but with a skylight it is too bright in these interior sections:

When I remove the skylight it looks as it should:

And as you can see, in the outdoor open world scenes having no skylight is not an option as the shadows from just the skylight alone are far too intense:

With skylight:


Another example the tunnel at the bottom of the image should be very dark:


No skylight:

I apologize if this topic is very over asked but I am at a brick wall with what to do. Keep in mind these dark sections still need a coaster car to pass through fully dynamic.

Any suggestions would be very appreciated!

  • Dave

What you’re asking is not entirely clear but I think it’s that shadows are too dark without a skylight? Use the tint shadows and eye adaptation in post processing

Probably, you can try using Post processing volume for that certain section to make it little darker while keeping the other sections unaffected.

I was just going to say that:)

Will you have a dynamic time of day or dynamic geometry changes? If not, use lightmass and bake your map to get what you want. If you need it dynamic, you need to enable distance fields so you can have proper occlusion and shadowing of your skylight.

In any case, I recommend you to read through the Unreal Lighting Documentation because it feels like you dont really know what the Engine does and how its supposed to work in which case. So I really really think you should start with understanding the basics about the tech so you can make a decision that suits your project best! :slight_smile:


EDIT: And please dont recommend using post to compensate for a bad base setup! This is actually the most common issue I see for bad lighting! So read the books, build up a working base and everything else down the line will be much easier to deal with. And when you have stretched the possibilities of your lighting setup, THEN its time to look into post.
But please, never start compensating with post for something thats not setup correctly to begin with :wink:

Also, feel free to give my lighting academy channel linked in my Sig a try! I talk a lot about all those things and maybe it will help you :slight_smile:

You can try play with auto exposure function in the post processing, it might help, and can skylight intensity can be reduce

Can you recommend some books about lighting principles to build a good theoretical base?

Our scene will not have dynamic time of day but I am not sure how you determine “dynamic geometry changes” The geometry will not change however the rollercoaster cars WILL need to be animated throughout the track layout so not changing per se, just moving. Also we did try using DFAO but the scene just wound up with dark blotches and didn’t really change much. We must be missing something.

I have read through a lot of the unreal documentation about lighting but I tend to learn better from tutorials rather than reading so I will watch your series!


In that case use baked lighting with stationary (not static) directional light for sun and a stationary (again, not static) skylight. This requires that you unwrap a UV for the lightmaps, the UV cannot have overlapping pieces. You also need a lightmass importance volume that encompasses the area you want properly lit. Movable carts and such will receive correct lighting as long as you have the importance volume in.

Sadly, no. My knowledge comes from reading the documentation (so I know the technical details about how Unreal likes you to do stuff depending on what lighting technique you use) and just working with it for 4years +