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Working on lighting my scene, anyone can offer advice on how to improve?

Good day all,

I have been hard at work this entire weekend on an arch-viz project. I did the Unreal Learning: Lighting Essential Concepts & Effects course first, but I am still quite new to all this and haven’t wrapped my head around lighting which I am realizing its own whole skill. The project is based on a working-class urban tavern from the mid 19th century. It was one of our first student projects so it’s pretty amateur. The screenshots are what I have so far, but I can tell there is a huge amount of room for improvement. Hoping some more experienced than myself can offer some tips on how to improve after a quick glance at the pictures. Also have a few questions as well.

Here is a list of all my lighting actors:

  • Lightmass importance volume covering the whole scene
  • Post Process Volume (infinite bound)
  • Exponential Height Fog (Volumetric fog is on for the exterior pics; I turn it off when in the interior)
  • 5x lightmass portals over the windows
  • 4x spot lights for the street lights, static
  • 1x spot light on ceiling interior, stationary
  • 7x point light with a basic flicker done in blueprint (lanterns); stationary
  • 1x flicker point light in fire place (see pics). Free fire particle effect used in fire place for fire.
  • Planar Reflection on the mirror
  • Sphere Reflection in front of the Planar Reflection/mirror

Questions:

  • How to fix the mirror? It has a bit of reflection as you can see but mostly looks like ■■■■. Increased the “Distance from Plane Fadeout End” along with the other settings but nothing seems to work, looks like it is staying in screen space capture.
  • How to get shadows less dark? Or do you think they’re good that way?
  • How to get the exterior walls lit better? I have the spot lights on the street lights but they aren’t doing much…
  • Get the fire lighting to look better? Maybe a shadow flicker? Or if that’s too advanced forget about it.

Thanks!