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I want to create a shallow and dim lighting effect around my scene, but I also want the shadows to be slightly darker. Unfortunately the only method I have found to make shadows sharper and darker is to increase the strength of the lamp, which creates an extremely bright scene.

Is there any way to make shadows artificially darker?

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    $\begingroup$ Have you turned down your environment lighting (world)? $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2018 at 9:34
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    $\begingroup$ Increasing light strength does not make shadows darker, the shadows are illuminated by indirect light in the scene. When you make the key light brighter, it can make the shadows seem darker because the rest of the image becomes lighter. Even low-key renders/photos need to have little parts that are bright, otherwise the image just looks underexposed or washed out. Maybe you should further consider your approach and could maybe post a screenshot of your scene and explain your goals with lighting? $\endgroup$
    – kheetor
    Mar 5, 2018 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ Try moving your lamp much closer to your subject, the further away your light source is, the softer your shadow, and likewise, the closer your light source is your shadows become sharper. $\endgroup$
    – Rick Riggs
    Mar 5, 2018 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ Related possible duplicate:https://blender.stackexchange.com/questions/8930/how-can-i-cast-artificially-darker-shadows $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Mar 5, 2018 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ If you are using filmic blender,you can use a High contrast or very high contrast look. As an alternative you can create a LUT that alters the contrast the way you want and create a new stanza in the config.OCIO Read: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/65948/… $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Mar 5, 2018 at 15:29

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Perhaps it's possible using the Shadow output of the Lightpath node but I couldn't do it. What I could do, is enable the Shadow pass tick box in the Render Layers panel and then use that shadow pass to darken the shadows of the render with a mix(darken) node. Use a very small factor though as darken can be very intense. Hope this helps you.

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