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Is there a better way to adjust overall brightness other than using the "exposure" slider? The "exposure" slider in the Color Management area is considerably grittier than making the lights physically brighter for anything other than post-render micro adjustments.

Right now I just have a node group with a single "Value" node shared across all my light sources & world strength, as shown. GIMP needs an arrow tool.

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  • $\begingroup$ The best way to set overall brightness is by controlling the intensity of the lights. Make them as bright as you need. Don't be shy with the values. Make them as bright as you need. Leave the "exposure" slider at its default value, increasing it will only increase the noise levels. $\endgroup$ – user1853 Feb 25 '19 at 6:58
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Finally figured this out. Basically, you should use the 'exposure' slider in the color management tab to make overall brightness adjustments while keeping the light 'ratio' the same. Seems obvious, but by default Cycles uses strong clamping which botches this up. If you disable clamping, you can render once then adjust lightness through the exposure slider with identical results to re-rendering with brighter light sources.

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