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I will try and make this question as specific as I can. I have this room:

enter image description here

However, the lighting in this room feels very flat and lifeless. This should be a dark and sinister room - home to the occult and demons.

I attempted to light the room using multiple lights around the room

enter image description here

however this does not manage to create the sinister lighting I am looking for. I also tried using shadows where possible, which had a limited improvement.

enter image description here

Below is an example of a well-lit, occultish room taken from the web which has a similar atmosphere to what I would like to achieve. enter image description here

What can be done to make the lighting in my room more sinister and less uniform?

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  • $\begingroup$ To make light less uniform you need shadows, to have shadows your something to break it up. There is nothing in your scene able to cast shadows, everything is backed up against the walls $\endgroup$ Apr 10, 2020 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ @DuarteFarrajotaRamos That's a really good point! There must be more to it than just shadows, though. $\endgroup$
    – Joehot200
    Apr 10, 2020 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ Mood boards. Ask a question to random people, you’ll get varying random answers with little relationship to helping you, the image author, get closer to what you want. Duarte’s advice is great, however even terrific advice not anchored in your creative goal is moot. Could you provide some sample textures or such that help to communicate what you are going for? Shots from cinema? Thumbnails of textures? Illustrations? Anything is helpful here for more guided offerings that will help you and the goal of this particular piece. $\endgroup$
    – troy_s
    Apr 10, 2020 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ @troy_s I added a picture that felt similar to my goal. I am hoping that this question result in myself having the knowledge of the potential options, allowing me to then be creative and try to match my vision (which isn't set in stone and will definitely change with advice). $\endgroup$
    – Joehot200
    Apr 10, 2020 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ Duarte’s comment is more relevant now; consider layering in some breakup to pull it away from the CGI box feel if the goal is that sort of dark eerie room. Note the overall textural difference as well; one is pristine while the other is used, abused, and debris filled. Get the room into shape and then lighting has a chance to emerge from it. $\endgroup$
    – troy_s
    Apr 11, 2020 at 3:48

1 Answer 1

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I have decided to post my solution to the problem: enter image description here

Always, if possible, make it so that something is occluding your light. That way, the shadows look nice.

From another angle: enter image description here Look at the bookcase in the bottom right of the image as a perfect demonstration of my example, as you can see the shadows intersecting from the lights either side of the bookcase.

Also, bloom and occlusion really complete the look. There is absolutely no way that the shot would look anywhere near as good without either one of them.

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