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I'm trying to set up a night scene, and having trouble getting the lighting right. Here's my first stab at it:

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I like the lighting on the tree, but the cloak on the left is too dark.

I wondered about splitting the scene into two render layers, kind of like this:

enter image description here enter image description here

I thought I could adjust the levels of the cloak in the compositor, but I can't figure out how to recombine the layers. Similarly, I tried adding extra lights to the cloak layer, but that interferes with the volumetric effect in an undesirable way.

Is there a good way to light the cloak, without affecting the rest of the scene?

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    $\begingroup$ What if there was some more contrast around the cloak, making more of a silhouette? For example, like this. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 May 11 '15 at 9:10
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A possible soution is not using volumetrics in the world setting but creating a solid that contains the whole scene with volume scatter shader. Have that solid be in only one layer and have other layers with no volumetrics to light the objects.

For example on a scene like this:

enter image description here

I added a cube that surrounds the whole scene and added a volume scatter node as volume to create the volumetrics.

enter image description here

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on a separate layer I have the object on the left with separate lighting and no volumetrics.

enter image description here

I render both layers separately and combine them in the compositor:

enter image description here

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For a solution without compositing or adding render layers, you can create lights that ignore the volume scattering.

For example:

In a situation like this where you have two objects, a single light source and volume scattering as volume in the world.

The monkey is hard to see as there is no other light on the scene that help us see any more detail on the face.

enter image description here

If we were to add a new light to the scene it would also light the scattered particles in the environment, affecting the original effect.

enter image description here

To make the light invisible to volume scattering Disable the Ray Visiblity for to Volume Scatter in the Cycles settings for the new light.

enter image description here

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