Map lighting tips?

I was wondering if anyone had any tips on lighting maps.
I seem to have the issue of putting the settings to low (Brightness) or to high.

I really love SSDK but I hate how you cant view your lighting live(like some editors out there/most of the new ones).

Also I dont fully understand HDR…any time that I try to use it, it seems to make the map worse.
I originally had a LOAD of prefabs that had any light I need, and usually that would work fine in most of my situations, but ever sense the new sdk update I lost them.

So summed up, I need tips on how to get lighting correct within the first few times, not the first 40 times.


Raytraced preview gives a fairly decent preview of how light will look, but otherwise you have to do it through trial and error.

Wow that using a load of CPU. But thanks! It does give a very dirty idea.

the fourth number regulates brightness

0 0 0 [0]

i usually keep mine at around 150 for indoor stuff.

This tutorial pretty much gives you all the info you need for source

If you wanted you could mess around with the lighting in my map

all the files are included with this

point_spotlight, light_spot and/or env_projectedtexture all work wonderfully together.

Very nice stuff :slight_smile:

This is a system I’ve found for good looking light-

First off, no light is white. It looks bad. Give all your lights, indoors or out, a slightly blue/yellow tint.
For indoor lights, use a light_spot, with a regular light entity directly on-top of it. Give them both the same color, but have the regular light’s light be much lower than the light_spot’s. Add a cone of func_dustmotes underneath the light, and set the color to the same as the light. Add a sprite to it all, set it to additive, and you have a nice looking light.

if you are posting to
add light_environment, and maybe 2 other lights, and you will be a GOD there!
srsly, people, what is so hard about lighting a map? fullbright is UGLY!

LEDs are white.

[editline]7th November 2011[/editline]

Wait, they might be slightly blue.

You can get pure white led’s, but led’s as a light source still arn’t in common use yet.

Go for some subtle orange lights, can make the map feel a bit more atmospheric if your making a sunny scene!

Or blue-green for that cold, dead, lonely feel.

Well, you can have some tips based on my experience:
-If your light doesn’t seem to be casting far enough or a light entity creates blotches, try changing your constant/linear/quadratic attenuations, they are suprisingly useful. In the latter case, you should have your quadratic setting lowest to avoid said blotches.
-When selecting colours, play with the saturation and luminosity values. With the right colour your lighting can look way better than just using the RGB settings and slider.
-Very low brightness values and very dark colours do not seem to work well: for me they create an affect similar to cel shading with blotches of the same colour, this appears to be because of a lack of an amount of RGB values to blend the light properly.
-When choosing a skybox and setting its corresponding recommended values, it can sometimes be good to try get the lighting colour to match the colour of the skybox if it doesn’t already. I remember a map I was making had a sort of overcast greyish-blueish skybox and then the recommended settings were for an orangey colour. It looked way better when I tweaked the lighting to compliment the skybox.