How to make your lighting more realistic in shadowmap

Hey everyone, I’ve been spending a lot of my time recently working on lighting within shadowmap trying to find different styles and atmospheres for certain games, with that said in this tutorial I’ll show you how I create lighting for my own games and how you can create similar lighting in your own game, without any baking or scripting. Here are some examples of what the lighting should look like upon completion of the tutorial:

To begin we want to open up our scene/game and simply change the lighting setting under technology to shadowmap, it should look something like this:

Next what you want to do is change the ShadowSoftness parameter to 0, this way you will have more crisp shadows, along with this I like to change the time of the day to usually the morning or late afternoon, in this case, I have chosen 09:00:00 in the morning:

Next what you want to do is head over to the brightness settings under lighting, now the default is normally 2, but for any build, I like to raise it to 3,4 or 5 depending on the ambience. With nature builds such as this I raise it to a 6 or 7, in this example I’ll raise it to 7 considering our nature subject:

Finally, we want to create the right coloured lighting for our scenario, here I want a morning glow so what you do to achieve that is you go to ColorShift_Top and put in a reasonably bright yellow to orange tone, for this example I used the colour [255, 138, 35] to achieve what I was looking for.

You can also use this to create other parts of the cycle of a day, for example using [44, 128, 255] we can create a moon glow which works well too for a night scene, of course, you can adjust the brightness to taste.

The last part of this tutorial I’d like to draw on is skyboxes, and how finding the right skybox makes your lighting so much more immersive and realistic, here I found a good skybox to suit the morning glow of the scene, and you can see how it enhances the realism of the lighting.

And at this point you are essentially done, you can make any changes per your taste and what lighting you’re going for. I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful for your future projects, below I have the place shown in this tutorial with the lighting and other parameters set for you to use as a template!

RealisticLightingTemplate.rbxl (113.0 KB)

Here are some examples of what you can achieve with this lighting in place:

I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful and I look forward to seeing what you all can do with it in future in your own games and projects!


Wonderful tutorial, I will be definitely be implementing these tips next time I touch up my day/night cycle.


Really creative tutorial. You helped me a lot learning me new methods making showcases look more natural and realistic!


This is just the question where I have been looking answer for ages.


Great tutorial! This will help me a lot with my realistic type game :smiley:


Wow! Good job, I need to use this later on!


i’m getting source engine game vibes from these images. i LOVE these, especially as someone who loves to mess with lighting in general!!! so pretty


Extremely useful! Thank you so much for making this tutorial! I would definitely use this tutorial for my upcoming showcases that I’m working on! :+1:


Really appreciate this tutorial setup. I’ve been playing with lighting a bit myself, but haven’t quite found the correct settings yet for one of my maps. It’s great to see an example of quality lighting.


Holy mother of god that looks great.


Great tutorial! Have been looking something like this.

Do you have any suggestions on finding good skyboxes apart from the library? Maybe any developer that create really great skyboxes or any common skyboxes?


Generally if you look up something along the lines of what your going for you’ll get a pretty good result. For example “afternoon sky” is a good search key to find good skyboxes for that kind of setting. I also look for ones that are real life skyboxes as it gives the map a more realistic feel.
Hope this helps!


Thank you so much for creating this post! it’s important to know just how important lighting is in a scene and it has proven very useful for me.


With the new grass decoration feature coming, the lighting looks even better with this lighting and the grass.


Super great tutorial, nice results.


I’m going to put this into my game. Much love.


I’d be wary of using any ShadowSoftness below around 0.15 - if you make it too small, your shadows start to appear ‘aliased’, especially along diagonals. 0.15 still makes for a nice crisp look without exposing the aliasing, from my own testing :slightly_smiling_face:


Amazing, I’ll try this lighting in my game.


Yeah, I can see that, one thing I didn’t mention is that with the varying cloud levels you can increase the softness relative to the overcast scene, but yes it depends, I personally prefer 0 as my artistic lighting works with the sharp shadows, that’s why I put it in the tutorial, however as you say 0.15 works great as well and in cases can avoid the aliasing :smile:


Oh. My. God.