How to render a dark scene in cycles

Cycles might feel confusing when your trying to create a dark scene for the first time, since there will be some light in a cycles render even if you have deleted all the light sources like lamps and emitters. In this video we show an easy way to create a dark, mysterious scene in cycles with minimal lighting.

If you’re working in Blender internal, deleting all the lights from your scene will result in a black render. However, if you have no lights in cycles, you will still get this even lighting on your object.

The reason for that is the gray world background that is emitting gray light to the scene. If we simply go to the world settings and change the color to black, the resulting render will be completely dark.

Let’s try to create a spooky dark lighting for suzanne. We’ll delete the default cube and add the monkey. Let’s add the subdivision surface modifier and set shading to smooth, just so that the mesh looks a bit nicer.

Now let’s position the 3d cursor below our object, and add a plane that will become our light emitter.

We can scale and rotate the plane a bit, and then add a material with the surface set to emission. We can also increase the emission strenght a little bit.

Let’s make a quick render to see the spooky lighting in action. If we want to hide the emission plane, we can simply turn off its ray visibility to the camera.

Here is one more high quality render of our dark cycles scene.

Thanks for watching and see you next time on

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