[[caption-width-right:320:Tenebrism: Chiaroscuro UpToEleven]]

A visual trope, using a stark contrast between dark and light in an image, usually for dramatic effect. Generally uses directional lighting and sharp shadows. Developed in the Renaissance for painting and became very popular among Baroque painters, all the way to the school known as "tenebrism". And never quite vanished since.

FilmNoir is fond of it, but it is found in all sorts of works in visual media, whether constantly or to underscore moments of high drama. A great number of critics and satirists have pointed out that mainstream videogames and movies are drifting towards this.

A FaceFramedInShadow -- half lit, half-shadowed -- is often called chiaroscuro.

Games with CelShading tend to employ this with their shadows.

May combine with such tropes as EvilIsNotWellLit, ConspicuouslyLightPatch, WomanInWhite, and ByTheLightsOfTheirEyes, and even RavenHairIvorySkin.

Generally speaking, a work that combines dark [[RealIsBrown brown]] or black shadows over much of the image with bright silver and gold (or [[MoodLighting flesh-tone]]) highlights is usually described as chiaroscuro.

Used with care, it can produce eye-popping 3D effects, often ''trompe de l'oeil''. It can also be used in live-action film to help cover up the cheapness of the sets.

The term comes from Italian, where it means [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "light-dark"]]. English words derived from the same root are, respectively, "Clear" and "Obscure". It's pronounced as "Kia-ro-skoo-ro", not "Shia-ro-".

Not to be confused with the [[AdvancedAncientAcropolis ancient desert city of glass]] from the tabletop RPG ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}''. Or that rat from ''Literature/TheTaleOfDespereaux'' (though he was named for this trope as a joke by his parents).

A SuperTrope to DramaticSpotlight, EmergingFromTheShadows.

Contrast HollywoodDarkness, when even the dark isn't dark. See also MoodLighting and ColorContrast. Not to be confused with DarkerAndEdgier, since this trope is typically used to highlight the [[AWorldHalfFull bright spots]].

Contrast NuclearCandle, where light sources illuminate the screen completely and without any appreciable shadows.

''[[{{TropeCo/Chiaroscuro}} This item]] is now available in the TropeCo/TropeCo® catalog.''


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Used frequently in ''Manga/SoulEater'', particularly in scenes in Soul's head, or at the home of Crona and Medusa.
* ''LightNovel/KaraNoKyoukai'' loves shading, and shading loves ''LightNovel/KaraNoKyoukai''. The seventh movie has particularly good examples.
* The Action Horror Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri is ''very'' fond of this trope, "lighting" his scenes in eerie dark blue with '''only''' blood and emotionally significant objects appearing in color. This is demonstrated in hie NeoNoir classics Anime/DemonCityShinjuku , Anime/NinjaScroll and Anime/WickedCity.
* In ''Anime/CastleInTheSky'', the final confrontation shows Sheeta and Pazu as pale figures against a dark background.
* In ''Anime/TheCastleOfCagliostro'', the scenes just before, and at, the wedding use chiaroscuro extensively.
* Hiromu Arakawa uses this often in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''.
* Seen often in ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'', notably in the EyeCatch graphics.
* ''Manga/TheDemonOroron'' makes full use of this trope.
* Used extensively by science-fiction mangaka ''Creator/TsutomuNihei'', especially in the cult favourite ''Manga/{{Blame}}''.
* An episode of ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' uses this as a homage to ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries''.
* In ''Manga/SangatsuNoLion'', the artist employs this technique whenever she wants to emphasize [[ManipulativeBastard Kyoko's]] malicious personality traits by having her enveloped in shadows in front of bright background.
* Tite Kubo uses this technique occasionally in ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''. Fans have joked that whenever he accidentally spills ink all over the page, he just makes it into a new special attack.
* In ''Anime/SailorMoonCrystal's'' Act 1 ColdOpen when Usagi is DreamingOfTimesGoneBy, the dream prince and princess move to embrace and kiss, and their bodies and background are bright, but their facial features are so shadowed as to be just barely visible.

%%* Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio liked to use this.
* Rembrandt made frequent use of scenes where people are shown in contrast between dark and light. Sometimes it only appeared to be this way. ''Art/TheNightWatch'' was nicknamed that way because of its dark varnish, which had people think it depicted a night scene. This varnish was removed only in the 1940s.
* The twin fantasy/comic painters ''Brothers Hildebrandt'' made extensive use of this style in their fantasy artwork.
* As pictured above, the art style known as tenebrism (from the Italian word for "dark" and/or "murky") has this effect as its main selling point.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'', and many of the other works of Mike Mignola. After all, it is his SignatureStyle to have things largely defined by their shadows.
* ''ComicBook/VForVendetta'' used this heavily.
* The climactic fight scene between ComicBook/TheSpirit and the Octopus took place in a darkened room where the only light was a falling match.
* From ''ComicBook/{{Bone}}'', the night that the rat creatures attack Thorn's farm.
* The cover of ''Comicbook/FantasticFour'' #500, set during the rather dark ''Unthinkable'' storyline, appropriately featured the Four standing in darkness, lit only by Johnny's flames.
* ''ComicBook/SinCity''. Creator/FrankMiller loves to utilize this in his artwork anyway but it seems to be more obvious in this black and white comic series.
* ''ComicBook/OneHundredBullets'' had a significant amount of this, with a signature design having a character shown entirely in black with only their eyes and teeth in white.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'', when Gothel closes all the windows and explains to Rapunzel it's too dangerous, the scene uses extensive chiaroscuro.
* The French film ''WesternAnimation/{{Renaissance}}'' is nothing but black-on-white images.
* ''[[WesterAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon How to Train Your Dragon]]'' features a scene between Stoic and Hiccup starkly lit by a single candle.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Used to great effect in ''Film/AmericanBeauty'', where symbols are highlighted by improbably bright lights.
* ''Film/TheFountain'' is possibly the most chiaroscuro film ever made, in terms of brute force of imagery. All the swirly gold things and pitch black backgrounds were achieved with microphotography. Even the ''hospital'' is lit this way, with lots of dimly lit Moroccan screens, making it the most AwesomeButImpractical hospital one is likely to visit. And also [[WhoForgotTheLights very hard to see]].
* ''Film/BladeRunner'', in the tradition of FilmNoir, helped pave the way for many of the more GrimDark sci-fi films that followed it. Everything in [[CrapsackWorld future LA]] seems to be powered by / lit by natural gas flares and strobe lights.
* One version of this was from near the end of ''Film/ApocalypseNow'', when a swinging lightbulb throws the main antagonist's face into (changing) light and shadow.
* Like many tropes, the usage of Chiaroscuro in film was [[TropeCodifier widely popularized]] by ''Film/CitizenKane'', although it was [[OlderThanTheyThink already common]] in German expressionist cinema.
* Frequently used by Creator/StanleyKubrick.
** In ''Film/BarryLyndon'', special lenses facilitated candlelight filming. The use of light in that film becomes very notable to anyone with knowledge in lighting or photography. Most films use a ton of artificial light in scenes that are only supposed to be lit with a few candles, thanks to the technological limitations on cameras. However, ''Barry Lyndon'' didn't use ''any'' artificial light, with the entire scenes sometimes being lit by a few candles. In order to achieve this, Kubrick had to use cameras intended for ''NASA during the Apollo moon landings.''
** Kubrick's second film, ''Film/KillersKiss'', was shot almost entirely in this way, in black and white, with dramatic contrast between light and darkness and lots of shadowy scenes with bright lights cutting through them.
* ''Film/DarkCity'' uses chiaroscuro lighting in spots to achieve a DieselPunk[=/=]FilmNoir effect.
* The cellar scene from ''Film/{{Signs}}''. The lightbulb gets broken, so there's several tense seconds of pitch blackness, then they turn on two flashlights, which provide the only light for the remainder of the scene.
* From ''Franchise/StarWars Episode II: Film/AttackOfTheClones'', Anakin's duel with Dooku. Their lightsabers provide the only illumination.
* The film, ''Film/TheMadMissManton'' is a mystery/comedy film from 1938 that has a lot of characteristics of early noir lighting.
* During the roof scenes (and nighttime ones) of ''Film/HandsAcrossTheTable'', the lighting is very like what would later be used for FilmNoir, so much so that taking these shots isolated from the entire movie, they look like they could’ve come straight out of a noir. However, for the tone of the film, it creates more of a romantic mood.
* The entire second half of ''Film/PitchBlack''.
* ''Film/{{Halloween 1978}}'' is an excellent example of this trope's use in horror. The multiple shadows provide so many places for the killer to hide in, the viewer can't tell where he'll jump out from. Particularly notable is the white mask which seems to 'materialize' out of the shadows.
* ''Film/TheGodfather'' films love this trope. To the extent that in many cases it's so dark parts of the film remains unexposed. This was why it has been problematic to transfer to DVD, as it's very hard for digital media to handle pitch black[[note]] MPEG-2 handles ''completely'' flat black very well. Where it tends to fall apart is when there's a little noise in the black - which tends to happen with under-exposed film or video.[[/note]].
* ''Film/TheSilenceOfTheLambs'' plays with this liberally, mostly in the introduction of Lecter, but rather frighteningly in the climax, where [[spoiler:Starling is illuminated through night-vision goggles, shown desperately lost in the darkness.]]
* ''Film/IAmLegend'' has it when Neville enters a building after his dog.
* ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' used this in the scene on Haven when Shepard Book is advising Mal.
* ''Film/{{Alien}}'' and its sequels
* On this aspect, ''Film/TheElementOfCrime'' is essentially ''Film/BladeRunner'' [[UpToEleven turned up to eleven]].
* ''Film/LastOfTheMohicans'', particularly the Fort scenes.
* ''Film/InlandEmpire'' uses this to create an unsettling, dreamlike atmosphere.
* Due to the low-powered light sources and the pitch-blackness of the coffin, most, if not all of ''Film/{{Buried}}'' is shot like this.
* Peter Jackson pulled this off to a frightening degree of success during the scene that introduces Aragorn in his adaptation of ''[[Film/TheLordOfTheRings The Fellowship of the Ring]]''.
* The ''Film/HarryPotter'' film series got this way progressively as the series continued, to the point that parts of ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows part 2'' were near impossible to watch at home with daylight streaming through your windows.
* In ''Film/{{Casino}}'', Creator/MartinScorsese uses a brief shot of chiaroscuro to introduce [[TheDon the Dons]] of the Midwest.
* The finale of Film/{{Skyfall}} is this, with [[spoiler:the burning ruins of Skyfall manor]] being the only light source.
* Murder mystery ''Film/{{Crossfire}}'' is lit this way throughout, starting with the opening scene, when a brawl that ends in a murder is staged in a dark room lit only by a single lamp.
* ''Film/{{Brute Force|1947}}'' is a FilmNoir, so it's almost mandatory.
* ''Film/TheWomanInTheWindow'', Perhaps most notably when Wanley is trying to dispose of a dead body. The face of the dead man is well lit in the back of the car but everything else is dark.
* ''Film/ForcedVengeance'' has a different take on this trope when Creator/ChuckNorris is shown fighting in silhouette before a giant neon billboard.
* In ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar'', the entire first scene is shot with stark contrast of dark and light, especially the frames with [[Characters/MCULoki Loki]] holding the Tesseract.

* ''Literature/VillainsByNecessity'': It's the name of the world, as chosen by Mizzamir. It makes sense with the book's moral message [[spoiler: GrayAndGrayMorality, both good and evil are necessary for existence.]]
* The [[YouDirtyRat main villain]] of ''Literature/TheTaleOfDespereaux'' is given this name, which becomes [[MeaningfulName much more important]] as the story goes on
* Literature/HeartOfDarkness by Joseph Conrad. Darkness and light are the two most striking visual motifs in the novel.
* Creator/GustaveFlaubert's ''Literature/MadameBovary'' frequently uses light to contrast Emma's ideals and darkness/shadows to emphasize her actual living conditions.
* The [[Literature/RevengeOfTheSith novelization]] of ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'' has a chapter called Chiaroscuro, and light and shadow come into the description a lot during it.
* Canadian publisher CZP has an online magazine called Chiaroscuro, and deals with dark, weird fiction. Most of their books embody this trope, thematically, in some way.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{CSI}}'' and its spinoffs use this in many scenes, usually accentuated by a strongly colored light.
* Creator/JossWhedon fell in sticky icky love with this trope.
** ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': the ship was actually fully constructed and lighting was accomplished by sources available on the set. Often, in order to get light where it was needed, the lighting artists put little sheets of metal down to bounce the light from a lamp onto the actor.
** ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' and ''Series/{{Angel}}'' loved this. Is it meant to be scary? Then you can't see a dang thing.
** ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'' makes use of this as well. For example, Ballard's confrontation with Dewitt occurs in an office that ''used'' to be well lit. Heck, that entire '''show''' reflects its moral ambiguity in its dramatic lighting.
* Whenever something appropriately dramatic happened in ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' (Original Flavor), they framed Kirk's eyes with a band of light, the rest of his face in shadow. It was strange.
* ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' had one with the Captain. When Ted and the Captain get on the boat and they set sail, the Captain's face is divided by a shadow into a smile and an evil glare.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', especially in the first two seasons, often had [[FaceFramedInShadow faces framed in shadow]]… even outside in the middle of the day.
* ''Series/MadMen'' is a dark show, thematically. Beautiful people, beautifully lit.
* ''Series/LostGirl'' is always gorgeously lit, usually darkly. The main character is a BadassLongcoat PrivateDetective FemmeFatale who qualifies as an AntiHero, who frequently hangs in old decaying buildings. It's pretty much a supernatural detective noir show.
* ''Series/PushingDaisies'' uses this occasionally, both as an {{Homage}} and AffectionateParody of FilmNoir movies.
* ''Series/{{Space 1999}}'' (the first season) had this in spades. It was pulled off brilliantly and offset the white plastic sterile color scheme of Moonbase Alpha, fitting the somber, thought provoking atmosphere of the first season. Unfortunately, for season 2, this moody lighting style disappeared along with Kano, Victor, and Paul.
* The final scene in the ''Series/TopGear'' Middle East special, where the three presenters (playing the role of the Three Wise Men) bring their gifts to the stable, is lit with candles in this fashion. James May lampshades this in the episode commentary, remarking the scene is lit "like an old master."
* ''Series/TheWestWing'' had a whole lot of this going on, especially during the quiet, character-driven or philosophical, conversational scenes which usually happened at night, at the end of the workday, where the only available lighting would be small office desk lamps, in contrast to the usually well-lit, daytime, hectic, energetic, plot-driven {{WalkAndTalk}}s.
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'' occasionally uses this, and the play of light and dark is sometimes played with metaphorically as it is scenically. The lab is brightly lit, but the subject matter is dark; the interrogation room is often lit so the suspect has a Face Framed In Shadow, but once they're revealed to not be the killer, their heads often turn towards the light so you can see their face. The room behind the one-way glass is dark, as though to represent their invisibility to the other side. Lit windows in the dark seem to be popular.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'' would occasionally light the scenes in this way. Inevitable for a show featuring dark conspiracies and nasty monsters. A good example of the trope is a very squicky scene in "Leonard Betts". It is set in a storage locker where Betts uses his [[HealingFactor extreme regenerative power]] to create himself--he creates another Betts. Only his body is lit and some bright, scary light comes through a door into the locker, and the rest of the scene is very dark.
* ''Series/{{Dexter}}'' uses this trope quite a lot. It's most obvious in Dexter's kill rooms where he [[SerialKillerKiller murders criminals]]. The show also uses the contrast of bright sunny days and dark nights in Miami.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'' is full of this trope.
* ''Series/UltraSeven'', to further set itself apart from ''Series/{{Ultraman}}'' (the former being sci-fi-heavy, favoring aliens over kaijuu, positing moral dilemmas, showing more scary imagery, having music that wouldn't be out of place in a feature film), is shot tighter and in deep shadows, even inside the Ultra Garrison base.
* ''Series/{{Ultraman}}'' episodes would be shot in that style from time to time.
* A medical drama ''Series/MondayMornings'' has Chiaroscuro nearly as default lighting, and this trope is employed to a great effect during their M&M meetings (it stands for Morbidity and Mortality, also referred to as "311") when they are called out on their screw-ups and they have to explain how they killed their patients and if the deaths could have been prevented. The only brightly lit scenes are when the doctors perform operations. It's visually stunning.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'', specifically the Hartnell and Troughton eras which were all shot in black and white. This type of lighting frequently served to offset the look of the cheaply made sets and props. Interestingly, this was one of the original reasons that the film noir lighting style was developed in the first place.
* Used frequently on ''Series/TheSopranos'', to show the moral ambiguity of the characters.

* There is an actual technique prevalent in all types of vocal music by this name. It focuses on the ideal of finding a balance in one's voice between being covered and dark, and open and light. The truck is to be right in the middle where both are present.
* The classic [[http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2586n_madonna-vogue_music music video]] for {{Music/Madonna}}'s "Vogue."
* The front cover for the Music/ScissorSisters' album ''Ta-Dah''.
* Music/TalkingHeads used this extensively in their live shows, particularly the ''Stop Making Sense'' tour. As seen [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXJgt8rLMC4 here]] (note 4:50, when David Byrne goes ''ballistic'').
* Numerous black metal album covers utilize this technique, with the TropeCodifier being Darkthrone's [[http://www.viceland.com/music/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/darkthrone-transilvanian-hunger.jpg Transilvanian Hunger]].
* The music video for "In the Air Tonight" [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkADj0TPrJA&ob=av2n]] by Music/PhilCollins which also includes FaceFramedInShadow.
* Music/MyBrightestDiamond's debut album ''Bring Me the Workhorse'' featured a few photos of Shara Worden, starkly lit with pitch blackness behind her.
* Music/TheAgonist has a song named this.
* The music video for [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp7PS_UN8Lo "Run to You"]] by Music/{{Pentatonix}}.
* Music/DanielAmos's ''Music/{{Doppelganger}}'': The cover art is a dramatically shadowed photo of a mannequin in a dark room. Light comes through venetian blinds without really illuminating anything.
* Directional contrast of light and shadow is heavily employed in the full video for Music/PoetsOfTheFall's "[[https://youtu.be/xfvtPTvuFTA Drama for Life]]." In the real world and the MentalWorld, where the "[[GhostInTheMachine madman]]" resides, figures are sharply shadowed from the right. In the mental world particularly, the madman spends time leaning out of or retreating into sharply defined shadows, and fussing over his paper-filled RoomFullOfCrazy by candlelight.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' has the city of Chiaroscuro, which provides this effect in abundance.

* The Sam Wanamaker Theatre in London (part of the Globe Theatre complex) performs all of its plays by candlelight (as would have been done in the 17th-century indoor theaters it's modeled on, in contrast to the outdoor theaters). The lighting for its productions depends heavily on this effect -- striking changes to the lighting can be achieved not only by lighting or extinguishing candles, but also by raising or lowering the chandeliers or having actors carry candles onstage.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' uses this to provide atmosphere, light, and to tell players where to go, as humans tend to go towards the light because they can actually see what's there. According to the developer blog and commentaries, the maps in ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' were changed to promote, rather than fight against, this natural inclination of ours ([[GameMod custom campaigns]] that [[WhoForgotTheLights don't follow this line of thought]] are considered notoriously hard to navigate through). For example, one of the maps that takes place in a city was originally designed to have most of the windows in buildings lit and bright, giving the impression that TheVirus wiped everything out quickly. Changing the buildings to be without power made people move faster and more efficiently to the goal, which remained well-lit. However, for the most part, the lighting stays between this and HollywoodDarkness thanks to the "horror movie fog" effect.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' uses this throughout the Port Royal world, with the live-action characters cast in realistic, murky, brown-and-black night tones while Sora, Donald, and Goofy remain lit so brightly and colorfully that it's like they're in the middle of the afternoon. The end result is a very stark contrast between the grimmer characters from one world and the much, much perkier heroes from others. In general, the series has pretty heavy use of this. Pure white backgrounds with characters with dark auras (Terra especially), or pure black backgrounds with intense colors (the Dive Into The Heart screen where Sora chooses his keyblade) are incredibly common throughout the game.
* In ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' shadows are ''pitch black,'' even in the light of day.
* ''VideoGame/{{Doom}} 3''. You use a handheld flashlight, but not along with your firearm[[labelnote:*]][[MemeticMutation there's no duct tape on Mars]][[/labelnote]]. The very first GameMod for the title, aptly named "{{Duct Tape|ForEverything}}", gives a gunlight to a few of the marine's guns; others that come later expand on the concept. The ''[[UpdatedRerelease BFG Edition]]'' does away with the headache by mounting the lamp on your armor. [[TenSecondFlashlight It only lasts for 30 seconds or so before needing a recharge]], but that's far less annoying than [[ScrappyMechanic having to swap weapons while under attack]] when [[PersonalSpaceInvader a monster inevitably pops up right in your face]].
* Taken to the extreme in ''VideoGame/MadWorld'' for the Wii, where everything is either black or white (or [[{{Gorn}} red]]).
* ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'' is a particularly colorful variant of this, owing to all the neon lights. Rapture seems to have been designed to mimic nighttime lighting conditions at all hours, and that was when all the lights still worked. By the time you arrive, many areas are just barely light enough to navigate without a flashlight (which you don't have), dotted with small pools of bright light. One of the first enemies you encounter is visible only as a silhouette, and it won't be the last time.
* ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' and its sequel ''VideoGame/{{Okamiden}}'' make use of this, which is natural considering the art style is based on Japanese ink paintings. Shadows are pitch black, completely opaque, and flow like ink.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' is considerably DarkerAndEdgier than its predecessor, and tends to cover [[FaceFramedInShadow character's faces]] and environments in darker shadows. ''Mass Effect 3'' takes it even further, with the inside of the ''Normandy'' now looking like a Hollywood submarine.
* ''VideoGame/AlanWake'' is built around this. Since the mysterious "Dark Presence" [[LivingShadow thrives in darkness and shadows]], the majority of the game is spend fleeing between the sparse lighting, and even battle sequences require weakening monsters with flashlights.
* Most of the ''Franchise/SilentHill'' series.
* As much of it takes place underground, ''{{VideoGame/Metro 2033}}'' is prime for this. Most of the levels are dimly lit, and light is usually a sign of habitation... or danger. Especially bad in places where the mushrooms are the only source of light (aside from your headlamp), but they [[SicklyGreenGlow glow radioactive green]], and indicate that you're going to suddenly die of radiation poisoning if you don't haul ass away from there.
* ''Zelda'' started using this for nighttime and cave areas in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', and then expanded upon it for ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'', the latter of which uses shadow as a recurring motif. Your only decent light sources are the occasional torches and lanterns held by either the Moblins or Link; rushing through cave areas without carefully inspecting the lit-up path can lead to a tumble down a pit. Before that, much of the artwork for ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' was drawn in this style, though it's not done like this in the game itself.
* Many a StealthBasedGame uses this when shadows are used as a hiding tool by the protagonist, notably ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'' and ''VideoGame/SplinterCell''.
* ''VideoGame/AmnesiaTheDarkDescent'' lives up to its name, being set in a medieval castle lit only by candles, torches, your lantern, and the occasional mysterious shaft of light from above. The level "Storage" is actually called out by the protagonist as being ''unnaturally'' dark, with light sources only reaching a few feet before being swallowed up by the black shadows. A true case of tenebrism in a video game if ever there was one.
* Available as a photo mode color filter in ''VideoGame/MiddleEarthShadowOfWar''.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* The character sprites in ''VisualNovel/HiganbanaNoSakuYoruNi'' are drawn with [[http://visual-test.fr/images/higanbanaa.jpg completely black shadows]], to go with the dark and rather stiffening atmosphere of the story.

* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'': When Annie and Kat [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/view.php?date=2001-03-13 enter the room under Anja's old lab.]]
* ''Webcomic/OrderOfTales'': Koark and the Bottle Woman in the tunnel.
* Used extensively in Webcomic/{{Miamaska}}'s darkly lit scenes. Seen [[http://miamaska.tidalcomics.com/index.php?strip_id=19 here]], [[http://miamaska.tidalcomics.com/index.php?strip_id=36 here]], [[http://miamaska.tidalcomics.com/index.php?strip_id=39 here]], aaaaannnd [[http://miamaska.tidalcomics.com/index.php?strip_id=48 here]].
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'': Heavily used in Castle Heterodyne. [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20080723 Here]], [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20080808 here]], [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20080402 here]], and [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20080815 here]], for instance.
* ''Webcomic/TheDreamlandChronicles'':
** [[http://www.thedreamlandchronicles.com/the-dreamland-chronicles/chapter-05/page-275/ in the prison]]
** [[http://www.thedreamlandchronicles.com/the-dreamland-chronicles/todays-dreamland-chronicles-670/ Or after the wreck]]
* ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'': [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/030328c Such as here]] and [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/040126c]].
* ''Webcomic/WapsiSquare'': [[http://wapsisquare.com/comic/girlwiththekeys/ In the library]]
* ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'': [[http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/0p10 here]]
* ''Webcomic/WoodenRose'' [[http://www.woodenrosecomic.com/comic/chapter4/88.html the forest in the dream]]
* ''Webcomic/FeyWinds'' [[http://www.feywinds.com/comic/page.php?id=179 The attack]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Pibgorn}}'' [[http://www.gocomics.com/pibgorn/2004/06/12/ After a death]]
** [[http://www.gocomics.com/pibgorn/2006/08/21/ And here]]
* ''Webcomic/ThistilMistilKistil'' [[http://tmkcomic.depleti.com/comic/ch01-pg24/ As Odin sends him off]]
** [[http://tmkcomic.depleti.com/comic/ch05-pg14/ As they ready the funeral]]
* In ''Webcomic/WakeTheSleepers'', [[http://wakethesleepers.com/comics/first/ the opening]].
* In ''Webcomic/BlueYonder'' [[http://www.blueyondercomic.net/comics/1173198/blue-yonder-chapter-1-page-8/ inside Claremont Apartments.]] [[http://www.blueyondercomic.net/comics/1510611/blue-yonder-chapter-2-page-7/ And again inside the N-Forcers' HQ.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Strays}}'', [[http://www.straysonline.com/2012/09/page-237/ during Meela's transformation during the night, and again about the fire while she howls.]]
* In ''Webcomic/ImpureBlood'',
** [[http://www.impurebloodwebcomic.com/Pages/ISSUE06PAGES/ib144.html the escaping submarine, in dark water, with spotlights.]]
** [[http://www.impurebloodwebcomic.com/Pages/ISSUE07Pages/ib164.html At the market, trying to build clothes, the only light is scattered torches, and the shadows are very sharp.]] [[http://www.impurebloodwebcomic.com/Pages/ISSUE07Pages/ib166.html And when Elnor is getting off her message.]] [[http://www.impurebloodwebcomic.com/Pages/ISSUE07Pages/ib167.html And when they leave.]]
* In ''Webcomic/QuentynQuinnSpaceRanger'', [[http://www.rhjunior.com/QQSR/00085.html in his evac suit when ejected into (dark) outer space.]]
* In ''Webcomic/LoveAndCapes'',
** [[http://loveandcapes.com/lnc/?p=53 the feed from the helicopter -- showing her boyfriend getting seriously injured -- cuts off, leaving Abby in a darkened room with only the TV lit.]]
** [[http://loveandcapes.com/lnc/?p=56 Flying into the dawn, with both Mark and the buildings silhouetted against it.]]
* In ''Webcomic/DresdenCodak'', [[http://dresdencodak.com/2012/04/10/dark-science-18/ Melchior, blond and pale, talking to a Shadowy Council in a dark room.]]
* In ''Webcomic/TalesOfTheQuestor'', [[http://www.rhjunior.com/totq/00785.html the late night pursuit into the Tumbledowns is done in this.]]
* In ''Webcomic/FauxPas'', after Myrtle injured Cindy and gave her an overdose of cough medicine, they talk of getting her something to eat -- [[http://www.ozfoxes.net/cgi/pl-fp1.cgi?156 and all look at a panel where she is white against a much darker scene.]]
* In ''Webcomic/AvasDemon'', [[http://www.avasdemon.com/pages.php?page=0122 the crash landing has the bright streak of the ship, and phosphorescence on the land, in the gloom.]]
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2009-02-13 Raven listens to the news in a dark room with light coming from another room]] and the strip ends with his FaceFramedInShadow.
* In ''Webcomic/RedsPlanet'', [[http://www.redsplanet.com/comic/rp/ch03/chapter-three-30-31/ the scenes around campfires.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', moments when Lil' E is comtemplating his AmnesiacDissonance often have stark light and shadows: [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2011-12-24 looking at his old enemies list]], [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2012-04-07 confiding in Tangerine]], and [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2013-06-03 longing to be like angels]].
* In ''Webcomic/CucumberQuest'',
** [[http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/cq/page-363/ the night time castle, viewed from the outside]].
** [[http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/cq/page-484/ And again, when the princess tricks Tomato into going out at night.]]
* In ''Webcomic/RedsPlanet'', [[http://www.redsplanet.com/comic/rp/ch03/chapter-three-03/ this guides Red to where she can escaped the crashed spaceship.]]
* In ''Webcomic/ThePropertyOfHate'', the contrast between RBG's light and the darkness guarding the market. [[http://thepropertyofhate.com/TPoH/Pitch/174 He explain why brightening in the darkness would not help, it would only make the dark more striking]]. [[http://thepropertyofhate.com/TPoH/Pitch/175 Followed by his realization of how to fix it]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Referenced in the Strong Bad Email [[http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail58.html '''Trogdor''']] from ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner''. Tasked to draw a dragon, Strong Sad, depressive nerd, draws a realistic picture and explains that he had used this technique.
* ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'' has this during the song, My Eyes. While watching from the street, Doctor Horrible sings about how soon "only darkness will remain." While he's doing this, a street light casts light on one side of his face, while the other is completely shadowed. When he mentions that "darkness is on the rise" he steps back, and out of the light, so that the only light striking him is a few feeble glimmers from a hobo fire.
* Though the art style is very simplistic overall, many of the darkness scenes in ''Roleplay/NanQuest'' [[http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/src/127165561712.gif tend to invoke this style.]] In particular, the Anasazi Lounge scene is an example of this; [[http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/src/141620006540.gif everything is in very harsh shadow, with occasional stark highlights.]]
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' uses this several times in Volume 4, most notably in the episode "Family" when Qrow is meeting [[spoiler: Raven]] in the tavern. The former is surrounded by brighter, warmer yellow light from a furnace, while the latter is seated in dimmer, poorly-lit shadows, reflecting each individual's nature. Emphasizing the effect is Qrow's white and gray clothing, contrasting [[spoiler: Raven]]'s black and red.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsCloneWars:'' Anakin's knighting ceremony. A darkened chamber, with only the Jedi Council's lightsabers for illumination. Anakin and Asaji Ventress fight in a dark chamber at one point, with only the red and blue lightsabers lighting the room.
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'': a fight between Jack and a {{Ninja}}, cast in lighting so harsh that everywhere is either very bright or pitch black. The Ninja is invisible when it's in the darkness. Jack pulls out his own ninja trick, [[RuleOfCool becoming invisible in the light.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', as to be expected considering its inspiration from Frank Miller.
* In ''[[WesternAnimation/Thundercats2011 ThunderCats (2011)]]'', this is used in "The Duelist and the Drifter" while introducing the Duelist, and during the Drifter's NamelessNarrative. The figures are backlit, but their fronts (or their head and shoulders) are near-totally concealed in heavy shadow.
* ''Shakespeare: The Animated Tales'' made very effective use of chiaroscuro in its adaptation of ''Macbeth''. Characters fade in and out of the shadowy background as they enter and leave a scene.