Lighting mode

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Desktop versionConsole versionMobile version
Desktop/Console/Mobile-Only Content: This information applies only to the Desktop, Console, and Mobile versions of Terraria.
Lighting mode Color.png
Lighting mode White.png
Lighting mode Trippy.png
Lighting mode Retro.png
The four different lighting modes. The green light in the colored modes is caused by the Cursed Torch placed on the left.

The lighting mode determines the way light from all sources renders in the world. The lighting mode can be changed from the settings menu. On the Desktop version Desktop version, it can also be cycled by pressing ⇧ Shift+F9 while in-game.

The lighting mode also dictates whether the game will utilize certain performance-intensive visual effects, like the smoothing of liquid flow, Desktop version along with the following shader effects:

The effects above will only be applied in the Color or White lighting modes, and are deactivated in the Retro and Trippy modes. On the Console version Console version and Mobile version Mobile version, these effects are controlled by a separate setting and are unaffected by the lighting mode.

The chosen lighting mode will have an effect on the performance of some devices. Refer to the table below for each mode's performance impact.


Mode Engine Performance
Color New / Color High
  • Determines light levels using pixel clusters that are smaller than tiles, which means that light transitions more smoothly.
  • Default option on the Desktop version Desktop version and Console version Console version.
Desktop version White New / White Mid–High
  • Same as Color, but all light is white, regardless of the color of the source.
Trippy Old / Color Medium
  • Light level is set per-tile, producing a more "blocky" or "pixelated" look.
  • Default option on the Mobile version Mobile version.
Desktop version Retro Old / White Low
  • Same as Trippy, but all light is white, regardless of the color of the source.
  • This mode reproduces Terraria's look from before its 1.1 update.


  • Light-producing animations become more active in the Retro and Trippy modes. Torches and other spark-releasing light sources produce sparks more actively. The same is true for the sparkle effect from Gold Chests and other sparkling items, as well as the bubbles released by Lava. This is most likely due to the difference in load.


  • Desktop Fixed an issue where blocks would not be visible at all in extremely dark locations in the Underworld with Trippy/Retro lighting.
  • Desktop Fixed an issue with black squares appearing on backgrounds when using Retro lighting.
  • Desktop 1.2.3:
    • Optimized lighting code for better performance.
    • Lighting no longer loads on servers, saving memory.
    • Fixed a bug where the Platinum Candle did not emit light in a non-Color lighting mode.
  • Desktop 1.1.1:
    • Lighting update will no longer skip as much on lower quality levels.
    • Fixed the shadow glitch of trippy lighting.
    • Lighting will now be set to Retro instead of crashing if Terraria is unable to switch to the new lighting mode.
  • Desktop 1.1: New lighting engine that allows smooth sub-tile light transitions instead of per-tile, and colored light instead of all-white light. Lighting options added.