It is dimmer. You have to layer the paint in the bright areas and/or do some selective white painting on the clear light distributor behind the overlays. Mine is uneven also, though not as bad as it was when I first did it. I need the red for my night vision so the slight uneveness doesn't bother me as long as I get the color.
The original overlays have "gray" coatings silkscreenen on to dim the light in the "hot spots" -- you can achieve the same effect but it takes some time and patience -- which I apparently don't have, lol.