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Bruce Kieffer

Softer Soft Shadows

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Soft shadows cannot be controlled on a directional light the way you want. If you want a softer shadow with directionality try using a 3D polygon with a Glow shader (using Indirect Lighting to see the glow). A glowing 3D polygon behaves like an area light but in general they work better/more reliably than area lights. Note that you can drive their brightness above 100% if you need them to be really bright.

The HDRIs posted by rDesign are essentially the same thing as glowing polygons arranged around the model, so that might be a good start.

Edited by Dave Donley

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...Now back to my previous question... Is there a way to get my VW2011 file to render and look like it did in my VW2010 file?

As I said, art is my goal, not realistic rendering. I want full control of where the shadows fall, how they appear, and I want a way to add and control highlights using a directional light...

I don't think that there is. The rendering engines in RW2010 and RW2011 are completely different animals. If you want renders to match those done in RW2010 I suspect that you'll have to render them in RW2010.

I would like to note that your suggestion that RW2010 gave you full control over the look of your shadows is really incorrect. You had two choices, hard and soft just as you do in RW2011. You just liked the soft shadows in RW2010 better (and I completely understand that.) In my work, I never used the shadow mapped shadows so I don't miss them and I'd much rather have the ability to do quick HDRI and multi-bounce, interior renders than faux soft shadows.

Sorry that the move to VW2011 has left you wanting.

My use of directional lights allows me to determine where the shadows will fall. Can that be done with HDRI backgrounds?

You can rotate the HDRI background to affect the azimuth but not the altitude.

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Soft shadows cannot be controlled on a directional light the way you want. If you want a softer shadow with directionality try using a 3D polygon with a Glow shader (using Indirect Lighting to see the glow). A glowing 3D polygon behaves like an area light but in general they work better/more reliably than area lights. Note that you can drive their brightness above 100% if you need them to be really bright.

The HDRIs posted by rDesign are essentially the same thing as glowing polygons arranged around the model, so that might be a good start.

Dave, Can you post an example of this technique? I'd really like to see what you're talking about.

Thanks.

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... Is there a way to get my VW2011 file to render and look like it did in my VW2010 file...

Then again, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you can get the soft shadows you want in RW2011.

Create an area light with soft shadows turned on and move it far from the object being lit (light you would in a lighting studio,) turn off your main light, leave the fill light on, and render with bounced lighting off.

See attached image for results and attached vwx file for area light. If you simply copy from the area_light.vwx file and paste in place, you should be able to exactly duplicate my results.

Not sure if my results are exactly what you're after but I think that you can adjust the amount of fuzz by changing the distance to and size of area light.

One thing to note, the area light render took MUCH longer than my previous HDRI render.

Good luck, Bruce.

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Then again, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you can get the soft shadows you want in RW2011.

Bill, that is beautiful! I need to mess with that technique too.

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I would like to note that your suggestion that RW2010 gave you full control over the look of your shadows is really incorrect. You had two choices, hard and soft just as you do in RW2011. You just liked the soft shadows in RW2010 better (and I completely understand that.) In my work, I never used the shadow mapped shadows so I don't miss them and I'd much rather have the ability to do quick HDRI and multi-bounce, interior renders than faux soft shadows.

I'm suggesting that in a future version of RW we get full control over shadow softness and light reflectivity. Level sliders is what I'm thinking. Photoshop offers a simple method to "fuzz out" a drop shadow.

Edited by Bruce Kieffer

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Glad that you like the results. I too would love more control over shadows and highlights but I'm not going to hold my breath. I suspect that it is a bit more complicated than the Photoshop tool.

Good luck with your render.

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