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Instruments casting own shadow

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Hello, I'm having some issues with my light instruments not rendering. The problem seems to be that the instruments are casting a shadow on the emitter and "blocking" the light from showing.


I did some searching around other topics but nothing seems to be working. I have ensured that my "Default Instrument Texture" is set to not cast shadows, and I tried building a new texture that also doesn't cast shadows and applying it to the spotlight instruments. 


If I uncheck "cast shadows" the light renders normally. Obviously this leads to the light also not casting shadows on objects from objects being lit...


I tried applying "Default Instrument Texture" to other object as well and they continue to cast shadows.


This is happening in OpenGL with shadows enabled and also in custom Renderworks with shadows enabled.


Any help would be appreciated

Edited by murphyj94

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It does. Custom, Fast, and Final Quality. I also tried a couple of the other default RenderWorks styles, i.e. Preview Exterior and Realistic Exterior Fast, along with various "Render Styles" that I've built.

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1 hour ago, murphyj94 said:

If I uncheck "cast shadows" the light renders normally. Obviously this leads to the light also not casting shadows on objects from objects being lit...


Can you include the file and I could take a look? Seems topsy-turvy.


What you also seem to be finding is that instruments themselves don't cast their own shadow? This is a limitation with the design of the instrument object (IMO) as one of the really useful uses of pre-rendering is to check that instruments don't obstruct shots from other fixtures.



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Hi guys thanks for the help! I updated to the newest service package and the problem seems to be solved. I'm not sure what was going on though.


For future reference though, is it possible to relocate where the Light is within a Lighting Device? It seems as if, if this were a problem again, the light could just be moved to the front of the fixture, although that might give an odd beam.


Thanks again!

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The spotlight instrument places the emitter at the 3d locus which typically is at the rotation point of the instrument "body" part of the symbol. If no locus is present, then I believe it emits light from the 0,0,0 origin instead. By design, the instrument blocks the emitter with it's own texture when using OpenGL rendering. As I understand it, OpenGL is not configured to understand textures that don't cast shadows (yet).


In order to pre-visualise beam and shutter shadows, VW has built in the wireframe "show beam" function. This can be rather inaccurate, particularly when you compare the wireframe model to the actual rendered beam. It is very inaccurate when working with shutters. There are three workarounds that I have found:

  • Firstly create a "dummy" fixture that has no geometry in front of the locus pivot point and visualise beams and shutters using that, when you are happy with the results, then just replace the dummy symbol with the instrument you actually intend to use. (You need to turn on shadows in OpenGL preferences)
  • Secondly, put the fixture geometry that is forward of the locus point into a class of its own (say Light-Lens tube) and turn it off for test rendering.
  • Thirdly, download Josh Benghiat's Beam Draw plugin. This is a clever tool that is clearly born out of the frustration you are experiencing with using VW Spotlight.


Vectorworks seem to be focussing their Spotlight development on Vision at the moment. This is a shame as Vision does not have the capabilities yet to render as beautifully as VW Renderworks can. The Spotlight Instrument PIO sorely needs some refinement. The ability to render shutters in OpenGL as well as the capability to "frost" a shuttered beam are right at the top of my Wishlist. 


Hope that helps!

Edited by markdd

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