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Shadows are an essential part of lighting. But we have to make some judgment calls over what is acceptable in our shadows. Casting and calculating real time shadows is enormously, computationally intensive. And so we need to be very careful about what lights cast shadows and what kind of shadows they are. Right now, the only shadows I have are those from the sun coming into the space, and actually shadowing off the roof and inside this building. I'll look at my sun first and adjust the shadow quality. And then I'll see if there's any other lights I can put shadows on.
I'll select my sun. Scrolling down in the hierarchy and picking the sun. And right now it's set to soft shadows with the default quality settings. I'll zoom in over by the balcony and take a look at how these lights are behaving. Soft shadows are the ideal. They spread out as natural light does and have the appearance of the light diffusing and light bouncing into the shadow correctly. They're computationally fairly expensive, and so we want to use them very carefully. We have hard shadows as well, and the difference is that hard shadows are, as the name suggests, hard.
They are as crisp as possible, given the quality settings from the start of the shadow, all the way out. And it's really a judgement call in the look we want versus a physically correct shadow, one way or another. We may want the game to be very hard edged and our shadows to be very crisp, in this case, throwing in sharp relief the pattern from the window mullions onto the floor. For this game, though, I want it to be softer and warmer. So I'll choose soft shadows and let those shadows fuzz out. It's using shadow map or depth map shadows, where it's approximating the spread and fuzz of a natural shadow by calculating that shadow in RAM and then projecting it forward.
For our shadows then we can choose in here different quality settings and we want to balance the quality we're using versus the computational hit. Very high resolution shadows look terrific but are more overhead to think through and may slow down the game. I'm going to leave my sun at high resolution but then I'll play with the softness and softness fade. Within our soft shadows then, softness at zero gives us a very crisp shadow. Softness all the way up fuzzes that shadow out completely. I'll put this down about, oh, two and a half or so, so it's got a little spread to it without being excessively fuzzy.
The softness fade then, is the edge of that shadow, how diffuse it is, or how crisp. Again, pulling softness fade all the way back results in a crisp but aliased shadow. I'll pull mine up in the one and a half, almost two range. And finally there's bias, bias relates to the shadow map. And what that does is it says, if that shadow is bleeding around the front of the object because it's approximating the fuzz of the shadow, push it forward. I'm going to leave the bias alone, but I'll crank it up temporarily, just to show what it looks like when you adjust it.
I'll zoom in on the window frame. And right now it looks roughly so like those shadows are coming from the frame. We are getting a bit of an artifact right here around the base. Where there's a little bit of a spread in the shadow, pulling that bias around may push that shadow out too much, but it may avoid a shadow bleed around the front of those objects. Pulling bias down to zero then, may wrap the shadow around the front to that window frame, and so a little bit of bias in here, 0.05, 0.07, is just enough to push that shadow forward.
In this case, even 0.07 is too much. I'll pull that back down and it looks about as good as I'm going to get. The shadow strength finally, is the opacity of our shadow. By default at one, they're very hard and very black. I'm going to pull this back, and what I'm doing here with the shadow, in addition to just simply lowering the strength value, is simulating the bounce of light into the shadow from adjacent objects. Light bounces in the world. And when light bounces off objects into shadows, the shadows appear lighter.
And so we can use our shadow strength to soften the rendering, so we don't have heavy black shadows. We have darker shadows plus the color of the material they're over. And we can get a good adjustment in here. I'll click Play and see how this looks and run around the scene a bit. My shadow quality is looking decent. I've got a little bit of dottiness going on, but it's not terrible. I can live with it and I'm planning to blur this later. I also haven't increased my quality setting, so I'm still seeing some aliasing. some better anti-aliasing, a little glow, color correction, and depth of field in the image effects will help smooth this out.
The shadows look pretty good, and inside my scene is holding up nicely. I've got decent light overall, some light spot in the ceiling here and there. And, decent light in the volumes. What I may end up wanting to do, as a side note on this, is take that ceiling and put it on its own layer and use a different light to aim up and light up just the ceiling, leaving the point lights free to just hit the walls in building interior a. For now though, I like how my gallery is going. I've got good value in the lighting and I can definitely see the can lights and I feel like they're contributing to the light.
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