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Controlling shadows in Cycles

From: Rendering Using Cycles in Blender

Video: Controlling shadows in Cycles

Now when you start using lights you'll also want to be able to control the shadows that those lights create. It's actually a pretty simple process. The size of the light will determine the quality of the shadow. So here I have a Spot light, which I've put into the scene. You can see I have a very, very sharp shadow underneath this bowl. Now here we have an option to Cast the Shadow.

Controlling shadows in Cycles

Now when you start using lights you'll also want to be able to control the shadows that those lights create. It's actually a pretty simple process. The size of the light will determine the quality of the shadow. So here I have a Spot light, which I've put into the scene. You can see I have a very, very sharp shadow underneath this bowl. Now here we have an option to Cast the Shadow.

If I want I can turn off the Shadow or I can turn it on. The Size of the light will determine the shadow. Now remember, this is a Surface that emits light. When the Surface is 0 Size that means it's a Point light, and the shadow will be very sharp. As I increase the Size of the light-- let's go ahead and increase this to about 5--you can see how the shadow starts to get a little bit softer along the edge.

And as I bring this up bigger and bigger, you can see how this really starts to affect the way that that shadow works. So let's see how this works on other types of lights. So let's go ahead to the Point light here. And again, very similar as it gets to 0, you get a sharper shadow. Now the Sun, in and of of itself, can have a size. So as I bring up the Size of the shadow, you can see how it fades out almost immediately.

When it's at 0, it's sharp, but by the time it gets to 1, it's almost completely evaporated that shadow. So remember, the Sun has no fall-off, so as that Size increases, it magnifies the softness of that shadow. The last light I want to take a look at is the Area light, and again, I'm going to turn up my Strength a little bit here. The size of the light will affect the quality of the shadow and you can actually see that in this Area light.

So in some ways the Area light and the Point light are almost the same, except for the fact that the Area light does have a little bit more of a direction. So those are some of the basic lights and how to control the shadows. Now just remember, you can turn shadows on and off per light, and the Size of the light generally affects the size and the softness of the shadow.

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Rendering Using Cycles in Blender

26 video lessons · 4363 viewers

George Maestri
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