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Fine-tuning ray-trace shadows

From: Blender 2.6 Essential Training

Video: Fine-tuning ray-trace shadows

In the real world, lights actually cast shadows, areas where light is blocked. Now in a 3D program you can turn shadows on and off, and we have multiple types of shadows. So let's take a look at ray-trace shadows in Blender. Now I have this basic scene setup, which is our point light shining on a cup and a saucer, and let's just do a quick render of that scene. So as you can see, we get shading on the side of the cup, but the scene doesn't look realistic because there is no shadow. And we can add that in very simply.

Fine-tuning ray-trace shadows

In the real world, lights actually cast shadows, areas where light is blocked. Now in a 3D program you can turn shadows on and off, and we have multiple types of shadows. So let's take a look at ray-trace shadows in Blender. Now I have this basic scene setup, which is our point light shining on a cup and a saucer, and let's just do a quick render of that scene. So as you can see, we get shading on the side of the cup, but the scene doesn't look realistic because there is no shadow. And we can add that in very simply.

Now this is a point light so we have an option for no shadow or ray-traced shadows. Let's go ahead and turn this on, but when you turn on shadows, you do need to make sure they are turned on in renderer as well. So I am going to introduce you to this panel here, which looks like a little camera, and that's our Render panel. And if we scroll down here, you'll see under Shading, we have a number of options. One is, do we want to see textures, another is, do we want to see ray tracing, and that's things like the reflections in the table? And because we're using ray- trace shadows, we need to make sure that this is turned on, and obviously we also need to make sure that these Shadows option is turned on as well.

So once we have Ray Tracing and Shadows turned on, we can go ahead and do a quick render. Now notice as soon as we turn on Shadows, the render time goes down just a little bit, and that's because shadows do take time to render. But we do have a very defined shadow here. Now, it's pretty black, and it's kind of hard edged, but we can change that as well. But we are getting shadows in the scene. Now if you don't want actual black shadows, there are a number of ways to get rid of them.

One is to add more ambient light in the scene, but another easy way is just to change the color of the shadow, and this color picker allows you to do that. So I am going to go ahead and just change the color of the shadow to a dark gray, instead of black, and let's just do a quick render. So as you can see, even a dark-gray shadow adds a little bit more realism. We can actually see into the shadows. They are not completely black and opaque. We can actually see what's beyond that shadow.

So that actually adds a little bit of realism. If we want to, we don't have to have just gray shadows; we can certainly make them a different color. So if I wanted to make a dark blue shadow, I could do that as well. Now in this scene, a dark blue shadow might not be the exact thing we want, but if we had something that was semi-transparent or something like that, that might work very well. So I am going to go ahead and make sure I turn off my saturation here and just make it into a dark shadow. Now this shadow that we have is very hard edged.

You can see here, we have got here a very crisp edge, that shadow, and sometimes we want that, but there are times where we don't want a hard-edged shadow; we want something as a little bit fuzzier. We can change that under the Sampling option. One is the number of samples. So when we ray-trace we fire rays of light towards the object and that will give us our shadows. So with only one ray, we are going to get that sharp edge. So what we need to do is bring this up.

So I am going to bring it up to 8. But we also need to affect this value here for Soft, and so we want to bring that up a bit. So let's bring it up to about 1.5 or so. And now with 8 samples and a Soft value of 1.5, you will see that we are actually going to get a softer edge on this shadow. So one thing you'll notice is that with more samples you have longer render times, so you have to kind of balance quality against the number of samples.

In this case, I'm looking at the shadow and it's a little modeled. It's not quite smooth enough. So I'm going to actually bring up my samples to say 16, which again will increase my render time, but it should give me a more accurate result. So with 16 samples you see you get a much softer edge with a little less graininess. So higher samples increase render time but also increase the quality of the soft shadows.

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Blender 2.6 Essential Training

94 video lessons · 22775 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
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  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 22s
    2. Using the exercise files
      28s
    3. Downloading Blender
      34s
    4. Notes on Blender 2.7 NEW
      2m 8s
    5. Using Blender on a Mac
      42s
    6. Using Blender on a laptop
      36s
  2. 30m 32s
    1. Overview of the Blender interface
      6m 6s
    2. Understanding 3D view windows
      5m 23s
    3. Navigating in 3D space
      6m 35s
    4. Configuring user preferences
      6m 24s
    5. Creating custom layouts
      6m 4s
  3. 32m 29s
    1. Selecting objects
      6m 12s
    2. Moving objects
      4m 35s
    3. Rotating objects
      2m 48s
    4. Scaling objects
      2m 16s
    5. Understanding transform orientation
      3m 53s
    6. Changing an object's origin
      5m 27s
    7. Selecting pivot points
      3m 22s
    8. Using Snap to move objects precisely
      3m 56s
  4. 49m 18s
    1. Creating mesh primitives
      6m 36s
    2. Selecting vertices, edges, and faces
      4m 48s
    3. Editing mesh objects
      7m 39s
    4. Proportional editing
      3m 52s
    5. Sculpt mode (Updated for 3.7) NEW
      5m 3s
    6. Sculpt mode
      4m 45s
    7. Working with edges and edge loops
      3m 42s
    8. Extrusions
      5m 18s
    9. Smooth shading objects
      2m 23s
    10. Subdividing meshes
      5m 12s
  5. 50m 31s
    1. Working with modifiers
      5m 52s
    2. Working with subdivision surfaces
      3m 48s
    3. Creating a simple creature
      7m 54s
    4. Symmetrical modeling with the Mirror modifier
      8m 21s
    5. Joining mesh objects
      3m 37s
    6. Stitching vertices
      4m 52s
    7. Finalizing a simple creature
      4m 48s
    8. Creating text
      3m 29s
    9. Boolean tools
      2m 59s
    10. Vertex groups
      4m 51s
  6. 22m 36s
    1. Using the Outliner
      8m 22s
    2. Using layers
      4m 30s
    3. Creating groups
      2m 48s
    4. Working with scenes
      4m 2s
    5. Creating hierarchies
      2m 54s
  7. 54m 26s
    1. Assigning materials to objects
      8m 4s
    2. Diffuse shaders
      6m 47s
    3. Working with specularity
      5m 56s
    4. Using the Ramp Shader options
      9m 45s
    5. Additional shading options
      2m 37s
    6. Creating reflections
      8m 29s
    7. Adding transparency and refractions
      6m 49s
    8. Subsurface scattering
      5m 59s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Adding a simple texture
      6m 11s
    2. Using bitmaps
      6m 53s
    3. Mapping textures in the UV Editor (Updated for 3.7) NEW
      7m 43s
    4. Mapping textures in the UV Editor
      8m 28s
    5. Using UV projections
      5m 56s
    6. UV mapping a character (Updated for 3.7) NEW
      6m 35s
    7. UV mapping a character
      6m 11s
    8. Fine-tuning UV mapping
      6m 7s
    9. Creating Bump and Normal maps
      3m 15s
    10. Displacement mapping
      3m 48s
    11. Using the Node Editor
      4m 59s
  9. 53m 9s
    1. Adding lamps to a scene
      8m 44s
    2. Fine-tuning ray-trace shadows
      4m 32s
    3. Using spot lamps
      4m 20s
    4. Fine-tuning buffer shadows
      6m 19s
    5. Using Hemi lamps
      2m 32s
    6. Working with Area lamps
      5m 17s
    7. Creating sky and ambient light
      4m 49s
    8. Adding background images
      3m 19s
    9. Creating sunlight
      6m 6s
    10. Ambient occlusion
      7m 11s
  10. 30m 8s
    1. Working with cameras
      4m 47s
    2. Creating camera targets with constraints
      3m 43s
    3. Render properties
      5m 7s
    4. Rendering animation
      5m 13s
    5. Adding motion blur
      4m 10s
    6. Creating depth of field
      7m 8s
  11. 32m 30s
    1. Understanding the Timeline
      4m 3s
    2. Animating objects
      6m 26s
    3. Animating properties
      4m 0s
    4. Editing animation in the Graph Editor
      8m 36s
    5. Using the Dope Sheet
      4m 53s
    6. Path animation
      4m 32s
  12. 39m 59s
    1. Facial animation using shape keys
      4m 40s
    2. Understanding armatures
      6m 2s
    3. Fitting an armature to a creature
      7m 23s
    4. Deforming a character with an armature
      3m 49s
    5. Setting up inverse kinematics
      3m 53s
    6. Controlling the hips and body
      2m 1s
    7. Animating in Pose mode
      2m 47s
    8. Creating a test animation
      9m 24s
  13. 15s
    1. Goodbye
      15s

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