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Make object semi-transparent for lights (to get softer shadows) but fully opaque for camera

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Xavier Bonet
Make object semi-transparent for lights (to get softer shadows) but fully opaque for camera
on Apr 21, 2018 at 7:35:39 pm
Last Edited By Xavier Bonet on Apr 21, 2018 at 8:48:45 pm

I'm making marshmallow-like clouds, so I need them to be 100% opaque to the camera, but I'm wondering if there's a way of having them be semi-transparent only to the lights in my scene. It would be perfect if I could get really soft shadows from the clouds onto other objects (and each other), as if some light was somewhat coming through them, but still have them be rendered completely opaque. I don't know if it's possible... I know the Compositing Tag and light Exclusions could allow me to get rid of the shadows completely; but is there a way going only half way?

Thanks a lot for your input!


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Steve Bentley
Re: Make object semi-transparent for lights (to get softer shadows) but fully opaque for camera
on Apr 22, 2018 at 4:26:09 pm

Usually I will add another light with no shadows (duplicate the shadow light, turn off the shadows and leave it in the exact same spot) and then make both lights half the original intensity. The clouds stay opaque, but now the light from one of the lights passes through the clouds as if they aren't there. You can also set which objects are "seen" by which lights in the "assigned" tab of each light.
Finally you can reduce the impact of the shadow in the shadow tab and bring the intensity down to 50% or less.



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Xavier Bonet
Re: Make object semi-transparent for lights (to get softer shadows) but fully opaque for camera
on Apr 25, 2018 at 12:51:20 am

This is a great fix, Steve! Thanks for the info. I do believe it'll solve my problems!


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