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Pre-Comps casting shadows on each other but not on background!

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Prabhjot Nijjar
Pre-Comps casting shadows on each other but not on background!
on May 25, 2020 at 2:22:17 am

Hey everyone,

I'm kinda new to after effects, have done a few projects. But am fairly new to 3D and spot light stuff. I'm doing these end credits for a short film. They will eventually (hopefully) look like a corkboard with the main cast, director, producer, and writer each having their own post it note with their name and a picture as if it were taped to the corkboard. I did a test run and put all the sticky notes, tape pngs, and pictures into the main comp and made them 3D and put a spot light on just to see how it looked. The shadows were being cast nicely and everything but I thought it looked a bit messy. So, I decided to make a new project import everything in an orderly way. I ended up making pre-comps for all my sticky notes and pictures for each person (I have 10 pre-comps altogether). I made one more pre-comp for my background (I had to tile it for it to look better). Finally, when I had all my pieces in, I put a spotlight on (like I had tested before), I made the pre-comps 3D with all the proper settings (cast shadows: on, accepts shadows: on, accept light: on).

My problem is that the objects (sticky notes, pictures) would cast shadows on each other but wouldn't do it on the background. I don't know what I did wrong. But I tried different backgrounds and solids and nothings works. I've attached some screenshots below. (The poloroid png already had a slight black outline at the bottom, that is not a shadow being cast).

Thank you!! Sorry for the long post









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Eric Santiago
Re: Pre-Comps casting shadows on each other but not on background!
on May 25, 2020 at 12:10:27 pm

Is the cork bg a vector precomped?
Test by using this means like a spotlight and a new layer.


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Prabhjot Nijjar
Re: Pre-Comps casting shadows on each other but not on background!
on May 31, 2020 at 12:18:14 am

Yes it's a vector! I pre-comped it bc i had to tile it to make it larger. I ended up going back and doing this in Illustrator and bringing it back into After Effects to not lose resolution which I was having an issue with also - haven't brought it back yet though.


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Richard Garabedain
Re: Pre-Comps casting shadows on each other but not on background!
on May 26, 2020 at 4:14:46 pm

the layers might be too close together...in fact i dont see any shadows being casted...i just see the drop shadow effect


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Prabhjot Nijjar
Re: Pre-Comps casting shadows on each other but not on background!
on May 31, 2020 at 12:19:32 am

I played with Z space and they are far apart. There is a slight shadow on the right and bottom of the sticky note, but the shadow is just showing up on the polaroid.


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Theo Buchinskas
Re: Pre-Comps casting shadows on each other but not on background!
on May 31, 2020 at 1:08:49 am

You might want to try toggling "collapse transformations" and then make sure your sub-comps the items are 3D. That can cause issues with transparency and therefore lights and shadows.


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