View Full Version : Directional light and softening shadows

02 February 2011, 01:15 PM
I know that for the omni and spot lights in max I would just increase the values of the radius to get nice soft shadows. For target directional light, there is no radius option so I played around with the values of the hot beam and falloff, but the shadows still remain hard. I also increased the density under shadow parameters roll out, it didn't anything for me. How do you soften the shadows for the target directional light? I have direct light comin into the window, for a bright sunny day, it's ok to keep the shadows hard but I'm trying to create a cloudy scene and would like to soften the shadows.

02 February 2011, 02:10 PM
What renderer are you using?

If you're using Mental Ray, there's the daylight system.

02 February 2011, 02:35 PM
I would really like to continue using directional light because for some reason when I use daylight system, it washes out the colors of my scene. Is there no way to soften the shadows of target direct light in max?

02 February 2011, 02:46 PM
What type of shadows are you using in your light?

02 February 2011, 02:47 PM
I'm hoping you find a solution as I love linear lights in Maya as its easy to soften the shadows but I am the same as you in ax and cannot seem to find an easy way outside sun/sky systems for both mr and vray.

02 February 2011, 02:47 PM
I'm using ray traced shadows

02 February 2011, 03:00 PM
It's been a couple of years since I've actually used standard lights in Max, but as far as I recall you need to use area shadows to have any control over the blurring.

Like I said, I may be wrong, so apologies if this is no longer the case.

02 February 2011, 04:15 PM
I don't see any options for area shadows under the target directional light roll out :(
I know in maya, all you have to do is play with the values of the light angel to soften the shadows. Max doesn't have any option similar to this?

02 February 2011, 05:54 PM
Use the mrspot and mromni. These will give you area light attributes for shadows.


02 February 2011, 06:36 PM
I know what you mean about directional lights in mr not having area shadows.

I have been using a directional in Vray for a sun, and I am able to use area shadows with it, but I can not do the same in mr. I have been thinking about doing some tests in mr with a directional sun, and using a mr shadow shader to get area lights off of the directional light.

Basically, from what I can tell you are going to have to enable some of the hidden shaders, and then use a light/shadow shader to control the direct light. I am not sure what shaders will be best, or what kind of results you will get, but here is a proof of concept example using a Direct light in mr with a P_DirectTK Shader.

I know there are different shaders that will allow you to do this, but I just used what I currently had on my system to test this since I was thinking about it anyway. You will need to do some research on un-hiding hidden shader options in order to get the light shader option in the direct light roll out.

If you go this route I would appreciate knowing some of your findings on preferred shaders, and I am also warning that this route may create new sets of problems.

02 February 2011, 08:02 PM
Hey guys I decided to take a different route and just use spotlights. I got the desired results using these babies :thumbsup:

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