View Full Version : Directional light and softening shadows

02-13-2011, 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.

02-13-2011, 02:10 PM
What renderer are you using?

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

02-13-2011, 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?

02-13-2011, 02:46 PM
What type of shadows are you using in your light?

02-13-2011, 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.

02-13-2011, 02:47 PM
I'm using ray traced shadows

02-13-2011, 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.

02-13-2011, 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?

02-13-2011, 05:54 PM
Use the mrspot and mromni. These will give you area light attributes for shadows.


02-13-2011, 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.

02-13-2011, 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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