2.81 crappy Eevee shadow quality



Do I need to update some setting or what is going on here?

EDIT: So apparently “high bitdepth” and “soft shadows” wasn’t on when I opened the file in 2.81 and when I enabled them, and then maxed the shadow settings, Blender hard crashed…

That’s caused by the shadow map refactor. https://developer.blender.org/D5659

You have to turn on “Soft Shadows” under the shadow tab in Eevee settings.
The new shadows are more accurate and look more like the ones in cylces.

But I hope basic soft shadows will come back one day, because this way it’s necessary to sample the shadow and makes eevee less “realtime”.

Eevee shadows system changed in 2.81.
You play with Shadows settings in Render tab, Cascade Size for Sun lamp, Cube Size for Point and Area lamps. New system requires Soft Shadows enabled, therefore you must adjust Sampling settings in the Render tab according to the desired result.
Also for Sun lamp in Lamp/Lights settings tab you play with Cascaded Shadow map values (for example starting the test with a Max Distance value not too high).

See also here more info in the wiki.

What is the use case for not using soft shadows, I wonder?

(And more importantly, is it more common to NOT use soft shadows, or why isn’t that option always enabled?)

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Toon shaders are a common use case for not having soft shadows. These changes to shadows have greatly disrupted the toon npr workflow for many people.

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Thanks, that makes sense.

However, since the entire rest of the rendering setup options in Blender seems to be geared towards PBR, I don’t understand why the shadow option default to a non-PBR settings…

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Because it’s faster?

Probably the answer is “yes.” EEVEE should first be fast, until your particular situation calls for it to be slower.

In my workflow, for example, I’m not “previsualizing” because I can’t draw. Instead, I’m shooting film, using trapezoid props and cylinder actors, and I want those results now. Later – much later – things like shadows will become important, but not now. And they might never be important for some jobs, like cartoons. So, let the options be there, ready for you to choose to turn them on.

Blender has adaptive detail, so regardless, during animation or camera movement, it’s only ever 1 sample per frame, which is fast. It’s only when there’s no activity that the rest of the samples render out.