I need help with this one:
To reduce render time on a movie, I wanted to bake all the soft shadows etc onto the backgrounds, and only render these onto the characters in real time. Probably using a compositing process to combine the background and the characters.
This gives me two problems:
Can I still have the character throw shadows on the background/floor? If so, I suspect by compositing again, how? The baked version has to be set shadeless, so it doesn’t take shadows directly.
If I need the lighting intensity to fluctuate as part of the scene, (not the location, just the intensity, as it is a flickering lamplight) is this something I can do by varying the textures in sync with the light levels?
My current thinking is to a) render the background in detail. b) render the characters as throwing shadows only, onto a simple version of the set, tracking a small spot onto the character, so that only that part of the scene is lit, and thus reducing render time, using a ‘shadow’ light. c) rendering the characters alone with no set to get the lighting on them, again only lighting the characters, rather than large areas, to reduce render time, then compositing the three things together. Is there an easier way?
Using 2.49 by the way, as I really don’t think 2.5 is ready for production work yet, - especially as it crashes regularly on my machine.