Darken/Stronger Cycles Shadows ?

I’m using cycles new render engine and I can’t seem to find how I can make my shadows look more dark/stronger .
I tried using a shadow pass in the compositor with a add/mix node but my shadow pass seems to have some odd square shadows appearing which don’t appear in the image pass.

Not possible to make my shadows more darker ?.

Well there’s only one person on the whole world who knows what your scene looks like, what materials, what lights and what the compositor setup is like, but they’re not letting on.

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Rather simple, my shadow is barely visible, I just want to be able to darken it more so that I can see it better.

One way would be through compositing, enable all of the passes needed and combine them together. This will allow you, for one thing, to weaken the indirect lighting so that there’s more contrast between it and the direct lighting.

I hope this is more helpful for everyone to know were I am stuck.

Below is my model in Blender Internal Render, It was looking nice but I decided that It’s time I started to use Cycles more. In this image you can clearly see the shadows which is what I want, I want to pull of the same render In cycles.

Now here is the current render I have in cycles below.

As you can see I’m not quite matching the Blender internal render from above, instead my cycles render is more white and the shadows are far lighter making it hard to see the shadows.
For now I really want to get them shadows to be more visible and get closer to matching the Blender Internal render.

Now I tried some composting but it comes with a few issues.
The image below is my attempt to make the shadows more dark aka visible.
As you can see there is a strange square shadow on the front of the model pointed out with the red arrow, and the color of the image is too bright.


Your background is also illuminating your model, thus you have lighting in the darker parts, change your background color to a darker color and you will get stronger shadows. Also your Material is very bright, so you get lots of bounced lighting inside the ship.

Didn’t seem to change the shadows when I darken the background(very dark blue close to black).
My material is only .507 it’s not really bright at all, the hex code for the color is BDBDBD.
I also have the bounces max set to 4.

Try increasing the shadow_soft_size of the Sun lamp under the data context. I know it sounds weird, but you can soften and darken shadows by sizing lights. I set the Sun lamp to a size of 200 and shadow darkness increased without any compositing required.

Mmmmm I’m not using a sun lamp, I have been using a Hemi lamp.
Any how I changed it from Hemi to a Sun lamp , in order to get the shadows to show I had to lower the number very low.
Now I’m unsure which setting you are talking about so I print screen the settings and posted below so you can see if I have it set right or wrong ;).

Seems I have a few other issues as well, maybe some one can help me with.
My alpha pass is showing just pure color white, this may be needed later on.
My z-depth is looking like a alpha map, but I have not tried to fix that yet.
Shadow pass shows a odd square shadows.

I best note that I also have the key,spot and back lights in the scene which are planes with emission materials.
Also Ambient Occlusion is turned off.
The background has 0 strength now and color black as well.
No composting is now in use, I removed it and returned it to default.

Latest Render attached as well below, using the advice from atom with sun lamp.

Bake the AO in Blender internal. To darken shadows multiply it to the diffuse. To lighten, invert the bake and multiply to the diffuse. The more times you multiply it, the more it will darken or lighten.

I have not gotten around to unwrapping my model yet as its still heavy work in progress, I know I should get in to the habit of unwrapping it while I move along modeling.
So I still took your advice but instead of baking it in Blender Internal as textures I used the node editor and composted the AO pass with multiply, it makes everything look much more defined thank you, later on ill do it with baked textures.
I still would like to darken the front shadows were you can see the upside down U shapes, but maybe that will be a job for Photoshop/Gimp later on.

Can anyone help me solve my square shadow issue in the shadow pass, I have uploaded a image and circled the issue in red.
Also my alpha pass is pure white(the whole render/pass is white) which I may use alpha later on down the line.

New images attached contains my newest render, the shadow issue and my composite please ignor the rgb node and I use split viewer as it allows me to see the differences when backdrop is turned on with a drag-able bar

That’s a tough one. I’ll toss out my first few thoughts. 1.) Check the model scale and make sure it’s appropriate. Easy way to do this is toss in a standard cube and make sure it’s comparable or check the world tab for dimensions. 2.) Make sure there’s no hidden objects somewhere. They shouldn’t influence anything if they are set to not render, but you never know. 3.) Check for duplicate vertices/faces and recalculate normals (I doubt that’s it tho, but an easy check). 4.) Double check there are no modifiers set on the mesh that are not set to the viewport but set to render, this one gets me lots.

Tried the above and still same issue.
Done a test by creating a ball (smooth subdivided cube) and the same issue on on that as well.
The ball has no modifiers, no double faces, no hidden objects or mesh parts in scene on any layers,default scale seems ok,no duplicate faces, all normals face outwards.
Tried turning shadows of my lights and sady did not fix issue, but It did remove a shadow from a test water mesh.

Image attached.

Can you upload a .blend with just the ball and your settings?

Here is the file, all objects removed expect the lighting,ball and camera.
I set the nodes in above window so when you press f12 to render the bottom right window will show the shadow pass, the above window will show the split viewer placed on the ball between the render and shadow pass.
Please allow it to finish the render in order for the shadow pass to be composted to see the issue.

Well, I’m not sure what the “real setting” is for cycles, but it’s being caused by the offset of the newly bounced rays being too large. I don’t see a setting for that, but can get a similar effect by using the Gaussian filter. Render Tab -> Film -> Filter Width to the lowest setting (or highest), they’re both still less than good.

The other thing to do is to add more geometry with a subsurf. Unbiased ray tracers will tend to make black artifacts from the soft face out to what would be the hard face (the delta as seen by the camera). The only way I have found to 100% combat this is increase geometry to reduce the delta between the soft and hard face. If you could adjust the offset of the newly bounced rays, that would also adjust them relatively to the delta helping.

Some one else might know better if that setting exists or not.

Similar to this (mine from long long ago):

The problem is that I’m trying to keep my polycount low, hoping to keep my model around 15,000 polygons, at the moment I have 4000 polygons(still optimizing topology), I want it easy to unwrap when I’m ready and maybe export a download-able model for game engines.

I’m not too advance in the rendering area, still in my trail and error stages .
Much I don’t yet understand ;).

Are you trying to be @ 15,000 for working or at render time? Otherwise, if you add a subsurf modifier it will increase your geometry at render but not while working (i.e. wrapping later is not an issue), just don’t apply the modifier. Only exception is if you use reinforcing loops for sharp edges, vs. edge crease / edge split, then you will be adding geometry, but usually necessary geometry.

It’s called the “terminator error” and it exists in EVERY path tracer that doesn’t use a rasterization hack to get around it. Path tracers are not well-suited to low poly work, which is almost never an issue because they handle large poly scenes very well.