Easy to do shadow catcher plane (Cycles)

Hi guys,

I’m a beginner and I finally figured out how to do this. I have not tested this method extensively, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in all situations.

I’m not sure if this exact method has been shown before, but I made a video tutorial on how to make a shadow plane / shadow only plane. Takes only a few minutes with only a few nodes.

Basically if you want to composite CG footage with a shadow onto live footage, this should help.

Link to youtube so you can see how I did this:

Really nice! Thank you

That’s pretty clever. Now if it’s possible to do something similar with reflections…

Hi mrd,

Did some tests with that shadow catcher problem too… Maybe you have an idea how to do shadowcatcher things with meshlights in the scene?! Would be cool to have an solution for that.

Piet, I’m not sure what you mean. You did tests the way I showed and it had a problem?

Mesh lights meaning objects as emitters?

Mr D

Cycles’ shadow pass currently does not register shadows from environment lighting (e. g. HDRIs) and mesh lights (aka lumigons) - this is a rather severe limitation any compositing-based shadow catcher solution has to live with at the moment.

Very nice tutorial , the most easy one so far. But there are one problem with this method.
I did setup everything exactly as you did, but if a instead of using color (green) use an image, the image show up on the plane but not everywhere else. I have attached my scene. So if you or somebode would take a look to see if I did something wrong i would be very happy.


ShadowCatcher2.blend (902 KB)

You didn’t connect that correctly:

Never min , I found out why it was not working, he did a small mistake with the color mix mode, that he later on corrected, I missed that one :slight_smile: So now ladies and gentlemen we have a working “shadow catcher” in Blender Cycles. Thank you sooo much to you mrd777
and you are a beginner? some similar method have been shown before yes, but not as easy as this one. You are a genius

Thank you so much Ikari, yes I did notice that when I played the video again.

I tought I would show you my finished result using mrd777’s method

Yes, I’m a beginner, but I got lucky and some how figured this out. I found some other stuff “similar” to what I was trying, but not queite exact. I played around for a few hours and viola. Lucky me eh?

Good job!! Thanks

Good stuff - thanks for posting. I’ve looked at many different tutorials and this is the most simplest of all. Well done.

I had product visualization job and client asked for images with transparent background and shadows. I had few mesh lights and HDRI so shadowpass didn’t helped me a lot. Here’s how I did it. My approach is based on user Negativa setup.

Hope it helps.


and what do we have to enter at the 4 renderlayers settings to get those images?

Here is a quick video.