How can I get a stronger shadow effect?

Hi all,

Any tips or suggestions for how I can get a much stronger shadow effect in this simple volumetric setup? Eevee or Cycles is fine. Maybe it’s a post processing thing? I want really distinct shadow ‘rays’ coming off the sphere into the left hand side.


You could dump the volumetrics and try the Sun Beams filter in the compositor (or even combine the two).

I could. Great that there’s a node to fake sunbeams, but wouldn’t this cast a beam across my shadow object? (the ‘planet’)

I was wondering more about any tweaks to settings for the volume, the lights (type, size, etc), the camera, etc t make the density and lighting just right to get the most out of the shadow.

Alternatively, I know I can use colour grading to enhance the contrast.

You could mask the sunbeams in the compositor to avoid the beams over the planet. As I suggested, I’d be tempted to combine the two (volumetrics and compositing) which should enable you to experiment without having to re-render every time.

The biggest problem you have here is that a lot of rays are directly facing into the camera and blinding it. I wouldn’t try to get the effect you want with volumetrics (at least not as much). But more with post processing and painting rays.
Nevertheless I tried a few things myself and this is what I could come up with:

It’s mostly giving the light a slight angle and changing some size/anisotropic settings. If you want the file to take a look shoot me a message!

Thanks for these. It may be a case of playing around, I like the second result - a much more defined difference between the ‘lit’ part of the space, and the ‘shadow’ part.
How did you achieve the second one?

Basically I scaled the light down and used an emission object for the sun. And I angled the light towards the camera and so that it barely hit the planet. Which means there isn’t any light behind the planet to be caught by the volumetrics. Which means it’s darker. I can send you the file if you want

Ah thanks for that insight. Really useful to see the kind of tricks you’d employ to get that result. Playing with position, light size and ‘faking it’!

I wonder there’s probably a limit to just how dark those shadows can go before it looks too unreal. I also think playing with colour grading will help enormously.

Time to experiment!

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