Soft shadows

I have a light that needs to move and cast shadows in all directions on objects in the scene. Problem is these shadows need to be soft. Since spots are the only possible way to achieve buffered shadows (right?), I don’t know how to achieve this.

Is blurring the shadows with nodes the answer? I made a few attempts at this using a shadow pass, but the shadows blur where they’re not supposed to. Maybe I’m complicating things too much this way, but if this is the answer, does anyone have any good links to achieve this? Or any other suggestions?

EDIT: There’s only two objects in the scene, if that helps give insight. But they will need to be moving too. I thought about making 2 spots that track to these objects at all times with shadow only. But then I don’t know how to make the lamp emitting the diffuse NOT cast shadows. Is this possible? If so then I think this would work.

There are solutions with area lamps… but, honestly, for me that’s too much hassle now. Just use one of the current svn builds from graphicall, where you can set soft shadows for all lamps except hemis. E.g. this one works if you are using Windows. And glossy reflections add a nice touch too… :slight_smile:

I’ll give it a shot. Will I sacrafice some render time with these builds?

EDIT: O, and will I need to uninstall my current blender?

No and no.

These builds are marked “experimental”. You should treat them as such. But they do fine for me.

They come as zip-File. Just unzip and start from the unzipped directory. This even doesn’t change the file association, so if you doubleclick a .blend file it opens with your old version of blender.

To answer my own questions (sorry :wink: ):
No uninstalling blender is not necessary.
And Yes, naturally to calculate soft shadows for a lamp takes massive amounts of time to get good results because they run off of raytracing for this build (or am I wrong to jump to that conclusion?)

I think I might try to fake the effect somehow. Maybe with some normal nodes to fake the glow of the light then use buffered spots with shadow only. I hope it works.

EDIT: sry, didn’t see your post before posting, but am I wrong in thinking that render times are too long? I see about a 400% increase in time to render with this light as opposed to buffered spots

Sorry, I was thinking of this build against the release. Sure, the soft shadows itself add. Oh, and there may be slight differences due to the use of a different compiler.