Depth Map Shadows
Maya 2012 Tutorial
How to Add Depth Map Shadows in Maya
Within Maya you have the option to cast or not cast shadows from a light. You can also choose whether to use Depth Map Shadows or Raytrace Shadows. Raytrace Shadows produce a higher quality shadow and generally take longer to render.
Open a scene with multiple objects.
Add a Spot Light to the scene (Create > Lights > Spot Light).
Using the Move Tool, re-position the light above the scene and to the side. Press the t key to access the light's Manipulator. Move the Manipulator to the middle of the objects.
With the light selected, open the Attribute Editor and select the Shadows tab. Open the Depth Map Attributes tab and scroll down and check the Use Depth Map Shadows box.
Render the scene and note the quality of the shadow.
Return to the light's Attribute Editor Shadow tab and increase the Resolution setting in multiples of 512.
Deselect the Use Auto Focus checkbox and adjust the slider. This sets the depth of the calculated shadow map. Start with a smaller value and increase as necessary.
Rendering the Shadows Once
For an animation where the lights and objects don't move, set Disk Based Dmaps to Reuse Existing Dmap(s) to decrease rendering time. To soften shadow edges, increase the Filter Size setting.
The Shadow Color setting in the Attribute Editor only affects Depth Map Shadows.