Depth Map Shadows

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.


Step One

Open a scene with multiple objects.

Step Two

Add a Spot Light to the scene (Create > Lights > Spot Light).

Step Three

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.

Step Four

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.

Step Five

Render the scene and note the quality of the shadow.

Step Six

Return to the light's Attribute Editor Shadow tab and increase the Resolution setting in multiples of 512.

Step Seven

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.

Shadow Color

The Shadow Color setting in the Attribute Editor only affects Depth Map Shadows.


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