Raytrace Shadows

Raytrace Shadows

Maya 2012 Tutorial


How to Add Raytrace Shadows in Maya



Within Maya there are multiple ways to add shadows to lights. Raytrace shadows can take longer to render, but the results are incredible. Raytrace shadows take into account the distance from the light and the size of the light. As a large light moves closer to an object, the shadow projected becomes softer.


Step One

Open a scene with multiple objects and add a spot light (Create > Lights > Spot Light).

Step Two

Position the light so it illuminates the scene.

Step Three

With the light selected, open the Attribute Editor. Adjust the Dropoff and Penumbra Angle to soften the edges of the light.

Step Four

Scroll down and open the Shadows tab and open the Raytrace Shadow Attributes tab. Click the Use Raytrace Shadows checkbox.

Step Five

To render raytraced shadows, you must turn on raytracing in the Render Options. (Render Options Icon + Maya Software tab + Ray Tracing Quality Triangle + Raytracing).

Step Six

Returning to the Attribute Editor, increase the Light Radius (to soften the shadows) and increase the Shadow Rays (to avoid the rough edges). To lighten the shadow click the Shadow Color rectangle.

What Happens When You Increase the Radius?

Increasing the Light Radius in Step Six only affects the shadows. The light is still the size of a pin-point.

Shadows with Area Lights

To adjust the light size (radius) for an Area Light, simply scale the light panel.

Shadow Color

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