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.
Open a scene with multiple objects and add a spot light (Create > Lights > Spot Light).
Position the light so it illuminates the scene.
With the light selected, open the Attribute Editor. Adjust the Dropoff and Penumbra Angle to soften the edges of the light.
Scroll down and open the Shadows tab and open the Raytrace Shadow Attributes tab. Click the Use Raytrace Shadows checkbox.
To render raytraced shadows, you must turn on raytracing in the Render Options. (Render Options Icon + Maya Software tab + Ray Tracing Quality Triangle + Raytracing).
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.
The Shadow Color setting in the Attribute Editor only affects Depth Map Shadows.