Today I learned that the annoying stepped edge on shadows is all about an advanced setting.
I went into the Phototools menu in Firestorm today, playing around with posing a photo, and got very cranky with the way the shadows were rendering. I mean, really, look at this:
Uggggh. All those… raster-y stepped edges, and the shadows not meeting the object casting them. Why does it do this? WHY DOES SL HATE ME???
I went through the pop-up text on Firestorm’s Phototools ‘Lights and Shadows Settings’ menu bit by bit by bit, and found this on FOV Cutoff:
This determines the FOV cutoff at which the viewer will switch between ortho instead of perspective projection. If you are getting shadows that are ‘jaggedy’ try adjusting this setting for improvement. Also adjusting the XYZ values for the debug setting RenderShadowSplitExponent can be VERY helpful.
I played a bit with FOV Cutoff there, then went into the Advanced menu for the debug settings. I dug up the RenderShadowSplitExponent setting and found that my X was 3.0… my Z was 2.0… and my Y was 65.0?!?
Resetting the Y to 5.0, I found that suddenly my shadows looked like this:
Well that was easy, wasn’t it?
Figured that someone might find that helpful, so- enjoy!
Coming back to this one after a while, I notice that there’s something I learned that hasn’t gotten in here. I talk about a specific set of numbers in the above post: ‘I dug up the RenderShadowSplitExponent setting and found that my X was 3.0… my Z was 2.0… and my Y was 65.0?!? Resetting the Y to 5.0, I found…’
Further playing around with this has taught me that Y varies dramatically depending on what the angle of the sun/moon is in comparison to the shape you’re shining the light on. Since the jagged edge is from transitioning not often enough from one type of perspective to another, sometime, you may find that a Y of 65 IS RIGHT (disclaimer: I haven’t found that yet). I would say ‘play with the Y number, and see how it affects your shadows’.