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Upcoming feature: Shadow Catcher


An upcoming Shadow Catcher feature will save you from setting up complex node structures when working on your VFX.

Very often in visual effects you’ve got to deal with shadows. If you’re adding a CG object or character to a scene, it’s almost certain that somewhere else in that scene it’s going to be casting a shadow. This is typically dealt with by using a shadow pass, one of the many render passes you can output when rendering. In Blender, the shadow pass usually entails a little bit of work in the compositor to setup. There’s multiple ways to do it, and if you use the camera tracker and the scene setup, the nodes will even be created for you.

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. This is great! Long waited feature for compositing artists, along with overscan rendering. Can't wait to see it in trunk! Thank you!

  2. Good news. Worked with a shadow catcher in C4D. But Rendertimes were out of control. Hope the Blender Shadow Catcher is doing better. Looking forward to test it :)

  3. Looks great, just a quick note to make sure you set the shadow plane's ray visibility so as to not influence the glossy objects in the scene, because its visible on a reflective surface such as on your example object. I know the shadow should reflect somewhat, but the plane shouldnt. Maybe incorporate texture mapping/projection so the reflection turns out more accurate? Just a thought.

  4. Fantastic. It's one of those things that just seems like it would be a simple feature, since light path nodes can detect shadows, but I know that a lot of times things that seem straight forward are not as simple as they seem. Still, great to have it in the feature set as I do a lot of love action/Cg compositing!

  5. This is great! i come from Softimage (RIP) where this feature was there since ever. I think this was really a big missing in a such powerful tool like Blender.

    Hope to see this very soon.

  6. Looks awesome! I currently use a hacked version of a shadow catcher in nearly all of my Blender work (scientific illustrations). This looks like it would make it much easier!

    When will it become available?

  7. Guillaume Devigne on

    Isn't it a good thing that the shadow catcher doesn't take global illumination color into account? Since the environment map is already "globally illuminated" and a colored shadow would double that effect.

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