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Dynamic shadows not casting on Foliage tool? (Pictures)


I'm using the foliage brush tool to spray trees around a landscape. Both dynamic and static shadow boxes are ticked, however when I build the scene a majority of the dynamic shadows don't render. I'm assuming the dynamic and statics shadows are visible based on camera distance? How can I get all the dynamic shadows to show within its threshold?

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asked Jan 28 '15 at 10:50 AM in Rendering

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avatar image Crofty Jan 29 '15 at 04:45 PM

Thanks for the advice. I never though to keep everything dynamic, I saw someone say it was really expensive but in practice I get the same if not more FPS. Especially when It's cooked to playstation (reaching about 60fps). I'm going to do some testing with both day time and night time scenes, using different methods of dynamic lighting on each. I'll post my FPS results for both editor and PS4. I'm basically trying to get my head around GPU and draw costs as I'm not experienced with them. I'm also going to test putting multiple trees on one billboard.

avatar image AndrewHurley Jan 29 '15 at 05:19 PM

Well in case you wanted to wrap your head a bit more around the CPU and GPU profiling. Here is some very insightful and helpful documentation.

Performance and Profiling https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Performance/index.html

GPU Profiling https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Performance/GPU/

I hope this helps!


Andrew Hurley

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Hello Crofty,

I am actually dealing with a similar post where the user is attempting to understand how to receive static shadows on his foliage. The post can be found here along with your answer.

What you are looking to change is your Stationary Lights Shadow Distance.

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Essentially you need to find the correct transition range between your Static Shadows and your Dynamic Shadows.

Here is the documentation link for where I found this information, which you will also find helpful.


Finally, here are the settings you will want to change within the Editor. alt text

These settings can be found within the 'Details' tab of your 'Directional Light' settings.

Let me know if you are able to effectively get your shadows to work, or if you are still struggling to find the correct distances between your static and dynamic shadows for your foliage.


Andrew Hurley

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answered Jan 28 '15 at 03:05 PM

avatar image Crofty Jan 28 '15 at 05:09 PM

Thanks Andrew, I played around with the cascade values and got it to blend between dynamic and static shadows. Do you have any tips when it comes to optimising the foliage tool in respects to draw calls, clustering and LOD's? I've found that I get better results keeping just LOD0 on something like grass and culling them at an out of sight distance, as oppose to cycling through 2 more LOD's each 1/2 the tri count to the previous. I know that probably didn't make sense but any information is much appreciated.

avatar image AndrewHurley Jan 28 '15 at 07:13 PM

You are quite welcome. When it comes to foliage, and the improvement being implemented in 4.7 with instanced meshes, the culling performance will change a good bit.

I have found that using a single LOD for grass and culling them at a distance works well also. There is not much use for multiple LOD's on a simple grass material/mesh. Now with larger objects like trees and rocks, you will definitely want to have a few LOD's when using the foliage tool.

I have also found however that using a fully dynamic scene, Movable Directional Light with Distance Field Shadows can yield a bit better performance and eliminates the need for lightmass...i.e. shorter iteration times. This is a new approach to lighting and should be used correctly. Here is a scene I have with a whole bunch of foliage using this shadowing technique. I am recording about 60 fps which is pretty impressive when used with other settings like Post Process and Exponential Height Fog.

Foliage alt text

I hope this helps clarify your question :) Let me know if you need a bit more information.


Andrew Hurley

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