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How do I make landscape shadows look good with a Stationary light?

Here's my setup:

  • Outdoor scene with the default Landscape resolution.

  • I have a Stationary directional light for the sun, and a Static sky light.

  • I have a lot of foliage that doesn't cast a static shadow (worried about overhead, plus the foliage animates with WPO so I don't think baked shadows would look good).

  • Because of the foliage, I need some dynamic shadowing, so I cranked up Dynamic Shadow Distance on my stationary sun light to 2000.

Turning up Dynamic Shadow Distance works great for small objects, but it seems to artifact badly on landscapes. Here's a before/after:

no dynamic shadow (no dynamic shadow)

dynamic shadow distance turned up (dynamic shadow distance turned up)

I've played with a lot of dynamic shadow settings and can't seem to avoid this issue -- dynamic shadows make the landscape quads stand out very noticeably.

I could turn off dynamic shadowing on the landscape, that causes all of its baked self-shadows to disappear when inside the Dynamic Shadow Distance, resulting in no self-shadows at all.

In short: how can I get nice crispy dynamic shadows on close-up actors without creating artifacts on my landscape?

Product Version: UE 4.15
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asked Apr 11 '17 at 10:57 PM in Rendering

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avatar image MikeyBGames Mar 13 '18 at 03:46 AM

I'm having this same issue, Did you find a solution? Please could you share it if you did. thanks!

avatar image rinbu Mar 13 '18 at 04:36 AM

Unfortunately it seems there's no silver bullet answer -- this sort of artifact seems to be part and parcel with modern dynamic shadow techniques. I think you'll find if you crank your Shadow Bias (on your stationary light) way up, it helps significantly (note the slider only goes up to 1 but you can type in higher values). However that tends to make objects look like they're floating, which you can somewhat offset by turning on Contact Shadows. Tweaking dynamic shadow quality is a bit of a tightrope act.

I have noticed that really large objects tend to suffer the most, so I'd recommend making sure your world/landscape scale is reasonable (using a human scale reference).

Sorry I don't have a more satisfying answer, good luck!

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