(help needed) Poser 11: rendering shadow on a transparant background



  • Hi everyone

    I'm new to this forum ... (English isn't my native language, so please bear with me ;-)

    Yesterday I upgraded from Poser 7 to Poser 11 (having used the former for about 9 years)
    What I'm trying to do in Poser 11 is render a character with a shadow (on the floor/ground) on a transparent background.
    In Poser 7 this was as easy as pi. Simply load a character, load clothing and a pose, then click render.
    This produced an image (.png) file (with the character and its shadow on transparant background.
    wich I could then use as a layer in Photoshop placing it on top of any desired photographic background.

    So far I haven't been very successful in Poser 11. Switching off the visibility of the "GROUND" makes it invisible and transparent, but there is no shadow?!
    I checked the built-in Poser Manual, and found a reference to a "shadowcatcher" in the 'materials room', but couldn't find any instructions how to work with this. It also sounds very complicated.

    Surely it can't be this convoluted, to render a character or prop with a shadow on a transparent background. Can anyone help me, or give advice. What am I doing wrong?

    Looking forward to your reply
    Tjenno



  • Are you using the firefly render or superfly? Superfly cannot render shadows on something that is invisible. As far as I know, firefly still can. Superfly is meant to be a physically based renderer, and you can't render a shadow on something that isn't there.
    This question has been asked before (shortly after Poser 11 came out), and I'm posting the reply given then. If someone has figured a way around it since then, I haven't heard of it.



  • @Tjenno said in [(help needed) Poser 11: rendering shadow on a transparant background]...

    So far I haven't been very successful in Poser 11. Switching off the visibility of the "GROUND" makes it invisible and transparent, but there is no shadow?!
    I checked the built-in Poser Manual, and found a reference to a "shadowcatcher" in the 'materials room', but couldn't find any instructions how to work with this. It also sounds very complicated.

    Surely it can't be this convoluted, to render a character or prop with a shadow on a transparent background. Can anyone help me, or give advice. What am I doing wrong?

    Looking forward to your reply
    Tjenno

    First, go to Display options and set your background color to white. (The white box on the far right of the bottom row.)

    Then, go to Render Settings (I couldn't get it working with D3D's Firefly Render script, but I didn't muck around with it too much) open up the Firefly Render options and select the Manual method. At the top right of that dialogue window, click the drop-down to Render Over "Background Color."

    Then, below the Render Over choice, you'll see a list of Render types. Check on Shadow Only and uncheck all the others.

    Then, render your Shadow map. :)

    PS - If exported as a PNG, I think it will automatically produce a PNG image with White being the transparent color, so it can function as an alpha map and you can simply overlay your shadowmap in your chosen painting app. Other uncompressed formats may also accept that channel as transparent.

    *Corrected for clarity as detailed, below.



  • Thanks for the quick reply
    I tried both Firefly and Superfly render engines. None produce a shadow on a transparent background.

    Which is weird, I think, ... because in Poser 7 this was standard procedure.

    Firefly has two tabs for rendering (auto settings & manual settings).
    "cast shadows" is checked, but only produces a shadow (per light) on a visible GROUND prop.

    I hope someone in this forum knows a way around this issue

    Tjenno



  • @Tjenno said in (help needed) Poser 11: rendering shadow on a transparant background:

    Thanks for the quick reply
    I tried both Firefly and Superfly render engines. None produce a shadow on a transparent background.

    Which is weird, I think, ... because in Poser 7 this was standard procedure.

    Firefly has two tabs for rendering (auto settings & manual settings).
    "cast shadows" is checked, but only produces a shadow (per light) on a visible GROUND prop.

    I hope someone in this forum knows a way around this issue

    Tjenno

    The way I just told you to do it produces a viable Shadow Map with White that you can define as the transparency color in most paiting apps. There is nothing else visible besides the "background color", which is white, and the shadows cast by objects/lights in the scene in my test render.

    When you say "transparent background", what do you mean? Can you give an example render?

    PS - Where I said "Standard Render Settings" I should have directed you to open up the Render Options for Firefly and set that dialogue to "Manual" settings and make the changes, there. I'll correct it, above.



  • Hi morkonan
    Our posts crossed. I was actually still replying to piersyf's post. ;-)
    Your method works! It produces a white image with only the shadows
    After png export, I can use this as an alpha channel in Photoshop, load it as a selection, fill it with black and hey presto ... I have my shadow. A bit cumbersome but it works.

    I expected poser 11 to be more user friendly than version 7, but alas ... that was my mistake



  • @morkonan PS - I don't use this feature often and haven't ever used it in P11, so I'm not really familiar with creating shadow maps in Poser. So, I can easily get a "just shadows" on a white background and can get those exported in a variety of formats, but since I don't generate and use them much, I don't know how to be sure they're converted properly. It's easy to designate a transparency color in most painting apps - I just don't know how to do it atm. :)

    Reply to above: CONGRATS! I'm glad it works for you!

    You can generate PSD files from there, too, so you might find it a bit easier to deal with.



  • Thank you!
    You've been very helpful

    :-)



  • @Tjenno

    Good luck and happy rendering!



  • @morkonan Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was just playing with setting up a render for a Halloween render challenge, and even though I attached the background image I was going to use on the Background in the Material Room, I didn't get any kind of shadow, because my character wasn't actually standing in the scene.

    I'm definitely going to have to try this. ~smile~



  • @morkonan

    First, go to Display options and set your background color to white. (The white box on the far right of the bottom row.)

    Then, go to Render Settings (I couldn't get it working with D3D's Firefly Render script, but I didn't muck around with it too much) open up the Firefly Render options and select the Manual method. At the top right of that dialogue window, click the drop-down to Render Over "Background Color."

    Then, below the Render Over choice, you'll see a list of Render types. Check on Shadow Only and uncheck all the others.

    Then, render your Shadow map. :)

    PS - If exported as a PNG, I think it will automatically produce a PNG image with White being the transparent color, so it can function as an alpha map and you can simply overlay your shadowmap in your chosen painting app. Other uncompressed formats may also accept that channel as transparent.

    Well, I just tried that, and even though I exported the render as a .PNG, which is what I usually do, it did not open in Photoshop as a transparent .PNG. IOW, all the white was there, and when I checked the Channels for the image, there was no alpha channel. Did I miss something somewhere?

    I always get a transparent background if I export as .PNG, and don't have an image set up for the Background in the Material Room.



  • @Miss-B

    I'll have to look at it. I don't use Poser to generate shadowmaps/whatever, so I'm really not intimately familiar with the process. I imagine there's something about it in the manual, though. /shrug I'll experiment and get back to you if someone else doesn't figure it out and post on it beforehand.



  • Thanks for any suggestions you can come up with. If nothing else, I can always do it in postwork.



  • If you are rendering in Firefly Miss B, and you have a background image you want the shadow to render over, don't forget you will need a floor in Poser for the shadow to land on. So load a square prop, and in the material room set the material for the square prop to 'Shadow_Catch_Only' and you should be able to render your figure over your background and get a shadow.
    I'm waiting to be able to use shadow catching in Superfly, I don't know how long that wait will be :)



  • Bagginsbill has a shadow catcher shader for Firefly. He was working on one for Superfly, but I haven't heard of any progress. The shader can be gotten here...

    https://sites.google.com/site/bagginsbill/free-stuff/shadow-catcher



  • @raven Ahhh, thanks for that tip. I'm going to try that. I wasn't aware of the Shadow_Catch_Only option. That sounds like it would do the trick.



  • @wandw OK, for some reason I never saw that at BB's site the many times I've been there, so thanks for that. I've used a shadow catcher shader in DS 3A and DS 4.0P using their Shader bricks, but haven't tried experimenting with it in Poser until now, so glad to be able to find a way to do so.

    I hope he comes up with one for SuperFly.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to Graphics Forum was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.