Shocking DAZ Studio Trick: Quick Shadow Illusion

Shocking DAZ Studio Trick: Quick Shadow Illusion


In just a couple of minutes, you’ll know exactly how to create the above effect, WITHOUT casting any shadows. There are more ways of creating shadows and shadow effects than you can imagine. It’s all an illusion; hence why we have so much creative freedom in DAZ Studio (or any 3D software). Faking things is usually a bad idea; at least so we’re taught. But in 3D, in can be a true GOLDMINE. When speed is an issue, when you want to solve shadow problems in creative, and often much faster ways (rendering wise), then one specific trick is just beyond surreal. And yet; it looks like a real ground shadow.


I’m starting the DAZ Studio scene with a Victoria 6 character, red dress, heels and a hair prop. After the pose is applied, I’m grouping all the parts in a single null object.


Once done, the scene can be saved, and then immediately merged to the current scene, so that we have two identical instances of the character in our scene. Right now, the seconday character is on the same position so we cannot see her, besides seeing the extra data in the scene tab.


Next, I’m surrounding her with a huge 20 x 20 x 20 m box. A setting of ambient 100% and diffuse 0%, makes the box act like a white backdrop, and so that it does not catch any shadows. A single shadowless distant light provides lighting from the side / front / above, while UberEnvironment 2 is used mearly for additional ambient light at 30% intensity.


Here’s where the magic happens. We can now take the secondary instance of our character, the null 2 item, and rotate it so that it looks like a shadow on the ground. You want to use the rotation tool for this, since using the parameter tab sliders will quickly go into “dead lock zone”, where you cannot rotate past 90 degrees. Make sure the secondary chatacter is below the main one, and ensure there’s enough room towards the floor. You can squeeze the shadow, increase its length, or make it thin by scaling on the x, y or z axis (directly on the null 2 item), just make sure you don’t do too much, or it might “break”. Once done, you should have something similar to the above image.


Next, we need to “black-out” the all the surfaces parented to the null 2 object. In the surfaces tab, lower all surfaces to diffuse 0%, ambient 0% and remove reflections, sub surface scattering and velvet. Once done, the shadow is already in place. Here’s I’ve also added an additional plane that is above the shadow chartacter, but underneath the main one. By adjusting that planes opacity, you can control the black level of the shadow.


It will take you a few minutes to create, but once done, you can render and re-render multiple times with much faster rendering time. Especially useful when you’re doing a mega-sized 6,000 x 6,000 render and super high render settings for print. This works perfectly with animation too, just make sure you have the same aniBlocks added to both the main character and the shadow character.

And that’s it!

Like it, share it and comment what you think about this effect..!

Have fun with your shadows in DAZ Studio…

– Val Cameron

P.S. Want to become a DAZ Studio Shadow Master? This was just a small example of all the crazy and quick shadow effects that are just waiting for your creative mind to play with. Head over HERE and save BIG… (Super Savings End Feb 10 23:59 EDT)






Happily sharing how to create great 3D & 2D art in DAZ Studio, Lightwave and Photoshop, Val Cameron, CEO and founder of Dreamlight, has been coaching and mentoring hundreds of thousands of artists since 2005. Bestselling DAZ 3D vendor with over 230+ video tutorials, plug ins and light sets.

3 Responses to “Shocking DAZ Studio Trick: Quick Shadow Illusion”

  1. Janet February 15, 2015 at 8:49 am #

    Wow, this is great info. This is why I love working with Daz, you guys are great. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Val Cameron February 15, 2015 at 10:12 am #

      You’re welcome Janet, glad you like the shadow trick!

  2. Rick February 24, 2015 at 11:44 pm #

    I use a similar trick with Adobe Illustrator. Just make a copy of your subject requiring a shadow, give it a little perspective and then change the fill color to your desired shadow color. It never occurred to me to apply it to DAZ. TY

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