When using an object (like a spot light) as the camera for easier positioning (using Ctrl-Num0), it seems like the view distance is set to only 40 units, often making a lot of the scene invisible:


Adjusting either the Clip End in the 3D View panel or in the actual camera (not the light) settings doesn't help.

  • $\begingroup$ perplexing indeed. $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Mar 20 '19 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ Looking through the datablocks there doesn't seem to be a way $\endgroup$ Mar 20 '19 at 17:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This doesn't seem to happen on mesh objects or empties. As far as I can tell, only lamps are affected. I suspect it's a bug. $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Mar 24 '19 at 20:35

It turns out this is actually a feature, of sorts.

When a lamp is set as a camera, the viewport is only rendered within the lamp's shadow buffer clipping extents; that is shadow_buffer_clip_startand shadow_buffer_clip_end.

Unfortunately, these properties are not presented in the GUI for every render engine, or even for every lamp type.

In 2.7x, they are only present in the game engine, on a spot or sun lamp:

enter image description here

In 2.8, using Eevee, only shadow_buffer_clip_start is displayed for point, spot and area lamps. To get shadow_buffer_clip_end, the lamp type must be sun.

enter image description here

As far as I am aware, these properties are not exposed to the GUI at all under BI or Cycles.

While this behavior does seem to be at least intentional, it probably could use some improvement. For instance, perhaps the view extents ought only to be clipped for engines and lamp types where the shadow buffer clipping is applicable. With that in mind, I've submitted a bug report here.

  • $\begingroup$ Damn how'd I miss that, thanks! I really just needed python access to these properties, so it doesn't matter what render engine or lamp type it is, it'll always be accessible as obj.data.shadow_buffer_clip_end $\endgroup$
    – Greg Zaal
    Mar 26 '19 at 10:45

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