Here are example images: 1 and 2 and Compositing Tab 3 Shadow Pass only 4

I see the Shadow and denoising Shadowing data in my render layers. I understand the cryptomatte function, but not the nodes to mask out the things that are making the shadows.

I see no way to feed either into a denoise node or any way to render a pass where I can mix or alpha overlay the shadow only to control the darkness in post.

Given the denoise node, I assume that you denoise like a volume would be...just image. If I do that with the shadow pass, it losses the alpha from the shadow catcher and it affects the whole scene.

I've tried to see how to just render the shadowcatcher and so far I've had no luck. In fact, without the object to use to create a shadow to catch, there are no shadows. I don't know how to use the cryptomatte to key out geo I don't want to render, I assume there's a more comp way to do it with nodes, which I don't know.

With pic 4, I can render a shadow pass (bottom left Blender discord helped with that), but it's not just the shadows, it's the geo casting the shadow too...how do I remove that?

Without denoising, the shadows are way too noisy for my taste.Without a render pass of only the shadows, no control. The Compositing Tab doesn't have my normal color correction, color matching, color grading, because cause I didn't even change the direction of the shadows, and don't like them at the moment.

My big concern is in the layout tab, in the viewport shading section, Render Pass, there's no option to just render the shadows. There has to be a work around.

Any direction would be appreciated. If I have to construct my own AOV, just point the way, Cycles ain't Redshift or VRay, at least given my ignorance of all of 3 weeks transitioning over to Blender entails.

It seems I can accomplish this with render layers and three scenes and a divide node..."Cycles: Shadeless “Shadow-catcher” Material for Rendering onto Footage" If 2.82 and above behaves like 2017...

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    $\begingroup$ Some screenshots or illustration of what you have achieved so far and what your goal is would be helpful. It will definitely help me and surely other members to understand and help you. You can use the Edit link and the Embed Image button for that purpose. $\endgroup$
    – Bruno
    Apr 21, 2020 at 22:18
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    $\begingroup$ Thi site has tools to add images. blender.meta.stackexchange.com/a/1083/92768 $\endgroup$
    – susu
    Apr 21, 2020 at 22:36
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    $\begingroup$ Try searching for "Shadow Catcher" and Blender. $\endgroup$
    – Dontwalk
    Apr 22, 2020 at 0:38

2 Answers 2


There's a kid on ytube that explained the process as part of a way more complex process here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdqV4oortP0&t=14s

It's as simple as putting what you want to mask out in a collection, create another view layer, then choose "Holdout" as the view visibility of the collection. In the comp tab, in a render layers node, under the Scene, select the view layer you want to render...done. Freakin' done!

  • $\begingroup$ Suggest do not use the built-in shadow catcher. The post you found already is what you want because indirect light will be preserved. Also consider this is not a forum... so please include all relevant steps into your answer, thanks. $\endgroup$
    – brockmann
    Apr 23, 2020 at 10:31

The easiest solution I found was to pass the alpha through a Denoise node. Here's an example. enter image description here enter image description here


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