I'm learning the basics and while modeling a simple volcano using a point lamp for the magma I keep getting unnatural sharp shadows, even when disabling ray shadow. I don't think the problem is in the mesh (you can find the .blend file in the comments). Here are some examples:

Point lamp behind and above volcano

In this case I put the lamp outside the crater. If I disable Ray Shadow here it gets better.

Point lamp inside crater

Now placing the lamp inside the crater. Even when I disable Ray Shadow I keep getting those sharp transitions.

  • $\begingroup$ Related File $\endgroup$
    – 4nt
    Oct 20, 2014 at 22:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That is a problem with the mesh, see blender.stackexchange.com/q/1998/599 (yes, it can happen to BI too). Try adding more even geometry and smoothing that section out a bit $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Oct 20, 2014 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, the problem was the mesh indeed (had to switch to orthogonal view inside the crater to see it). I ended up solving it by adding another point lamp above the old one instead of modifying the mesh. $\endgroup$
    – 4nt
    Oct 23, 2014 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


You can also try changing the shadow's Soft Size to affect how sharp or blurred the shadows will be. If you are using Blender Render(Internal), the samples for the shadows are right next to the soft size.

enter image description here

For Cycles, the lamp size can be used to alter the softness of the shadows.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, the problem was the mesh (when the lamp was inside the crater) but your comment answered the other part of the question. $\endgroup$
    – 4nt
    Oct 23, 2014 at 23:02

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