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Can you please tell me how to have sharp shadows in cycles with an hdri environnement texture, but without changing the lighting parameter of the hdri texture ? For example in the picture below, I've got a simple plane with two meshes, the light comes from an hdri texture and I want the shadows to be sharper. Thanks for your help ! enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ You'd have to use a different HDRI if you want to use only an HDRI for lighting. The lighting you're getting is what has been captured by the HDRI. Choose one that has a strong light source in the picture, e.g. the sun or studio lights. If you want to keep the exact same HDRI, you can also add additional light source like a sun or area lamp. $\endgroup$ – Robert Gützkow Jun 6 at 10:27
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    $\begingroup$ You don't show an image of the HDRI you are using so it's hard to tell. The quality of the shadows depends of the size of the light sources in the HDRI. Use one with direct sunlight, not overcast or where the sun is behind trees. $\endgroup$ – no-can-do Jun 6 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for tour replies. You're right, when I change the HDRI texture the shadows become sharper. But I thought there was a way to control the softness/sharpness of the shadows as we can do with the angle parameter of a sunlight. $\endgroup$ – Helicool Jun 6 at 11:04
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When you use an HDRi as environment texture you are you are mapping an image in a giant sphere that surrounds the scene and emits light, so every pixel from the image contributes to the lighting in the scene.

As explained in the comments the sharpness of the shadows is directly related to the size of the bright elements on the image. An HDRi of a sunny blue sky will give you a sharp shadow, an image of an overcast or shady environment will give you softer shadows. Other than controlling the intensity and placement of the image in the world, there are no built in tools to change the quality of the shadows.

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