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I have objects on top of an 'Images as Plane' plane and I'd like it to not have any shading/gradients in lighting, so it looks like it would if I opened the image in an image viewer with maximum brightness.

However, I'd still like to allow objects above to cast shadows on to the object. How can I achieve this?

Below, the cube is shaded and casts a shadow on the plane (all good), but the plane should not have any shading on it, since it's brighter in the left compared to top-middle. shadow Below, the plane is bright and this is what I want, but now the cube does not cast any shadow on the plane. no shadow nodes for second image

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  • $\begingroup$ You might have to render 2 separate layers and then join them in the compositor. $\endgroup$ – Christopher Bennett Jan 29 at 16:43
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The simplest solution I can think of is to use the default Principled BSDF setup (using base color, not emission) and change the type of the light source to Sun. This way, neither cube position, nor Plane position, will change the colors on the plane (other than the colors of areas that go in or exit the shadow).

GIF with the example

The reason your examples don't work is that in one case the image is the light, so it can't be shadowed, and in the other you're using a light type with a falloff - simulating the fact that the closer a pixel is to the light source, the more photons from the light source hit that pixel - for the same reason the Sun heats ground the most at noon on Summer. You can lit a surface equally, if it's a fragment of a sphere, with the light source in the center of the sphere - same logic as with curved PC monitors. As you increase the sphere, given the fragment's surface remains constant, it will be closer and closer to a flat surface as it gets further and further from the sphere's center:

a surface with faces oriented towards a point, flattens, as the point moves further away

If you want a perfectly flat surface, you need an infinitely far light source, and that's what the Sun light type represents.

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