This is my first post that I have done so I will try my best to explain my problem. Additionally, I am not an expert at lighting but I have a decent amount of knowledge to know the basics.

I am currently working on my FMP at university and have come across a problem with my animated shot. This is the following that I want to achieve in the shot:

  • Create a shadow for the robot character, so the sunlight in the background is realistic as if it is shining onto the robot and making a shadow.

  • Avoid using anything bright near the robot and to create a shadow without making my landscape model bright and hard to see the texture/detail.

For those that want to know the lighting for what is currently in the shot. This image labelled with arrows and texts should help. enter image description here

I was able to experiment with the lighting and the images shown are not what I want.

One has a very bright light source but creates a shadow that I want. enter image description here

The other has no shadow but does not create a bright light source. enter image description here Either one of the other.

I need to make a shadow in the shot without disrupting the brightness of other objects in my movie. I hope this makes sense. :D

Do provide visual images as to what advice you would give. Be great to hear from people this week as my deadline is next week haha.

Thanks for your help and I hope to hear from someone very soon.

If you all thing the image with the lighting showing the shadow is a better option than the original which is without the bright light source and no shadow, let me know. :D

Regards Luke (Animean)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Shadows often look washed out because of added ambient light. Try reducing or eliminating world background or reducing its intensity. $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2022 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ Also, of course your light won't look like the sun on mars, because you're using a big box and a area light thats like 10 feet from the object its lighting. Light behaves differently when it travels 96 million miles from an insanely bright ball of fire. You can always use hacks but it would make more sense to use a sun lamp and maybe some desert HDRI (maybe tinted orange a bit in Photoshop) to recreate it more faithfully. You'll do yourself a favor by starting closer to the real life equivalent. $\endgroup$
    – Jakemoyo
    Apr 28, 2022 at 12:04

3 Answers 3


Maybe, try to approach this as real planets, make one strong light (a sun) and shine it on your model in just the right angle to make it work. Make the bg not emit light, just be orange (or make a gradient that looks like the bg you have now) and you can get strong shadows I guess.


As mentioned in the comments, a large emitter close to the object will create very diffuse shadows because it's receiving light from a wide angle.

You might try a different World Shader instead. The Sky Texture simulates a sun in an earth-sky by default.

enter image description here

For what it's worth, it's difficult for me to say what a Martian sky should look like, but if I remember from video games, Mars has something like 2% of the atmospheric density of Earth at the surface, mostly Carbon Dioxide and then a small amount of Nitrogen.


Reduce the specular factor of your light.

This will remove the strong reflections, yet still keep a strong shadow


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