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How can I achieve the following effect? Here, we see all shadows, and nothing else.

enter image description here

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Image:

enter image description here

Stylized shadow only pass:

enter image description here

Preparations

  • Go to the Properties panel > Render tab > Film dropdown and check Transparent.
  • Go to the Properties panel > Render Layers tab > Passes dropdown and enable the Shadow pass.

Compositing

You should be able to achieve it with the following compositing nodes setup. What it does is takes the Alpha pass (where there is stuff (white) versus where there is transparency (black)) and subtracts all the white areas (unshadowed parts) of the shadow pass. This does, however, need to be inverted to look correct.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ It seems the OP is using the Cycles render engine, not BI. $\endgroup$ – PGmath Jul 28 '16 at 0:23
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    $\begingroup$ @PGmath That is cycles. $\endgroup$ – Shady Puck Jul 28 '16 at 0:25
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    $\begingroup$ Oh sorry, I guess I can't distinguish it too well on my phone. :D $\endgroup$ – PGmath Jul 28 '16 at 0:27
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    $\begingroup$ @PGmath I feel you. Plus, the shading does look a lot like BI. That was actually one of the things I tried to change, but it just didn't work out and I didn't want to put a lot of time into it. $\endgroup$ – Shady Puck Jul 28 '16 at 0:27
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexSafayan Included! If my answer helped, please consider marking it as accepted. $\endgroup$ – Shady Puck Jul 28 '16 at 2:33
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While Shady Puck's answer covers making a true shadow-only render, here is my approach to creating this type of render using the Cycles Toon shader in combination with a shadow pass and some manual contrast adjustment.

My final result:

enter image description here
Thanks to MrChimp2313 for the awesome CC-0 house model!


First just give everything a white Toon shader material, this will help with that contrasty, cartoony look. The Toon shader also has two other properties (besides color), you should set the Size to something fairly high (close to 1.0) and leave the Smooth at 0.0.

Light the scene with a single sun lamp, with a fairly small shadow size. Tweak the direction and strength to suit your tastes for your scene.

Set the environment color to Black, this way the shadows and highlights will all come from the sun lamp.

Make sure to turn on the Shadow render pass and render your image. Keep in mind that for this effect to work you need to eliminate as much noise as possible, so use a lot of samples.

In the compositor, run the shadow pass image itself through a Color Ramp node. You can tweak the swatches' positions to get the effect you are looking for, but the basic idea is to have them fairly close together to get that super high-contrast shadowy look. I also found it looks a little more pleasing if you adjust the minimum color to be not pure black.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Oops, in the compositing setup the Shadow pass should be plugged into the Color Ramp, not the Image. I'll fix that soon. $\endgroup$ – PGmath Jul 28 '16 at 14:49

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