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I'm new to Blender and I'm trying to bake the shadows of an object. But each time I do, the bake turns out all black. Every other baking option (Ambient Occlusion, Combined, Normal, etc.) works fine.

thanks!

enter image description here

render passes: enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Just covering the basics: Are there any lamps in the scene? $\endgroup$ – Ron Proctor Sep 23 '16 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ yes, of course. i have added planes with emission materials as light sources. i also tried using the Lamps in add menu. no luck so far. like i said, i'm only having this problem when using Shadow as bake type. every other type works just fine. $\endgroup$ – Zac Sep 23 '16 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ Just making sure. :) Can you show a screen capture of your render passes in the properties window? $\endgroup$ – Ron Proctor Sep 23 '16 at 15:06
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    $\begingroup$ hey! i've added a screencap of the render passes to the original post. i tried checking the Shadow option (i'm not exactly sure what render passes are) and rebaking - still nothing. thank you so much for trying to help me out :] $\endgroup$ – Zac Sep 23 '16 at 17:47
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The limitation of baking Shadows is the same currently as with rendering a Shadow Pass in Cycles. The Shadow Pass will only receive its contribution from Blender Lamps. It doesn't work currently with mesh lights, which you are using to emit light into your scene. Try adding a sunlamp just for testing purposes and check if the Shadow Pass then bakes as expected. In my tests here it did. If that works, replacing mesh lights with area lights might be the way to go for you.

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Here's a potential workaround, based on what @aliasguru said about mesh lights not baking in Cycles:

  • Save a copy of your .blend.

  • Make the diffuse material of the bake object white.

  • Do a diffuse bake.

  • Use the result as a shadow bake.

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