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Im pretty new to blender and am in a bit of a bind here. I have this distorted water simulation that i am attempting to make look like snow (not the best but it works for what i need it for) and i am having troubles getting the shadows to render properly. if you know how to either bake to texture, or adjust settings for these shadows, any help would be appreciated.

here's a screenshot, the rendered part is just the 10 sample preview. but i personally don't think more samples will help

enter image description here

you can see how in the non rendered portions, the shadows on the ridges are much more visible than in the actual render, it could be my lighting as I'm using a single plane with an emission material set to 30. however if it is the lighting, would anybody know a better way to do it for this.

additionally i can also confirm that the area is just as ridgey as the rest of the plane, when viewing the entire scene rendered it all looks very shadowless. also the material for the plane is the default material. (when you just add a material to an object and don't modify it)

almost forgot! im using cycles renderer by the way. thanks to anybody who can help!!!

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  • $\begingroup$ The way a mesh is shaded will depend on your lighting setup. It's hard to tell exactly what you want, but if you just want to make the ridges obvious, you might try adding a bright light pointing roughly towards the camera and somewhat downwards. The ridges should then be more apparent. Also try reducing the strength of the world/environment lighting. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Mar 28 '14 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ Try increasing the ridges' heights even more. Even if from the opengl view it looks unrealistic, see if it looks better in the render. $\endgroup$ – Matthew D. Scholefield Mar 28 '14 at 22:07
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From your question, I think you have one large plane pointing straight down as your light. If that is the case there in lies your problem.

Move your light off axis. If you want your shadow to be in the same place as the shaded preview, then move it along the -X axis and towards the camera. Next rotate the light towards your ground object. Now, if the light is a a low enough angle, each hump will cast a shadow. (your text will also, but that is a different issue)

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