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How can I make make shadows blur as they get further from the object casting them?

I have set up a relatively simple scene witch includes two pots on a clay ground texture, and I am lighting it using an HDRI image. Here is my render result right now:

enter image description here

How could I go about making the shadow of the pots gradually blur more the farther it is from the pots?

This is the HDRI i am using to light the scene.

Thanks in advance!

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    $\begingroup$ The HDRI map that you are using is called "Direct Sun". Try and look on what direct sun do to shadows in a real world. Your result here is perfectly fine and unless you don't want to keep it realistic consider changing HDRI map to something different or adding additional light sources wit big size, for example mesh lights. $\endgroup$ – cgslav Sep 10 '17 at 4:45
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A small light source will create sharp shadows. In the HDRi image you are using, the direct sun will create a very defined shadow.

enter image description here

A different HDR, this time of a cloudy day, will create a much larger light source, and less defined shadows.

enter image description here

As an alternative you can add objects that will reflect some of the light into the shadowed areas:

enter image description here

Or maybe you don't need to use the HDR and just use a large source that will give you a soft shadow.

enter image description here

Or a radical approach is to blur the HDR image used as environment texture, making the light source less defined:

enter image description here

Note that you might need to change the strength used for the environment texture

(for info on how this works please watch Bartel Skorupa's video Manipulate texture coordinates like a boss)

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  • $\begingroup$ wow thank you so much for this awesome, helpful answer! $\endgroup$ – Dr. Farquaad Oct 8 '17 at 0:56

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