Getting shadows right with Face Me components


I am new to Face Me components, and I’m not happy with how the shadows are behaving. If I create the component with “shadow facing sun” the shadow doesn’t always line up well with the model as I orbit about. But if I deselect “facing sun” the shadow lines up better, but becomes a sliver in certain orbits (which not only looks weird, but it doesn’t behave the same as the other objects in the model). Is this just a limitation of Face Me components, or am I missing something?

In the linked model I have two cats sitting on a desk. First cat “faces the sun” and the second does not.


I think you have confused which cat has “Shadows Face Sun” and which cat doesn’t.

Your description does not make it clear which cat is “first” and which is “second”.

The cat on the left in your image, Component #1, was set to “Shadows Face Sun” and the shadow looks more realistic. The cat on the right has “Shadows Face Sun” turned OFF and the shadow can look like a sheet of paper from the wrong angle. Bear in mind that you’re using a 2D image to fake a 3D object. If you want a more realistic cat you’d need a 3D model of one.

Your model was only 618KB, so it was small enough to upload directly to the forum without using Dropbox. Dropbox works of course, but it’s less hassle for those helping you if you upload directly to the forum.


When I said “first” cat, I meant reading model from left to right, so yes, this is the cat that faces the sun. I did try to directly upload the model, but I got an error message saying it was too big (??). At any rate, you seem to be telling me that this is just a limitation of the face me component, correct?



No, I just think you’ve mixed up which component you turned on the “Shadows Face Sun” option for. It was working well for your model. You just need to turn it on for the other cat and it would look good.


It is indeed a limitation the flat cat. By turning on Shadows Face Sun, the shadow is projected as if the cat’s profile were perpendicular to the sun’s light while the cat actually has to face the camera. Your component doesn’t have the shape required to give you a correct shadow as it would if it was a fat cat.


The point of having the 2 cat versions was to illustrate how the shadow behaves with each option (I realize that I can change the other cat to match). The fatter shadow of the “faces the sun” looks more realistic, but it doesn’t line up as well with the cat’s foot in this particular view. Dave has answered my question by confirming that this is just a limitation of flat cats :slight_smile:


Actually, I think I’ve misunderstood what you said in the first post of this thread, apart from stating if you want the shadow to look like a cat from any viewing angle and light source angle you have to model a 3D cat.


Keep in mind there are some benefits to flat cats, though. :smiley:


Those are my favourite kind!


I’ll assume you’re not making an anti-cat statement (ha ha)! Yes, given that a 3D cat is probably beyond my current modeling skills and would add unnecessary bulk to my model, a flat cat is still probably the way to go.


Oh no. I like cats. (I was going to add, in a nice brown gravy, but I’d be joking.)

I would imagine you could find some 3D cats in the Warehouse.


No need for expensive cat flaps. you can slip them under the door or through the letter box.


One thing to note, although it is a limitation of face me components, you can adjust it a bit by changing the Component Axes.
While not puurfect, it can help.


Another option could be to use the cat’s profile perpendicular to the visible cat and fill it with a o% png texture. The shape would be invisible but it can cast a shadow…but this would be a lot easier with a 3D cat.
I added one to the cat with the thin shadow and showed another copy sitting alone in the blue bounding box.


Thanks for all the suggestions. I also found that if I just want to save a certain view, I can always place the component and turn the view where I want, then explode the component. It remains faced for that view, and the shadow now looks pretty good.


As you will lose the “face me” attributes by exploding the component, you might consider one of the animation plugins, which would allow you to re-position the cat for different views and be saved in that position per view. Alternatively you can have more than one instance of the same cat in different positions on separate layers, which can be toggled on and off depending on the view.


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