i donīt know if something similar has been postet before, i couldnīt find anything.
we all know the problem:
you love the soft AO shadows. but when you light a scene and you need to light the ground model as well, your soft shadows around the feet of your character will almost disappear completely, depending on the intensity of your additional light source. if you donīt need to light your ground model, you could prevent that with the use of light lists. but letīs say you want to have your character standing in a fairly bright spotlight, and you want the spotlight to effect the floor as well. your fantastic looking shadows will almost completely be gone.
so hereīs the solution:
create a new bulb light, set the fall of to a low range (in my case 25cm), and the light intensity to something like -15%. turn off shadows and specularity for this light. place a few of those bulb lights slightly above your characters feet in the chor (in my case iīve used 4, 2 for every foot, more lights with lower values will get more precise results). then constrain the lights to the characters feet (in my case iīve constrained it to the foot ik nulls and the toes bones). in the PWS drop those lights on the ground model to create a new light list, activate checkbox "exlude light from models without lightlists" in the lightlist-dialogue. you will now have soft shadows around your characters feet, if you raise the characters feet the shadows will get lighter and lighter until they disappear, just like shadows do. and the best part of this is: 1. absolutely no additional rendertime, itīs just absorbed light, no shadows. 2. you will see those shadows actually in realtime in the chor video.... because: itīs just absorbed light, no shadows
i hope this is helpful to some of you.