Transparent Layer with shadow?

Can a plane be made transparent, but still receive shadows?
I can see how you can create a plane, another object (particles, Text, Another Video Layer, etc) and a light and get shadows to appear. I believe you can map an image or texture onto a plane as well.
But can I have a video of a room (leaving it as a 2D layer), place a 3D layer on the ground (where it appears in the video), and then have shadows appear on the floor with correct placement of lights, etc.
For this to work the ground layer has to be transparent for the video to show through, but still receive and shadows. I could then put this layer on a wall for example and get the same effect.
Is this available and I'm just not seeing it? Or am I on the wrong track for this kind of effect?


  • Is there an option when you create a plane, I know you can pick its colour, but can you also choose to make it seethrough, whilst it still accepts shadows,light etc.
  • edited July 2011
    That is what I'm looking for! :)
    *edit* It is a transparent plane I need, not a layer. (got to get my terms correct for this yet)
  • In the control box for the plane, you can turn down/off it's opacity, or on the timeline you can switch the plane off, the little eye tab. Now I assume when you turn it off it will still recieve shadows, light etc, but will not be visible in your shot.
  • I don't believe we have this specific functionality (I'm not sure whether it's technically possible - but that's not my department).
    What I've been doing is:
    1. Create a white plane to receive your shadow.
    2. Set the plane's layer properties to Multiply blend. This removes the white but retain the shadow.
  • Thanks for that Simon, I only just got a chance to make that work.
    The white plane with multiply blend does do the trick. As long as I don't make it any larger than the required shadow area. It looks quite effective.
    BYW: Any way to have shadows at the same time as an ambient light? Any time I've added an ambient light to a shot I cannot get any shadows to appear. (Even when using a second spot light and a different colour)
  • Did you try reducing the intensity of the ambient? I didn't do a test right now to check this, but it seems like the spot light would have to be more powerful than the ambient for this to work, and since the ambient defaults to full strength, you'll probably need to reduce its intensity first.

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