Cast Shadow

Because the ball interrupts some of the light traveling from the light source to the table, there is an area of shadow on the table. This area of shadow is called the cast shadow. It is shown in Figure 7.15.

Cast shadow

Figure 7.15 The cast shadow is the area of shadow cast from an object onto another surface.

Cast shadow

Figure 7.15 The cast shadow is the area of shadow cast from an object onto another surface.

Cast shadows are not just flat shadows. They have unique characteristics that an artist must understand to make them look correct. As the shadow becomes more distant from the object, the edge becomes less distinct. This happens because there is more chance for reflected light to reach the shadow area. The shadow has a diffused edge, as shown in Figure 7.16.

Diffused edge

Figure 7.16 The edge of a shadow is diffused as it goes away from an object.

Diffused edge

There is also a slightly lighter area just beneath the ball. This area is the twice-reflected light area. The light that is reflected to the ball bounces off the ball and into the cast shadow area, giving that area a small amount of light, as shown in Figure 7.17. This is one reason why some cast shadows seem to be lighter near the middle.

Figure 7.16 The edge of a shadow is diffused as it goes away from an object.

Shadow Cast Off Ball
Figure 7.17 Reflected light also bounces from the ball to the cast shadow.

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