The soft shadows setting description: 'Soft shadow diameter' doesn't make sense. All I want to do is make the shadows softer (softer edges) and not as dark. What does 'shadow diameter' have to do with making the shadows softer?
Bob I think the (diameter) distance has to do with the width of the soft area going into the darkness from the light. kapish?
I'll try to get my feeble mind around that. I guess increasing the diameter softens the shadow edge; but, does not lighten the shadow. Thanks Josh.
Softening shadows and lightening shadows are really 2 separate concerns and they deserve separate controls. The Soft Shadow Diameter setting affects the softness of the edge (it adjusts the diameter of the light source being simulated a - a total point source would create totally hard shadows). At the moment there are no explicit, generalized shadow lightening functions, but you can use the Enviro Light Effect On Surfaces to achieve a somewhat similar effect.
Thanks Oshyan for the clarifications. I've increased the default diameter to 12 and was able to achieve the effect I was looking for. I'll also experiment with the Enviro light settings as well.
Do note that you will probably need to increase the number of samples in order to maintain quality as your soft shadow diameter increases.
Thanks Oshyan, I didn't realize this. I will reset the samples to double the default and try a cropped render.