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Going for shadow mapping or deferred rendering next?

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Not really a solid question I know, simply looking for some input and didn't know where else to post it.

 

I'm at the point where I feel learning how to do shadow maps and converting my forward renderer to a deferred renderer would be good challenges after having implemented models, lights, textures, etc, but I'm unable to decide which to aim for first. Is there any pros and cons of implementing either technique first or is simply personal preference? Would for example it be easier to do deferred rendering once you've done shadow mapping as both use framebuffers or vice versa?

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Shadow maps first. The basic shadow map algorithm is pretty straightforward and easy to learn.

But, depending on your interest level, you'll might want to explore some soft-shadows algorithms, which will be easier to learn with a forward renderer.

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With the basic algorithm you'll get hard shadows. Even HW PCF is not soft enough.
There are also accuracy issues which will cause shadows to look wrong, self-shadowing problems, etc.

I suggest you start with the simple algorithm to get better idea of how shadows work.

MJP had a nice post in his blog with overview of some shadow map techniques. Not really for beginners, but a very interesting read.

http://mynameismjp.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/shadow-maps/

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