I am trying to figure out how to draw a shadow from a spherical object onto a non-flat surface. How would I draw the distortion of the shadow onto the surface?

enter image description here

  • This is a really poorly worded question as it stands. Maybe you could put a little more effort into composing this question? Apr 2, 2018 at 12:50
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    Where is the light source in the diagram that you provide? Apr 2, 2018 at 13:06
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    I have edited your question. I hope I have kept the intent of your original. If not, please feel free to revert the edit, and make your own improvement.
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:07
  • It seems perfectly clear as it now stands ?
    – Fattie
    Apr 3, 2018 at 11:43

2 Answers 2


Use a grid system. Draw the circular shadow on a flat non-distorted grid.

Draw the distorted grid, and use the flat grid as a guide, noting where the shadow intersects with the grid lines.

For example:

enter image description here


To amplify Billy Kerr's excellent response, if you wanted to set your light source in your illustration other than directly overhead (I can see Billy took, as I do, your initial sketched dashed lines running vertically as your intended shadow edge) you would draw vanishing points from the light source past the edges of your sphere to show the shadow path, and intersect that with your folded planar manifold or ground.Basic Shadowcasting Figure

If you wanted a bit more detail, you could add the blurring you see at the edge of shadows, which technically is called "penumbra", and is to do with the geometric relationships between the actual width of your lightsource and the edges of your object (see this wikipedia link for more detail)

I've added penumbra and some basic annotations to my figure to make it clearer: hope this helps.

enter image description here

In case you were curious: all drawn in Affinity Designer, all 2D.

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    So in essence exactly the same way you would do it on a plane, no you just have multiple planes ;)
    – joojaa
    Apr 3, 2018 at 9:35

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