Controlling shadows and making them darker

Is there a way to control shadows an object cast? Or globally tweaking shadows?
More specifically, can I make the shadows completely black and sharp?
Or maybe change how a shadow is rendered on a material?

I’m hoping for something like the material editor but for shadows, but c++ is good too.

For the darkness of the shadows you could try adding a Sky Light. Just play around with the intensity of the sky light.

If you are looking into globally tweaking shadows, I believe you only have to play with your general lighting setup and exposure settings inside the post process.

Adding a skylight would usually mean ambient lighting and that would do the opposite of what you want which is harsher darker shadows, but depending on how much you want to push the darkness of your shadows ( ex. you need pure black and white like Noir movies or more realistic with slight ambient still in there) you may want to have minimum to no ambient light in there, in all cases i say start with the basics with just one light the sun in this case. Now Unreal’s exposure by default would still give you ambient light even if you don’t have any other light or bounces in the scene, for this reason you have to go to the post process volume and make sure that the exposure settings there under the "eye adaptation max-min settings are the same value, try something high like putting both numbers at 10 and then take the intensity of your sun or light source and push it high to a satisfactory level. you should already be getting harsher darker results with a clear distinction between light and dark areas. make sure your shadows are also high res in the key light (see how to tweak those they are usually under render settings of the light).

later on start adding ambient or more lights as required.

If you are looking into something more stylized i can suggest you look into light vectors similar to the ones they use for toon shading and by creating custom light vectors in the material you can achieve many interesting effects, but it comes with its quirks as well depending of what you want.

thanks for the tips,

by “light vectors” you mean using a vector that represent the light source position/direction and the vertexNoramlWS? like in the example here:
funny, because I did something very similar in concept to this (but more stylized) and many other search results I’ve found when I looking for “light vector”.

is there a cleaner way to access in the material editor (or some where else) what light actors effects it? what are the position, direction, color and strength?

Hi Amit, yes that’s what i meant. Perhaps it’ll help you in some situations. You are already accessing it in the material editor you can use it as a mask to do all sorts of other things with it by either vertex or PixelNormals, i think it is quite straight forward and clear, you seem to be aware of the tutorials already that should give you a good start.

Good luck.