This is just an idea for the guys who work of DFAO tech. It would be lovely to have some sort of “Shadow Proxy” object type. What I’m referring to is a simple object, which affects Distance Fields Occlusion, but is not rendered. This can be used in cases, when normal DFAO distance is not enough to create believable sky occlusion (for example under a bridge).
See the images below for comparison. In the second one, I’ve duplicated one of those rocks, set it to be Invisible, but cast Hidden Shadow. The difference is quite noticeable, I think:
The problem with doing what I did here at the moment is that you cannot turn off dynamic sun shadows cast by those objects and have only DFAO being affected. Also, if there was a way to control amount of DFAO cast by the “proxy” object, it would give an enormous control for artists, allowing them literally "paint’ with shadows.
Since Distance Fields are already there, I think the cost of having these objects could be negligible.
Anyway, hope you guys will give this a thought