Is a "Shadow-catch" Texture Possible?

I’m basically looking for a completely transparent texture that will draw shadows that are cast onto it. I need this because I have a low-poly model that looks horrid under any lighting conditions (Yes I tried -StaticPropLighting. The model doesn’t have enough vertices for that to function properly, and subdividing the model to add more makes it worse.) My plan is to layer this shadow-catching texture over the model, disable the lighting on the model, and if this texture does exist, it will make the model look better due to the texture drawing the proper lightmaps over it.

Is there a way to do this? The closest I found was a shader in the engine called “[TranslucentLightmap](https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Shaders_in_Editor)” but it does not work with anything.

I believe what you’re looking for is the blocklight tool texture

edit: oh yeah sorry, I guess I shouldn’t try to help when I’m really tired.

I know all about blocklight, thanks. I need “catchlight.”
I’m not looking for something invisible that casts shadows, I’m looking for something invisible that draws shadows that are cast onto the face that the texture is applied to. A normal transparent texture does not draw shadows, but I need one that does.

Did you try blocklight?

Maybe you need $alphatest instead of $translucent? It casts shadows from fleshlight.

Flashlight. Very important to use an A, not an E.

That’s not first time I make this silly mistake. Damn.

May I ask what you’re trying to achieve with this? Also are you talking about shadows compiled into the map or dynamic ones from props, etc? I really don’t know if this is possible, although it’s an interesting concept.

He just wants shadows floating on an invisible texture?

I believe what you are trying to do is impossible.
However, if I were you I would just open the props texture and draw shadows on it in photoshop. It might take some time but its the only thing you could do I guess.

Indeed, HL2 elevator model has drawn shadow from the button pad.

I don’t know of any lightmap overlay textures or shaders that exist in source.

The only feasible way you’d get lightmaps similar to what you’d need would be to propper/import your map and lighting conditions to a modeling program like 3dsmax, bake a lightmap there, multiply it onto the texture, and make it a skingroup for the model. That’d be very tedious, but strictly speaking it is ‘doable.’

I mean in the amount of time to get the effect you wanted, you could almost teach yourself mapping in UE4, where static meshes have baked lightmapping built right in.

Yuck. Pre-rendering lightmaps was my last resort but I guess I have to do it.