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baking smoke shadows on object to texture sequence

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Hi there, 

Total Houdini novice here with a bit of a strange question: 

I have a smoke simulation that I have created the swirls around a central character that is being rendered in Unreal Engine.


The smoke itself is rendered in out of Houdini in slices and played back in Unreal as the alpha of a video texture, but I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of how it might be possible to set up something like a shadow catcher to catch the shadows cast by the smoke on the surface of the character, but instead of just rendering shadows that hit a specific piece of geometry to a frame as scene by the camera it could be applied to the character and render out as a texture sequence taking into account the characters UVs, so that it can be played back in Unreal? 

I feel like this is a pretty weird request and no doubt there is tons wrong with it, but I thought I might as well ask, you can do anything in Houdini it seems! 

Many thanks for any advice, 


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not weird at all

just use Shadow Matte material and bake to UVs using Bake Texture ROP (make sure you uncheck Disable Lighting/Emission as you are baking shadows) 

by default your shadows will go to Alpha, but you can change it by editing the material 


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