AOA Lights vs UberLights vs Daz Standard Lighting

404nicg404nicg Posts: 264
edited December 1969 in The Commons

Up to this point, I've been getting some pretty good results by mixing Uberenvironment2 with some well placed daz spotlights and fill lights but I still have some improving to do.

I was looking into investing in some new lighting products and wanted to see if anybody had knowledge of both the AOA light set and the Omnifreaker UberLights that they could give me some insight for making a decision on which to purchase as well as outlining some pros and cons of each.

I tend to render stories as opposed to single portraits or single scenes, so balancing render speed with quality is pretty important to me.

Also, I noticed that the omnifreaker lights are referred to as "light shaders" . Is that different from what the AoA lights and the Daz standard lights are?

And lastly, if it makes any difference, MOST but not all of my scenes tend to take place indoors. Thanks for your time.

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Comments

  • SickleYieldSickleYield Posts: 7,358
    edited December 1969

    AoA lights are much faster. They are what I use exclusively for my promos right now. Some people prefer the look of UE lights and the way they handle ambient occlusion. This is a matter of personal preference. If you master either tool you can get good renders.

  • 404nicg404nicg Posts: 264
    edited December 1969

    AoA lights are much faster. They are what I use exclusively for my promos right now. Some people prefer the look of UE lights and the way they handle ambient occlusion. This is a matter of personal preference. If you master either tool you can get good renders.

    Ok cool yeah I've read that AoA lights move faster..do they have the same level of quality of the lights that come with Daz?

    Also I love Uberenvironment2..I'd be able to mix and match AoA lights with uberenvironment2 right? I would like to get the Uber lights pack just based off of how much I like Uberenvironment but I'm afraid that it would slow down my render times too much.

  • CybersoxCybersox Posts: 7,375
    edited December 1969

    404nicg said:
    Up to this point, I've been getting some pretty good results by mixing Uberenvironment2 with some well placed daz spotlights and fill lights but I still have some improving to do.

    I was looking into investing in some new lighting products and wanted to see if anybody had knowledge of both the AOA light set and the Omnifreaker UberLights that they could give me some insight for making a decision on which to purchase as well as outlining some pros and cons of each.

    I tend to render stories as opposed to single portraits or single scenes, so balancing render speed with quality is pretty important to me.

    Also, I noticed that the omnifreaker lights are referred to as "light shaders" . Is that different from what the AoA lights and the Daz standard lights are?

    And lastly, if it makes any difference, MOST but not all of my scenes tend to take place indoors. Thanks for your time.


    For speed, there's nothing that comes even close to the AoA lights. Even straight out of the box they're so much faster than the Uberlights that it's like comparing a moped to a Ferrari. And once you start tweaking with the settings they not only become even faster (we're talking moped versus a jet plane level of difference) but they also allow you to light scenes in ways that are simply impossible with any other lights. That said, some of the UE lights have unique abilities as well, and the ability to turn surfaces into light sources make them a really useful set of tools to have on hand. I find that the fasterst workflow is to do almost all of my setup and prelim work using a mix of the AoAs and the standard lights and then add Uberlights if I think I need them.
  • CybersoxCybersox Posts: 7,375
    edited December 1969

    404nicg said:
    AoA lights are much faster. They are what I use exclusively for my promos right now. Some people prefer the look of UE lights and the way they handle ambient occlusion. This is a matter of personal preference. If you master either tool you can get good renders.

    Ok cool yeah I've read that AoA lights move faster..do they have the same level of quality of the lights that come with Daz?

    Also I love Uberenvironment2..I'd be able to mix and match AoA lights with uberenvironment2 right? I would like to get the Uber lights pack just based off of how much I like Uberenvironment but I'm afraid that it would slow down my render times too much.
    Honestly, I like the look of the AoA lights a lot more than I like UE's. The ability to vary the diameter and intensity of the area affected by the the ambient lights makes for a much more realistic fill light when lighting large environments.

  • 404nicg404nicg Posts: 264
    edited December 1969

    404nicg said:
    Up to this point, I've been getting some pretty good results by mixing Uberenvironment2 with some well placed daz spotlights and fill lights but I still have some improving to do.

    I was looking into investing in some new lighting products and wanted to see if anybody had knowledge of both the AOA light set and the Omnifreaker UberLights that they could give me some insight for making a decision on which to purchase as well as outlining some pros and cons of each.

    I tend to render stories as opposed to single portraits or single scenes, so balancing render speed with quality is pretty important to me.

    Also, I noticed that the omnifreaker lights are referred to as "light shaders" . Is that different from what the AoA lights and the Daz standard lights are?

    And lastly, if it makes any difference, MOST but not all of my scenes tend to take place indoors. Thanks for your time.


    For speed, there's nothing that comes even close to the AoA lights. Even straight out of the box they're so much faster than the Uberlights that it's like comparing a moped to a Ferrari. And once you start tweaking with the settings they not only become even faster (we're talking moped versus a jet plane level of difference) but they also allow you to light scenes in ways that are simply impossible with any other lights. That said, some of the UE lights have unique abilities as well, and the ability to turn surfaces into light sources make them a really useful set of tools to have on hand. I find that the fasterst workflow is to do almost all of my setup and prelim work using a mix of the AoAs and the standard lights and then add Uberlights if I think I need them.


    Wow I didn't realize the difference in speed was THAT profound...thanks for this. How does the speed of UberLights compare to the stock Daz lights?

  • 404nicg404nicg Posts: 264
    edited December 1969

    404nicg said:
    AoA lights are much faster. They are what I use exclusively for my promos right now. Some people prefer the look of UE lights and the way they handle ambient occlusion. This is a matter of personal preference. If you master either tool you can get good renders.

    Ok cool yeah I've read that AoA lights move faster..do they have the same level of quality of the lights that come with Daz?

    Also I love Uberenvironment2..I'd be able to mix and match AoA lights with uberenvironment2 right? I would like to get the Uber lights pack just based off of how much I like Uberenvironment but I'm afraid that it would slow down my render times too much.


    Honestly, I like the look of the AoA lights a lot more than I like UE's. The ability to vary the diameter and intensity of the area affected by the the ambient lights makes for a much more realistic fill light when lighting large environments.

    Well the main thing that pulled me in with Uberenvironment was how simple it was to tweak and get good results. I'm guessing the ambient light that comes with the AoA bundle would work similarly anyway. Also you can't beat the price.

  • KhoryKhory Posts: 3,847
    edited December 1969

    I am a huge fan of UE2 to give fill light for spaces so it is almost always my go to fill light for scenes. But I don't think your going to gain anything with purchasing the Uberenviroment light from the store. If I recall correctly it is the older version of the included UE2.

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,878
    edited December 1969

    UE2 is much more capable than AoA's Advanced Ambient Light. In addition to an ambient light, it's also an image based light (BL). There's also other modes like indirect lighting and bounce light (actual GI). It is limited to diffuse light only, so you need to combine it with other lights (that can cast specular). If you use the indirect/bounce GI mode, be sure to pickup mustakettu85's script that enables ray caching to speed up UE2 up to 10x.

    As for the speed, I actually think UE2 is faster in just pure AO mode, particularly when properly configured and combined with ds Shader Lights. The shader lights exposes some parameter you can tweak like samples and distance based falloff (not present in the default lights except for the linear point light).

    The main drawback with UE2 is that you can't use it with UberArea lights and omnifreaker's shaders. If you use UE2 and UberArea lights to light surfaces with omnifreaker's surfaces (HSS, UberSurface and UberSurface 2), the UberArea lights don't cast specular lights. Though to be honest, UberArea lights were never meant to emit specular (but do if there's no ambient light in the scene).

    The main appeal of AoA's lights is the flagging feature, which when combined with the other features, allows you to apply lights to specific objects/surfaces, with different samples or shading mode. This can be useful in rendering surfaces with opacity maps (like hair) that UE2 will render much slowly.. However, you can use UberSurface to force overriding occlusion shading rate for such surfaces so that will render much faster even with UE2.

    If you want the quickest render time, the best combination seem to be UE2 and AoA's Advanced Distant/Spot lights.Like Adv Ambient Light, the Adv Distant/Spot Light allows flagging and offers a lot more options to tweak compared to ds default lights or Shader lights.

  • Steven-VSteven-V Posts: 727
    edited December 1969

    I think the real answer here is, you have to use the light that is most appropriate to what you are trying to accomplish. Each of the lights has advantages and disadvantages, and each can be used to apply different effects. Sometimes you want the kind of effect you can only get from an intense spotlight. Other times you want the type of effect you'd get from a softbox. Sometimes you're indoors. Sometimes you're outdoors. Sometimes you want shadows. Sometimes you don't. Each of the lights is better at some things than others.

    One thing I will say, is that if you are concerned whether buying the advanced lights by AOA is worth it, don't be: they ARE worth it. The #1 benefit of these lights is that theyc an be set to illuminate surfaces selectively. For example, in one scene (which I was mostly lighting with DAZ Distant and IBL UE2 lights!), just because of how the scene was set up, one of the characters had a face that was a little too dark. But if I put any other normal light in the scene, the whole scene would have become too bright. AoA spotlight to the rescue: Set the surface of her face, and ONLY her face, to 99.8% diffuse, and set the AoA spot to only illuminate 99.8% surfaces. Viola! Instantly brighter face without harming the rest of the scene.

    With AoA's selective lighting, I have been able to avoid doing postwork in some scenes -- for example, in the above case, I probably would have turned the whole scene off but her face and re-lit/rendered and then in PS I would have composited her face back into the scene as a screen layer and then messed with the opacity to get the right result. And although that works, I'd rather just have the scene come out right in the first place.

    Another thing I'll say is that for indoors, Advanced Ambient is very nice because the light shines outward from it. A lot of light sources, like distant lights, will require you to turn off shadows or else take down walls/ceilings to let the light shine in, and lighting these scenes, especially if you are shooting a sequence with camera turn-arounds like in a movie or a comic-book sequence, can be VERY tricky. Advanced Ambient helps solve this problem but generating light outward.

    But the same can be said of the UberArea Sphere and other objects like that as well. Each has its benefits, each has its uses, and each does something better than the other lights. For instance, IBL can be very useful, especially for outdoor situations.

    In the end I would say this: Like with anything else in DAZ, the more options you have, the better you can bring your scene from the imagination to the rendered product as nearly as you want. The more lights you have, the more you can try until you get your scene exactly right. Distant Light not working? Try IBL. IBL not working? Try Advanced Ambient. And so on.

  • MystiarraMystiarra Posts: 34,863
    edited December 1969

    the AOA Advanced lights gives extra parameter sliders. must haves !!! at the very least the advanced distant light.

    unless you like shadow shmootz and inky black shadows. ;)

    there's a few uber upgrades in the store by omnifreaker - worth the time to read the instructions. :lol:

  • 404nicg404nicg Posts: 264
    edited December 1969

    Thank you to everyone who has replied so far! You guys got me leaning towards AoA

  • SpitSpit Posts: 2,329
    edited December 1969

    404nicg said:
    Thank you to everyone who has replied so far! You guys got me leaning towards AoA

    If you're using Studio 4.7 there is some problem with the flagging (an important feature of AoA lights). I'm not sure if the problem is just that the flagging is opposite of what it says, or it it's totally messed up. I haven't updated Studio yet and am just waiting.

  • 404nicg404nicg Posts: 264
    edited December 1969

    Spit said:
    404nicg said:
    Thank you to everyone who has replied so far! You guys got me leaning towards AoA

    If you're using Studio 4.7 there is some problem with the flagging (an important feature of AoA lights). I'm not sure if the problem is just that the flagging is opposite of what it says, or it it's totally messed up. I haven't updated Studio yet and am just waiting.

    I am using Studio 4.7. Now when you say flagging, what is that?

  • KhoryKhory Posts: 3,847
    edited December 1969

    inky black shadows.

    All the basic studio lights have intensity settings for shadow so they are fully adjustable as far as how dark/deep the shadows are.

  • HavosHavos Posts: 4,196
    edited December 1969

    404nicg said:
    Spit said:
    404nicg said:
    Thank you to everyone who has replied so far! You guys got me leaning towards AoA

    If you're using Studio 4.7 there is some problem with the flagging (an important feature of AoA lights). I'm not sure if the problem is just that the flagging is opposite of what it says, or it it's totally messed up. I haven't updated Studio yet and am just waiting.

    I am using Studio 4.7. Now when you say flagging, what is that?

    Spit is refering to the flagging ability of the advanced lights. By changing the diffuse value of a surface to 99% (there are other ways to define a flag as well) you tell the lights to treat that particular surface differently. Normally this is to use a different shading rate or other render modifiers to speed up the render of items like hair, that will otherwise render slowly. It can also be used to say only a particular surface is illuminated by the light, or to say the light illuminates all surfaces except those flagged.

    Overall very useful. However since 4.7 this has been partially broken by not be able to flag skins using SSS shaders. You can still use the flagging as I said above, but not 100% like in 4.6.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 32,955
    edited December 1969

    Spit said:
    404nicg said:
    Thank you to everyone who has replied so far! You guys got me leaning towards AoA

    If you're using Studio 4.7 there is some problem with the flagging (an important feature of AoA lights). I'm not sure if the problem is just that the flagging is opposite of what it says, or it it's totally messed up. I haven't updated Studio yet and am just waiting.
    ...one area which has issues with 4.7 is when flagging skin that uses the SSS shaders.

    That said, I still use these lights almost exclusively and rarely bother with UE anymore due to the excessive render load it places on the CPU. The Advanced Spotlight in particular is extremely versatile. Besides flagging, there are several falloff options to choose from (including squared which follows the inverse square rule), they can be turned into point lights by setting the spread to 360° and inner angle to 100%, and they come with a scaleable set of GOBO filters for different lighting effects.

    True, for outdoor scenes you don't have GI, but the trade off is quicker render times. I've created a number of outdoor scenes just using a single Advanced Ambient and Distant light with excellent results. If I need the effect of bounce light, I just add a low intensity wide angle Spotlight with shadows turned off and flagged to create the effect on the surfaces where I need it. Yes it's a "cheat", but that is how the old Light Dome Pro2 worked to simulate GI as well, only with many more light sources. Attached is an example that just used this three light setup.

    Leela_Swimsuit_Final.jpg
    1250 x 1400 - 1M
  • GiGi_7GiGi_7 Posts: 1,176
    edited December 1969

    AOA lights can be used for creation of special shaders in shader mixer or shader builder.

  • 404nicg404nicg Posts: 264
    edited December 1969

    Dang that sucks about the falloff. So is AoA still a good purchase even without that feature for however long until they get it fixed or should I hold off?

  • Steven-VSteven-V Posts: 727
    edited December 1969

    Yes, AoA is a good purchase, IMO. Not all characters have SSS, and frankly, when I've used SSS, I haven't seen much improvement in the look of the skin except in very specific lighting/camera conditions. Most of the time I just turn it off.

  • SpitSpit Posts: 2,329
    edited December 1969

    Kyoto Kid said:
    Spit said:
    404nicg said:
    Thank you to everyone who has replied so far! You guys got me leaning towards AoA

    If you're using Studio 4.7 there is some problem with the flagging (an important feature of AoA lights). I'm not sure if the problem is just that the flagging is opposite of what it says, or it it's totally messed up. I haven't updated Studio yet and am just waiting.


    ...one area which has issues with 4.7 is when flagging skin that uses the SSS shaders.

    That said, I still use these lights almost exclusively and rarely bother with UE anymore due to the excessive render load it places on the CPU. The Advanced Spotlight in particular is extremely versatile. Besides flagging, there are several falloff options to choose from (including squared which follows the inverse square rule), they can be turned into point lights by setting the spread to 360° and inner angle to 100%, and they come with a scaleable set of GOBO filters for different lighting effects.

    True, for outdoor scenes you don't have GI, but the trade off is quicker render times. I've created a number of outdoor scenes just using a single Advanced Ambient and Distant light with excellent results. If I need the effect of bounce light, I just add a low intensity wide angle Spotlight with shadows turned off and flagged to create the effect on the surfaces where I need it. Yes it's a "cheat", but that is how the old Light Dome Pro2 worked to simulate GI as well, only with many more light sources. Attached is an example that just used this three light setup.

    Love it. That extra spotlight really gives it that sunny-at-the-beach look!

    Here's an outdoor one using only AoA ambient at a lowish intensity and one AoA distant light. That's all. (way in the back is an image.)

    Til-Later-Then.jpg
    900 x 900 - 180K
  • HavosHavos Posts: 4,196
    edited February 2015

    404nicg said:
    Dang that sucks about the falloff. So is AoA still a good purchase even without that feature for however long until they get it fixed or should I hold off?

    In my opinion they are still a good purchase, and the one thing known to be broken has not affected me as yet, and I upgraded to 4.7 some time ago. Normally I do not flag the skin's anyway, only the hair (although Kyoto Kid pointed out a good reason why one might need to flag a skin in particular circumstances).

    The bottom line, for me anyway, is quality against speed. I do not have the patience to wait for a render that takes hours (particularly as my PC sounds like a jet engine when rendering), for me any render over 5 minutes is too long. These lights allow me to get a pretty good result in that time frame even with overall shading rates as low as 0.5. I definitely recommend them, and along with Generation X, is the most useful purchase I have ever made for DS.

    Post edited by Havos on
  • KeryaKerya Posts: 9,856
    edited December 1969

    AoA - all the way ... I like the flagging (as I never flagged SSS skin I even didn't find out it is broken in 4.7, only by reading the forums).

    And better yet the bundle http://www.daz3d.com/advanced-daz-studio-light-bundle

    Picture below is rendered with AoA ambient and distant lights

    InTheGlade.jpg
    1280 x 960 - 756K
  • BarubaryBarubary Posts: 1,148
    edited December 1969

    To me it seems, while UE might be the more capable product, Advanced Ambient has much documentation and is quite a bit easier to learn to use. UE, counterintuitively, seems like the more advanced option, hard to get into, but overall a bit more powerful, the only drawback seems to be the flagging feature.


    However, what I find a bit disturbing is that AoA seems to have dropped off the face of the planet. And DAZ didn't address to conflict between the advanced lights and the Studio 4.7 at all. So I am not sure if the Advanced Lights line of items is really future-proof. Maybe DAZ breaks compatibility even more in the next update and no one might be there to fix it.

  • SickleYieldSickleYield Posts: 7,358
    edited December 1969

    Barubary said:
    To me it seems, while UE might be the more capable product, Advanced Ambient has much documentation and is quite a bit easier to learn to use. UE, counterintuitively, seems like the more advanced option, hard to get into, but overall a bit more powerful, the only drawback seems to be the flagging feature.


    However, what I find a bit disturbing is that AoA seems to have dropped off the face of the planet. And DAZ didn't address to conflict between the advanced lights and the Studio 4.7 at all. So I am not sure if the Advanced Lights line of items is really future-proof. Maybe DAZ breaks compatibility even more in the next update and no one might be there to fix it.

    Are we certain there's a conflict at all? Reinstalling my AoA lights caused them to work perfectly again for me.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 32,955
    edited December 1969

    404nicg said:
    Dang that sucks about the falloff. So is AoA still a good purchase even without that feature for however long until they get it fixed or should I hold off?

    ...the falloff for the spotlights works fine, it's surface flagging that has some issues with Daz 4.7
  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 32,955
    edited December 1969

    Spit said:

    Love it. That extra spotlight really gives it that sunny-at-the-beach look!

    Here's an outdoor one using only AoA ambient at a lowish intensity and one AoA distant light. That's all. (way in the back is an image.)


    ...thank you, Working with simulating bounce light on a new scene that has a lot of concrete

    BTW yours looks really nice as well.

    I tend to like the more "painterly" style like I used to get with the old LDP2 and find can achieve that again with the AoA lights.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 32,955
    edited February 2015

    Barubary said:
    To me it seems, while UE might be the more capable product, Advanced Ambient has much documentation and is quite a bit easier to learn to use. UE, counterintuitively, seems like the more advanced option, hard to get into, but overall a bit more powerful, the only drawback seems to be the flagging feature.


    However, what I find a bit disturbing is that AoA seems to have dropped off the face of the planet. And DAZ didn't address to conflict between the advanced lights and the Studio 4.7 at all. So I am not sure if the Advanced Lights line of items is really future-proof. Maybe DAZ breaks compatibility even more in the next update and no one might be there to fix it.

    Are we certain there's a conflict at all? Reinstalling my AoA lights caused them to work perfectly again for me.
    ...I did the same and the flagging with SSS still doesn't work right. It was also no help with the Atmospheric and Graphic Art Cameras either.


    As to AoA "disappearing", he also created "real" wearable armour and I understand, working with the metals had some nasty side effects. I am hoping he is alright. Went to his site but there were no updates as to what was happening.

    I am surprised Daz has not contacted him.

    Post edited by kyoto kid on
  • CybersoxCybersox Posts: 7,375
    edited February 2015

    Thought I'd toss in a few of my own AoA tests. This one is just one AoA ambient light and 1 AoA distant light.

    viking_test_2.jpg
    2000 x 2000 - 1M
    Post edited by Cybersox on
  • CybersoxCybersox Posts: 7,375
    edited December 1969

    And another 2 light set up. 1 AoA Ambient and 1 Distant light.

    Entrance_Exam.jpg
    1159 x 1500 - 789K
  • SickleYieldSickleYield Posts: 7,358
    edited December 1969

    Kyoto Kid said:
    Barubary said:
    To me it seems, while UE might be the more capable product, Advanced Ambient has much documentation and is quite a bit easier to learn to use. UE, counterintuitively, seems like the more advanced option, hard to get into, but overall a bit more powerful, the only drawback seems to be the flagging feature.


    However, what I find a bit disturbing is that AoA seems to have dropped off the face of the planet. And DAZ didn't address to conflict between the advanced lights and the Studio 4.7 at all. So I am not sure if the Advanced Lights line of items is really future-proof. Maybe DAZ breaks compatibility even more in the next update and no one might be there to fix it.

    Are we certain there's a conflict at all? Reinstalling my AoA lights caused them to work perfectly again for me.


    ...I did the same and the flagging with SSS still doesn't work right. It was also no help with the Atmospheric and Graphic Art Cameras either.


    As to AoA "disappearing", he also created "real" wearable armour and I understand, working with the metals had some nasty side effects. I am hoping he is alright. Went to his site but there were no updates as to what was happening.

    I am surprised Daz has not contacted him.

    Oh, so it's a flagging issue! I was confused. I don't use that feature enough for it to stop me using the lights, really.

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