Buying lights - worth the money?

XoechZXoechZ Posts: 792
edited December 1969 in DAZ Studio Discussion

I have done all my renders so far with the lights that come with DS4. The results got always better with more experience and testing. Lightning is really an important factor for good looking renders.

Now I am thinking of making even better renders with buying lights from the shop. But I want to know if they are really worth the money.

What do these lights better than the DS4 lights? Are the results really better or just "different"? Can I achieve the same results with DS4 lights with just spending more time in setting them up and tweaking the parameters?

Any opinions are very welcome to help me making a good decision :-)

Comments

  • waningmoonwaningmoon Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    i think that would largely depend on the time and effort you want to put into a render.

    a) you could buy a prefab lightset and use it as is.

    b) you could sink time into learning the ins and outs of lighting using forums tutorials and videos to be able to "roll your own" lights for your purposes.

    c) you could buy a few lightsets for the purposes of learning how they are constructed to understand their construction in order to go a middle road and cut time out of learning how to construct your own light rigs.

    regards,
    waningmoon

  • SickleYieldSickleYield Posts: 5,992
    edited December 1969

    What she said. You always want to know how to at least tweak the lights you've bought to aim them properly. Grab some freebie sets first to play with if you can.

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,759
    edited December 1969

    Great post waningmoon I couldn't agree more.

    Lighting products are definitely a mine field, just like many products like good hair and skin texture sets. But unlike props, hair and textures sets we have the tools inside Daz Studio as you have already said. When I first started I bought all manner of light sets thinking it would make my image better given I knew nothing, boy was I wrong. Some sets I never use/d as I found then wanting, some were gold in the fact that it taught me what is possible given time and learning. Now however I don't buy them unless they really stand out in a crowd and then I think long and hard.

    I look at this why if a light set catches my eye then I am not so much paying for the product but the vendor's knowledge. Example InaneGlory's freebie Photo Studio Lite taught me a lot about Mesh based lighting (call Area Lighting in daz Studio). Sorry don't have the link handy.

    I really like Uber Lights, Spot and Point as they have Fall Off settings, Shadow colour and intensity settings and Gel functionality. Not so much sets just more advanced lights than we have as standard in Daz Studio

  • XoechZXoechZ Posts: 792
    edited December 1969

    Thanks for the answers, very informative.

    Some time ago I bought Inane Glorys Photo Studio for the same reason Szark mentioned in his post. I thought better renders would come just by using it. But I was wrong. The only thing that they improved was the render times (3 to 4 times longer as with DS lights). So I never used it again.

    But now, as I am a bit more advanced and willing to learn, I want to try it again.

    Do you think that the Inane Glory Photo Studio is a good product to start? Or would you suggest me something else (like Lantios lights, ...)?
    Oh, and I dont want this to become a light advertisment thread, just some neutral suggestions would be helpful.

  • waningmoonwaningmoon Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    here i would fork the topic as far as answering the following. what do you want to do with your lights? are you wanting to understand 3d lighting or just get something good that you can put into a scene and tweak to your liking? will you be using 3Delight or another rendering engine? basic or more complex sets? UE or standard?

    it can get quite complex quite fast. i myself am returning to rendering after about 4 years with spotty periods in between. i am hitting the ground running, but i still have a workable knowledge of basic lighting from the past. i am looking forward to the challenges of advanced 3Delight lighting then dabbling in Luxrender further down the line.

    regards,
    waningmoon

  • XoechZXoechZ Posts: 792
    edited December 1969

    Well, what I want is to create good looking renders in DAZ Studio, so 3Delight engine. I do mostly basic scenes, but with more experience the scenes will be more complex. Of course, if you understand something (lights in this case) you can make better results.

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,759
    edited December 1969

    see my sig "Somethings to Consider when starting to learn CG" when you get time have a read. There is more to good images than good lighting. :) But good light is a very good start.

  • waningmoonwaningmoon Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Szark said:
    There is more to good images than good lighting. :) But good light is a very good start.

    don't you know it. tip of the iceberg and all that. :)

    regards,
    waningmoon

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,759
    edited December 1969

    I do and it is. :)

  • ReDaveReDave Posts: 815
    edited December 1969

    InaneGlory's photo studio lite was available here: http://forumarchive.daz3d.com/viewtopic.php?t=178340 (day 14 freebie), however the links are all dead. I think I recall there was another thread in which he posted an earlier version but I haven't found it. IIRC there were no mesh lights at all in it.
    The simplest lighting strategy is to use UberEnvironment 2 to provide "wrapping" light. Add a specular-only (spot-)light so as to not lose all specularity. To keep things simple, use Ubersurface on most surfaces as well, especially those that look poorly in test renders.
    If you have a photo and it doesn't render the same, you have every right to blame the shader and/or the render engine. 3Delight can deliver but requires a bit of coaxing (AKA studying, and it may not be easy, depending on your math/scientific inclination). As far as I know, the Lantios, InaneGlory etc all use UE2, but I only have one product of those, so I may be wrong.

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,759
    edited November 2012

    ReDave said:
    InaneGlory's photo studio lite was available here: http://forumarchive.daz3d.com/viewtopic.php?t=178340 (day 14 freebie), however the links are all dead. I think I recall there was another thread in which he posted an earlier version but I haven't found it. IIRC there were no mesh lights at all in it.
    .
    Sorry Redave you didn't IIRC this one. ;) I just loaded Photo Studio Lite and no UE2 in sight just two meshes with Area Light surfaces added as the image below shows. :)

    PSL.jpg
    1680 x 648 - 348K
    Post edited by Szark on
  • Kevin-McKeeKevin-McKee Posts: 644
    edited December 1969

    I would say that, if you're gonna spend any money on lights, I'd have to go with DimensionTheory's products ("Skies of Reality" and "Cloud Nine", for example). I've bought lights from other vendors, but in actual practice, I'm far likely to set up my own lights than I am to use someone else's. Taking the time to learn how to use DAZ's lights to best advantage is time well-spent.

  • XoechZXoechZ Posts: 792
    edited December 1969

    Ok, I did a light comparison. What I did is to set up a scene and render it 2 times. One time with the DS4 stock lights, and a second time with the Inane Glory Studio lights.

    Here is the result:

    Left is the DS4 stock light render, and right the IG light render. I did not tweak much, just set them up and hit render.

    What I see is that the colors are a bit different and the IG lights produce less and much softer shadows. But the general image quality of both renders is the same.

    lightcomp.jpg
    1280 x 800 - 666K
  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,759
    edited December 1969

    Nice I prefer the Area light image.

  • XoechZXoechZ Posts: 792
    edited December 1969

    Hello Szark!

    Yes, you are right, here the IG render looks better, but I think thats due to the colors. The right image looks a bit warmer and smoother, which is more eye pleasing.

    I tried to set up the scene as a night scene, so I made one light blueish. This had a quite good effect with the DS lights. With the IG lights I also turned one light into blue, which had - as you can see - almost no effect. So the handling of the lights is quite different. Too bad that I did not pay more attention to that.

    Maybe I do another test where I try to make the lights as similar as possible which will make it easier to compare.

  • ReDaveReDave Posts: 815
    edited December 1969

    Szark said:
    ReDave said:
    InaneGlory's photo studio lite was available here: http://forumarchive.daz3d.com/viewtopic.php?t=178340 (day 14 freebie), however the links are all dead. I think I recall there was another thread in which he posted an earlier version but I haven't found it. IIRC there were no mesh lights at all in it.
    .
    Sorry Redave you didn't IIRC this one. ;) I just loaded Photo Studio Lite and no UE2 in sight just two meshes with Area Light surfaces added as the image below shows. :)
    Ack, you're right. After checking my archives it turns out I was talking about Simple Soft Lighting. :-S Which I believe is the second (well, first one chronologically) freebie product of InaneGlory's.

    @XoechZ: as said, you should use UE2. If instead you want to use multiple standard lights,consider adding a bit of Ambient (you may have to reduce Diffuse Strength by a similar amount), reducing slightly the Specular Strength and decrease somewhat the Glossiness. With your lighting set-up you are obtaining too much of a gradient from highlight to glancing rays, which tends to destroy texture detail. also more low-intensity lights may help. Try also reducing the strength of your main light.

  • Serene NightSerene Night Posts: 5,433
    edited December 1969

    I'm a fan of pre-made lights. I find I just don't like messing around with lights, or tutorials. I think Predatron's light set has been one of my 100% favorite products. I use those all the time.

    Also, some figures like Ohia, come with great lights too. Love the Ohia light set.

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