# Tutorial Uber Area Lighting: The Basics

• Posts: 10,634
edited December 1969

Area lights do not cast light as a spot, distant or point light does in the viewport (working) window. But when it renders the then the area lights have directionality etc etc.

Area light falloff. If you set the start to 0 and the end to say 100 (1 meter) using the "Inverse Square Law" of light fading at a set mathematical formula. So it will be the brightest at the start and fade out over that 1 meter to nothing at a rate defined by the Inverse SQ Law. You will need to google that.

• Posts: 2,933
edited December 1969

Hi again folks,

I'm glad y'all managed to find the Shader Builder pane =) You do realise you can make the glow different colours, too, right?

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Sertorial said:
wow! this works fantastically! But tell me... how did you find all these new shaders? I had no idea there was even something called shader builder and that it was full of all kinds of cool extra shaders?! How did you know that?

Because I'm a dinosaur =D It's been there since DS3 that had fewer ways to get lost in the interface =)

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When I do 1600x1200 finals, I bump shadow up to 64, and shading rate down to 0.020 (or lower), and ray trace depth out to 4, occasionally 8 For "Casting Reflections" Set.
...
Shadow Samples only goes up to 64 with Daz Studio 3Delight, How do I make it go higher, 'IF' that is what you were thinking?
...

Zarcon,

First of all, if you do such hi-res stuff as 1600x1200, you do not really need the "crazy" (=time-consuming) 0.02 shading rate. 0.1 is more than sufficient, and maybe even 0.2 - 0.5. Definition: "1/shading rate = how many times to shade each pixel". It makes sense to make it low (slow) when rendering smaller size pictures, for them to be as crisp as the bigger ones.
Try testing whether you DO see the difference...

What you may want to set higher is pixel samples. I always go with XY 8. Helps with detail.

You do know that - if you are not using GI - raytrace depth should be based on number of inter-reflections/refractions possible in your scene? It won't make the render better if you go higher, but may make it slower. Age of Armour has very useful schemes for calculating the necessary depth here in the guide to one of his shaders:

Now, your light setup. If you decide to try out my suggestions, you should probably save another copy of your scene to play with.

1) Better light shaders for the spotlights: I've attached a screenshot of the way "My Library" looks in my DS; it shows how to find various free lights coming with DS that are fairly indispensable. The dzLights are basically the same as those you create from the menu, but better: a) they are faster with raytraced shadows; b) they have more controls. So you can control their own shadow samples from their parameters.

Their downside is that you HAVE to keep CTRL pressed when loading them, to make them ADD themselves not replace. Then you can load as many dzSpotlights in your scene as you need, copy & paste the settings from your old lights (if they are parented to something, parent the dzSpotlights to the same object before you paste) and delete the old lights.

2) Have you checked if Fill Lights 1 and 2 and Back Left Sky are actually contributing to the render? If you turn them off and re-render, does it change much?

3) What happens if you turn them all three off, load UberEnvironment2 (see the screenshot for where it is located; if you're on Windows, keep CTRL pressed when clicking just in case and select "Add" in the menu that pops up - so that it does not overwrite the lights already in your scene), select UE2 in the Scene tab and load some preset map you like and quality setting (Hi is good) from its folder?

I'm taking you through this because the rule of thumb would be... the fewer lights in the scene, the better. a) Easier to manage; b) FASTER. That's what the movie pros are saying these days, too: they recommend a sole environment light with AO instead of tons of fill spotlights or brighter-coloured shadows. So, shadows should all be black - which should also render faster this way (in theory; I haven't checked actually).

UE2 will only do diffuse illumination, though. Not specular. So what you may want to do is keep those lights of yours (if their effect is actually visible!), but try setting them to Specular only. Then you do not need high shadow samples (but you do need a shadow, even if they are spec-only!)

More stuff on using UE2:
http://www.omnifreaker.com/index.php?title=UberEnvironment2 - the basics
http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/5320/ - an indepth test

4) Try setting the UberArea intensities to different values/colours or putting one further away from her, to make the lighting less uniform (unless you're consciously striving for symmetry there).

What is that Samples thing actually do? Is it the number of points on the panel that emit light, the number of rays emitted from each pixel on the surface, or something else?

I don't know how this particular shader was written, but area lights should actually sample backwards: cast shadow rays from the shaded surface point to find the light surface. So it should be shadow rays from a surface point.

// these "samples" are shadow samples; shadow rays (transmission rays) are different from all the other rays... not the real world here =) this is why there can be lights that do not cast shadows... though in general, that's an obsolete practice - every light should have a shadow on or AO in the age of raytracing everything //

• Posts: 5,412
edited June 2014

one over 'R', is the root problem. It's a big room, and where I can put the lights so there out of my way, is quite distant.
I set the fall-off at 1000 (a-thousand), and still had to bring up the intensity to 150% in that last render.

The only two spot-lights left, are behind her. An attempt to get that glean on the edge of the hair. The others have been completely replaced.

I will look into UE, however for my work. I want to avoid putting a light in a set, unless a light fixture can actually go there. I also don't want to have impossible lights. The only lights that had a shadow other then black, was an attempt to mimic light reflecting off the floor of the room. (Edit; The lights were on the floor)

Now to try to digest that really long post. lol.
(edit)
The attached is a work in progress. I just realized the floor diffuse color was white. oops, lol.
The floor is now mid gray, mat finish.

Post edited by ZarconDeeGrissom on
• Posts: 5,412
edited December 1969

I just got sidetracked by that tree of threads about Gama Correction. Looks like there was some talk about the code (programing) of the different lighting systems, and a hint to how they actually implement the effects of lighting. Mec4D and that shadow map thing has me asking a question about the Uber panel lights.

dose the size of the panel in the scene, actually control the size of the surface the light is emitted from? Or is the panel only a "placeholder" for where the light is coming from?

What is that "rotation issues with UE2" that evilded777 referred to? Is that like the barefoot dancer sky-dome rotating with the point of view, instead of sticking to the orientation of the ground?

• Posts: 5,412
edited December 1969

Mustakettu85

The shading rate was tested to an extent, and I found that 0.25 was about average for what I do. However for real reflections of figures, the edges of the body appear grainy until the sample rate is dropped to ridiculous amounts.

1 I thought the lights in that menu was the DzLights. Much to look at.

2 I am always messing with the lights so they don't cast shadows from a hand or arm across the figure. Lights I don't need get deleted from the scene, or added if needed as the scene develops.

I'm thinking of replacing the sky lights with a larger Uber panel, tho I'm not sure how that will effect render time, or if it will work at all.

3 Multi-part I see. You were suggesting the graininess may be from a low shadow-sample setting in 3delight, lol. Turned out to be a low sample setting in the uber panels, with a Default of only 8. 32 is much better.

I'll look at them UE and DzLights now.

• Posts: 1,588
edited June 2014

Zarcon I use a quicker solution for reflections you may find acceptable:

I change the shader on the object that will be the mirror to Ubersurface and use the 'reflection blur' that shader provides.

These images are both at a shading rate of 2.00

...the second image has the reflection blur set to 2%

Post edited by prixat on
• Posts: 5,412
edited December 1969

How dose that Uber reflection surface, derive that reflection.
How is it different then the default primitive?

• Posts: 1,588
edited December 1969

The reflection is derived in the same way but I think the blurring is done by introducing noise to the reflection angle.

Unfortunately that leads to 'only noise and no signal' after about 5 bounces, so you couldn't use it in this scenario:

• Posts: 5,412
edited June 2014

yea, I see that on the first reflection of the surfer in that render. Looks just like the Onyx piller in my "Casting Reflections" with SR above 0.025 the edg gets noisy.

Well, I finally got a small testbed of things together for looking at lights. We'll just ignore the Shadow Bias effects for now, (I'm setting it to 0.1 for all lights that don't default to that).

menu spotlight ("Cans" I call them), and the Uber-Light-Camera from page 1 (pic 3) with the rectangular panels.

I'm off to find and figure out that UE2 thing now.
(edit)

Post edited by ZarconDeeGrissom on
• Posts: 5,412
edited June 2014

UE2 default settings across the board, No Other Lights At All.

Well I honestly don't know what to think. Some things look like they have potential, yet the whole thing is a complete mess. Looks like there is a complete encyclopedia set of threads to read threw before I can figure out why the spheres are so grainy, to say the least.

Post edited by ZarconDeeGrissom on
• Posts: 13,706
edited December 1969

Whats your shading rate and shadow bias on the UE2 light. I don't remember what they are by default

• Posts: 5,412
edited June 2014

I see three settings there that it could be. Occlusion Samples, Shading Rate (OMG that huge 32 not 0.25), Max Error (can I set that to none?).

(Edit)
I'm only to page 5
http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/5320/
I have yet to read Any of the links in the first post.

Post edited by ZarconDeeGrissom on
• Posts: 5,412
edited December 1969

I will discus UE2 there, and Uber Lights here. In Respect for Szark, and adamr001.
http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/5320/

I have a tone of questions regarding the Uber lights here, that as this typing, are pending answers.

• Posts: 2,407
edited December 1969

Hey Szark, While I was working on making my bike's lights light up properly, you mentioned adjusting the shading rate of Uber Area lights in the Surfaces tab. I don't have that option. The only Shading Rate adjustment I can make is in my Render Settings tab, and that's already set to .20, yet I'm still getting grain when I use Uber Area Lights. How do I adjust the shading rate of Uber Area Lights?

• Posts: 0
edited December 1969

He Means Samples, all Uber lights have a Samples setting this is what the Quality Settings set for the Uber Enviro from the icons...

• Posts: 2,407
edited December 1969

He Means Samples, all Uber lights have a Samples setting this is what the Quality Settings set for the Uber Enviro from the icons...
OK, What should I set the Samples at to get rid of the graininess? the Samples setting is currently set to 8. for my Uber Area Lights.
• Posts: 0
edited December 1969

The rates for Uber Enviro are 4 8 16 32 64 and 128 So I suggest 64 or 128 for best output.

• Posts: 2,407
edited December 1969

The rates for Uber Enviro are 4 8 16 32 64 and 128 So I suggest 64 or 128 for best output.
I'll give it a try. Hopefully it won't crash the program.
• Posts: 5,412
edited July 2014

What Jaderail, stated 64-128. The default of 8, is grossly inadequate for renders around 1600x1200 in size.

I'd say absolute minimum of 32, while you set up the lights, then go way higher later on. (what Szark also mentioned, way back on page 1)
(edit)
Now I don't know yet for the panels that have been made larger then the default size. Yet.

Post edited by ZarconDeeGrissom on
• Posts: 10,634
edited December 1969

Depending on what surfaces used in a scene 16 samples and high quality render settings will do fine.

• Posts: 5,412
edited December 1969

New Uber Lights Q. Applying an UberAreaLightBase.duf to a plant. then when I move the plant, the light source stays at world center???

Is the UberAreaLight what I'm looking for? or am I doing something wrong?

• Posts: 10,634
edited December 1969

that is not a light source but a Headlamp (preview light) blocker. This is needed when you don't have any other normal lights in a scene to tell 3Delight that there is a light source in the scene so it should turn off the preview light. Normal light, spot, point, distant etc do this automatically.

• Posts: 5,412
edited August 2014

ok, then out of curiosity. If I want to turn that "Stickball plant" into a light source??? Or is Uber lights not the one I'm looking for?
(edit)
The funny thing is, The Uber light controls are now in it's surface settings.

Post edited by ZarconDeeGrissom on
• Posts: 10,634
edited December 1969

Yes the only why to have a mesh emit light is using Mesh (Area) lighting. And don't be confused with emitting light and glowing they are two separate channels of the Area Light base. One control the intensity of the emitted light and the other Ambient strength to make it glow as I showed in the tutorial in the last bit.

Yes Area lighting is a surface based light so they will be in the surfaces pane, again as I mentioned in the tutorial. :)

• Posts: 10,634
edited December 1969

PS I am off to bed now...1.14 am here. If you have other questions I will answer them sometime tomorrow after I get some decorating done. Man I hate painting.

• Posts: 5,412
edited August 2014

I'll read that again, lol. I'm missing something stupid. Aside from a headlight-blocker. loaded a DzLight and tossed it outside of the box.

I replaced the balloon with a ball-plant light, lol.
(edit)
I need to get some shuteye eventually, I have lots of reading to do. chat later, and thanks.

Post edited by ZarconDeeGrissom on
• Posts: 10,634
edited December 1969

In the morning let me know what exactly you want to do and I will take you through it. Good night, sleep well.

• Posts: 994
edited December 1969

I mounted an area light plane onto one of my cameras as you suggested and tried to use it on a low intensity to slightly lighten my dark shadows when shooting into shaded areas (because I hate using UberEnvironmentLight). But no matter how I changed the intensity of the light it just wouldn't make any difference to the final render. I was pulling my hair out in frustration until I finally realised that I had the normals facing completely the wrong way! Lol

Works like a charm now.

Good tutorial Pete, thanks. I read the whole thing this time :)

• Posts: 10,634
edited December 1969

My pleasure and look at it this way you won't make that mistake again. :)

• Posts: 5,412
edited November 2014

tl155180 said:
I mounted an area light plane onto one of my cameras as you suggested and tried to use it on a low intensity to slightly lighten my dark shadows when shooting into shaded areas (because I hate using UberEnvironmentLight). But no matter how I changed the intensity of the light it just wouldn't make any difference to the final render. I was pulling my hair out in frustration until I finally realised that I had the normals facing completely the wrong way! Lol

Works like a charm now.

Good tutorial Pete, thanks. I read the whole thing this time :)

What is this "normals"? is that the "Angle" in the surface tab, The thing everyone seams to set to 180 or zero, when it should be kept at 89.90... or something somewhere else?
Post edited by ZarconDeeGrissom on