Tutorial Uber Area Lighting: The Basics

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  • edited December 1969

    Thinking of reworking it a bit, so I'll keep that in mind. :)

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969

    look forward to seeing it.

  • Mage 13X13Mage 13X13 Posts: 359
    edited December 2013

    A lot of good info here, and it is nice to know someone is posting it. What I am trying to do is create a Light Beam that can be parented to the end of a laser weapon or other apparent source. I wish for it to have the ability to shine it's glow onto near objects in the scene, and to cast shadows from those objects. It needs to have good fall off, and the light must be emitted from the entire length of the beam.

    This beam would become a prop for use with beam type weapons, and power blasts from superhero hands or eyes. The intensity of the light itself was too low when using the Light tube included in DAZ Studio. I think that my settings may have something to do with that problem. Knowing what those setting should be would help greatly.

    Do you plan to put this into a PDF format?

    Post edited by Mage 13X13 on
  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969

    Mage easy question first yes when I get a chance I will be updating and making a PDF. but I cannot promise when.

    Ok for light beams well that is a tough one to answer.. Area lights don't make good spot or beam lights due to the nature of the light rays as noted in the tutorial so the spread of light is hard to control with area lights as opposed to spot lights. This is why Area lights don't work too well with Volumetric camera. Daz Studio does have Uber Volume cones that can be parented to spot lights which will give you a visible volumetric cone with light. though be prepared for a longer render when using those. And no it will not light sideways like you want.

    This is not to say you can't use a cone and apply the Uber Area Base, but when I tested it didn't give the desired focused spot of light.

    As for what settings well I cannot help with that. I have given the info as in Falloff terms 1.00 = 1 cm so 100 = 1 mtr. You are the only one who can decide what intensity and falloff to use which will depend on size of the object and scene etc.

    But I can help with making a cone and using the tools inside DS to make the flat end of the cone a separate mat zone for better light control and even to delete the pointy bit if needed.

  • Mage 13X13Mage 13X13 Posts: 359
    edited December 1969

    OK here is what I really want. First, the light does not have to be aimed at a point of focus, as that part will not be in the picture. This would work more like a light tube similar to a fluorescent tube. One end would be inside the nozzle of the weapon, or the palm of a hand, etc. The other end is to be beyond the view in the image. It would look like the beam has been fired in your general direction. As the beam passes near close objects, it's glow would appear on the surface of the object that faces it. The beam would need to be somewhat bright but still has a fall off rate that diminishes quickly in a small amount of radiant distance from the light source. Shadows would be cast by objects that are affected by the light from the beam.

    I tried the Light Tube and could get hardly any glow at all and the diameter of the tube was just 1 inch. Its length had to be fairly long, and I suspect that took away from the glow intensity.

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969

    Sorry for the late reply. personal time has been in short supply.

    Making an object bigger will lower the light intensity as noted in the tutorial so using a tube scaled like that will need the intensity increased.

    I did some testing

    Image 1: the basic scene with an Area Tube light.and Area Tube Surface settings

    The Area Tube light has the same properties just the fall off settings changed.

    Image 2: Fall off on, end set to 150.00 = 1.5 mtr as noted in image 1

    Image 3: Fall Off Start 80 and Fall Off End 100

    Image 4 : Fall Off Start 60 and Fall Off End 80

    Image 5: Fall Off Start 30 and Fall Off End 80

    Ultimately you will have to play around to find what suits your image. I can only guide you I cannot not tell you to set x, y and z.

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  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969

    Played around with the intensity and falloff a bit and this is what I ended up with. Thanks again for all your patience and help! :)
    I did a test using a Plane Primitive and applied Area Base and this was the result. No issue on my end at all.
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  • Mage 13X13Mage 13X13 Posts: 359
    edited December 1969

    Szark, thank you for your help, this may be exactly what I need. I have noticed that the render for such images is processor intensive, and mine can only take so much before my machine shuts itself down to protect its circuits (Toshiba Laptop). Is there a way to pause a render and resume it later in DAZ Studio? Something similar to the way that can be done in Bryce 7.1 Pro maybe? If so, would you know how I can get the info on how to do that?

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969

    My please Mage.

    No there is no way to pause renders in DS4.6 but I have found using the Spot Render Tool helps to render portions of the image and then composite them in GIMP or Photoshop.

    In Ds4.5+ select the Spot Render Tool under the Tool Menu.
    Open the Tool Settings Pane under Windows > Panes (Tabs)
    In the Tool Settings Pane select Render To "New Window".
    Set the rendered image size in the Render Settings Pane
    With the Spot Render tool draw a square/rectangle over the area to render.
    This will render that portion of the image at full size, the rest will be black.
    Repeat the process until the image is complete and merge then together in GIMP or =

    I have had to do this myself to render an image in DS4.5+ which is why I am still using DS3A but yes Area Lighting does take longer to render than normal lights.

    There are many ways to render parts of an image, like render each light separately and composite in GIMP but I haven't done that myself so I don't know the full process of compositing. I must learn that myself one day.

  • Mage 13X13Mage 13X13 Posts: 359
    edited December 1969

    Thanks for the info, I see that this is going to be a problem for me as I have no skills in PhotoShop, Gimp, or other image editors aside from Project Dogwaffle and MS Office PowerPoint. I'm really terrible at getting things to align thus far even in the ones I know! LOL

    I did do a work around, however. By exporting my posed figure and her hair, accessories, and clothing, then importing that into Bryce 7.1 Pro, where I setup my space environment, and created the Blast Beam, I was able to break the render into several sessions until I got it completed. Then I used post work to complete the Blast Beam intensity. You can view the image at DA. here is the link:
    http://agent-0013.deviantart.com/art/Lady-Silver-Surfer-s-Energy-Blast-417735665

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969

    No don't think like that...it is easier than you think.

    Example all the spot renders, rendered to a new window, will all be the same size governed by the size set in the render settings , the difference in each spot render is what part of the image you rendered. So it is a case of layering (drag and drop) each layer on top of each other and erasing the black bits.

    I am glad I have only needed to this once. :)

  • Mage 13X13Mage 13X13 Posts: 359
    edited December 1969

    Szark said:
    No don't think like that...it is easier than you think.

    Example all the spot renders, rendered to a new window, will all be the same size governed by the size set in the render settings , the difference in each spot render is what part of the image you rendered. So it is a case of layering (drag and drop) each layer on top of each other and erasing the black bits.

    I am glad I have only needed to this once. :)

    Guess I should grab the latest version of Gimp then, as i could never afford PhotoShop. Then I will have to find as many tutorials as possible on how it works. I really am a dummy concerning those programs!

    What I really need is a better computer. My measly 4 GB RAM and i3 processor is hard put to render anything complex like area lights. I can upgrade my machine but I think the money would be better spent getting a home PC with a more powerful processor, graphics card and more RAM. I'm currently looking for a good used HP with at least 8GB Ram (upgradable), an i7 processor, and a graphics card that exceeds substantially the requirements of DAZ Studio 4.6 Pro. I really only need the tower, since i already have my mouse, keyboard, and a nice flat 26 inch widescreen monitor/TV. I would like the tower to have Windows 7 on it as that is the one I know backwards and forwards, and I have noted that 8 and 8.1 are presenting many problems for folks with their older programs.

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969

    Take a look through my render thread and nearly all images were done on a Dual Core 2 GB Ram 32 bit system. At one time I had 4 GB Ram now I back to two. Postwork is a staple for me at the moment even if sometimes it is just overlaying rendered layers.

  • Mage 13X13Mage 13X13 Posts: 359
    edited December 1969

    I'm running the 64 bit versions of all applications I have that offer it. Of course my copy of DS3A is 32 bit, but I hardly use it. DAZ Studio 4.6 Pro, Blender 2.66, and Wings3D 1.5.1 are all 64 bit versions on my machine. Bryce 7.1 Pro, Hexagon 2.5, the aforementioned DS3A, UV Mapper Classic, and Paint Shop Pro 7 are all 32 bit. Once I get a better machine, I will be uninstalling most of these applications from my laptop and installing them on the better one. I will be putting my laptop into the shop for repairs and upgrades. Some upgrades and repairs I am able to do myself, while others will need someone more knowledgeable (unless I can find the instructions that will allow me to do them myself).

    Thanks for all your help! I will be grabbing the info you provide here for some time to come! :D

  • Takeo.KenseiTakeo.Kensei Posts: 1,303
    edited December 1969

    @Mage13x13 : you may consider using 3delight standalone render if you have problems rendering inside DS. See http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/17016/

    @Szark, I think there is a concept missing in your tutorial : the light decay parameter. the standard value is 2, meaning that the light falloff will follow inverse square rule.

    But for specific reasons, you could choose to change the value. Ex : putting it at 1 will make a linear falloff, which is easier for falloff calculations. Or you can put it at 4 so that the light falloff will be quicker

  • robfieldingrobfielding Posts: 4
    edited December 1969

    Hi Szark,
    Really great article. I'm a complete beginner at this so anything on these lines is incredibly helpful.
    I'll try some experiments in Daz 4.6 and see what I've learnt so far.
    I'm surprised that Lighting packages you buy don't come with pdf help files...maybe they do....but I've not discovered them yet.
    Thank you for your fantastic effort in writing this article.
    Cheers
    Rob

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969

    @Szark, I think there is a concept missing in your tutorial : the light decay parameter. the standard value is 2, meaning that the light falloff will follow inverse square rule.

    But for specific reasons, you could choose to change the value. Ex : putting it at 1 will make a linear falloff, which is easier for falloff calculations. Or you can put it at 4 so that the light falloff will be quicker

    Thanks yes they is nothing like writing a tut and then realising you know nowt. Yes there are a number of things I need to add and have a list of them so this will come in handy thanks Takeo.
  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969

    Hi Szark,
    Really great article. I'm a complete beginner at this so anything on these lines is incredibly helpful.
    I'll try some experiments in Daz 4.6 and see what I've learnt so far.
    I'm surprised that Lighting packages you buy don't come with pdf help files...maybe they do....but I've not discovered them yet.
    Thank you for your fantastic effort in writing this article.
    Cheers
    Rob
    Thank you
  • Mage 13X13Mage 13X13 Posts: 359
    edited December 1969

    @Mage13x13 : you may consider using 3delight standalone render if you have problems rendering inside DS. See http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/17016/

    @Szark, I think there is a concept missing in your tutorial : the light decay parameter. the standard value is 2, meaning that the light falloff will follow inverse square rule.

    But for specific reasons, you could choose to change the value. Ex : putting it at 1 will make a linear falloff, which is easier for falloff calculations. Or you can put it at 4 so that the light falloff will be quicker


    Thank you Takeo Kensei! I will certainly check into that.
    Someone else was telling me about Lux Render for DAZ Studio, but others are more for the DAZ 3Delight. It seems there is a difference of opinion as to which is better. Personally I have no opinion on that, because I do not know anything about Lux.

    Your info about the light decay setting is very interesting. I will want to check into that also.

  • robfieldingrobfielding Posts: 4
    edited December 1969

    Hi,
    Is there some sort of Lighting Glossary online that tells people a bit about Uber Lights, IBLs, Tube Lights etc
    Advantages of each type....and how to use them?
    Thank you
    RLFielding

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969

    Not that I know of but I do intend to extend this into a PDF and much larger in scope. These take an enormous amount of time to compile, test and lean more. Since writing that I haven't learnt more from questions asked and help from others on this thread. I have a good starting point but a lot needs rewriting and more info included and I have learnt to keep it to the matter at hand so it should flow better. :)

  • robfieldingrobfielding Posts: 4
    edited December 1969

    Thank you
    Rob

  • Jay JayJay Jay Posts: 277
    edited December 1969

    Thank you for this fantastic step by step guide! I'm really looking forward to trying this today

    Cheers

    Jay

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969

    my pleasure I hope it helps in some small way. :)

  • Jay JayJay Jay Posts: 277
    edited December 1969

    Thanks again for a great article Szark, I appreciate your spare time is limited but I wonder if you could advise me as I seem to be going wrong!

    Is it possible to be able to turn a primitive like say for example a sphere into an illuminating light source? But when it renders have the sphere actually be invisible but the light it casts out be visible so it spills onto nearby objects? I've tried but have no idea how to get this to work especially if I already have an Uber light in the scene

    Basically the idea is to use this method to create some 'practical' lighting to a scene before I then add additional stuff like for example magic effects in PS.

    Many thanks if you can advise.

    Cheers

    Jay

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969

    No problem, easy. :)

    However the answer is in post 1, second post from the top on page one under the command Fathom, first image. Turning on Fathom will hide the object in the render but still emit light.

  • Jay JayJay Jay Posts: 277
    edited December 1969

    Thanks again Szark,

    Sorry but am really being thick here!

    Thanks again

    Jay

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 2013

    Thick why?

    If you are still having issue then please speak up and I will go deeper, it is no problem and don't consider it thick just not grasping as fast as some others might. Man took me years to learn all this and as pointed out recently I need to learn more which I am.

    Post edited by Szark on
  • Jay JayJay Jay Posts: 277
    edited December 1969

    Thanks mate, I appreciate it.

    OK, I thought best to maybe detail what I'm doing so you can see where I'm slipping up!

    Step one, I called up the Warehouse set and found a suitable camera angle. Added the area light plane to the camera as you recommended on page one. (pic1). Incedently, what do you do with the Lamp Blocker? In the past I've parented it to the Plane

    Step two, I created a simple Sphere and positioned into the frame, selected its Surface and then browsed to the lighting tab and selected UberAreaLight Sphere. Hit Enter (Pic 2). As I'd expect the Area Light and its Blocker were in the middle of my scene so using the Transforms of the Sphere I just copied that to the UberAreaLight Sphere and its Blocker so that it appears just under the Sphere Primitive (Pic 3)

    Here's where I'm really stuck! Do I then parent the UberSphere and its blocker together and then parent to the Sphere Primitive? If so that's fine but when I render I just get a black screen with the white UberSphere light!

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  • SzarkSzark Posts: 10,633
    edited December 1969


    Thanks mate, I appreciate it.

    OK, I thought best to maybe detail what I'm doing so you can see where I'm slipping up!

    Step one, I called up the Warehouse set and found a suitable camera angle. Added the area light plane to the camera as you recommended on page one. (pic1). Incedently, what do you do with the Lamp Blocker? In the past I've parented it to the Plane
    Lamp blocker is only there to fool the Preview lights there are lights in the scene. You can move them any where you like I just leave them be where they load.

    Step two, I created a simple Sphere and positioned into the frame, selected its Surface and then browsed to the lighting tab and selected UberAreaLight Sphere. Hit Enter (Pic 2). As I'd expect the Area Light and its Blocker were in the middle of my scene so using the Transforms of the Sphere I just copied that to the UberAreaLight Sphere and its Blocker so that it appears just under the Sphere Primitive (Pic 3)

    Ok this is where ypu are going wrong.
    Uber Area Sphere actually loads a sphere with the Area base preset applied to the surfaces. So delete the first sphere and just use this one.
    Your wrong turn was not using Area Base preset on the first sphere when you had the surfaces selected.

    So to recap:
    Area Base Preset applies light emitting surfaces to any object with associated surfaces selected.
    Area Sphere, Plane, Disc, Neon and Tube all load geometry with light emitting surfaces applied.

    Here's where I'm really stuck! Do I then parent the UberSphere and its blocker together and then parent to the Sphere Primitive? If so that's fine but when I render I just get a black screen with the white UberSphere light!

    Lamp Blocker as mentioned is only there for one purpose, moving it has no effect.

    Given what you wrote it sounds like the first sphere was stopping the second sphere from emitting light.

    Hopefully that should get you going again.

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