DzLights 101, More then just the Menu Lights.

ZarconDeeGrissomZarconDeeGrissom Posts: 5,399
edited October 2014 in New Users

As a beginner, I simply used the Menu Lights, as I had no clue where anything was in the Content Library maze. The Menu Lights are simple to use, and they protect you from applying dangerous settings, lol.

I have been told that the Dz Lights are better, and (rephrased by me) faster to render under certain circumstances.

So here I am, I have a vague clue what some of the settings imply, and others I have no clue. To complicate matters, there are some differences with how the same settings applied to UE2 lights have drastically different results when applied to regular UberLights. Some Uber settings even override the "world" settings under certain circumstances. Given that, I am hesitant to just blindly mess with settings I have no clue about.

So to start with, Where are these "DzLights". They are also in the Smart tab, somewhere, for this the Content Library is easier.
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  • ZarconDeeGrissomZarconDeeGrissom Posts: 5,399
    edited July 2014

    And a glimpse at some of the settings, at there defaults, for the "DzSpotlight". I have yet to look at the other two (dzDistantLight, dzPointLight).

    Shadow Type, well for me it is "Ray-trace" always, as I want real light for my work.
    I have a clue as to what Shadow Color, Softness, and Shadow Bias is, I think.
    Same with (light) Intensity, Yet I'm confused by the extra "Intensity Scale".
    The rest, What dose it do? Do any of the settings alter the "World settings", and how do the settings differ from the super-simple Menu lights?

    Some of the settings almost look like a softness by means of adjusting the size of the light source, tho it is not exactly clear if that is what it dose.
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  • ZarconDeeGrissomZarconDeeGrissom Posts: 5,399
    edited July 2014

    "O" I find that they replace ALL lights is annoying. Even the hassle of holding the Ctrl key while clicking one, then changing the setting to "Add" from the default "Replace" is more work then I care for.

    1 load the light in an empty world.
    2 save the light as a "Scene Subset"
    3 load as many as you like of the "Scene Subset" DzLights, without ever dealing with that hassle again.

    It may even be possible to add the "Scene Subset" DzLights to the script menu by using that Right-click -> "Create Custom Action" thing. After the thing was made into a Scene-Subset.
    (I created sub-directories in "Scene Subsets", to organize things a tad bit)

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  • Richard HaseltineRichard Haseltine Posts: 69,964
    edited December 1969

    The settings under Display, apart from the visibility settings at the top, control the preview - if you have lots of lights in your scene they won't all be previewed, turning the render Priority upon those you need to see will ensure that they are previewed (up to the limit of your hardware, usually 8 with one taken by the default headlight). The bottom block controls the appearance of the light's avatar, the icon in the viewport that represents the light.

    Intensity Scale is a multiplier for Intensity, it allows you to turn lights up without fiddling with their intensities (so if you had a light set you wanted to make twice as bright you could set Intensity Scale to 200% on all, leaving their base Intensity settings alone). Deay is how quickly the light dims with distance - 2 would be the real-world value (inverse square law) but sometimes 1 is more useful, and if you are using a local light to fake a distant source no fall off (0) may be useful. The cone settings are the width, as an angle of the inner cone (full strength light) and outer cone (the angle at which the light drops to zero).

    Samples under shadow is a quality control - too low and your shadows from the light will be speckled, too high and the render will be slow.

  • ZarconDeeGrissomZarconDeeGrissom Posts: 5,399
    edited December 1969

    Thank you. So none of these settings override other settings of other things?
    Shadow samples is just for that light? independent from the render-tab setting for other things.

  • MarshianMarshian Posts: 1,365
    edited April 2015

    Some more info here. These results include cast shadows (falling on another object) and core shadows (shadows on the object itself). For all three lights I did not notice a difference between setting them to ON or Diffuse.

    There did not seem to be any affect in changing the shadow softness. It's always a hard crisp edge. And so it makes sense that samples had no affect (that I could see) - because there is no soft shadow edge to de speckle.
    The bias had very little effect I suppose this is for very small objects.
    I found a decay of 1.40 was probably a good place to start for something like a table lamp. Decay is kind of like Falloff End for the Linear Point light but in reverse, the higher the number the lower the "falloff". It is extremely sensitive.

    Shadows softness of 1.5 is a good place to start. As the softness goes up the samples will need to as well. I found that Shadow Softness at 1.5 and having the Samples at 50 had decent results, especially if all the surfaces have some texture to them.
    Cone Inside was basically to adjust the hardness of the spotlights edge. Samples did not have an effect on this area and it does not effect any core or cast shadows.
    Beam Distribution- has very little affect. If the spotlight is very far away from any surfaces I could see that the lit area was a little more full, A little brighter making the spotlights edge just a tiny bit harder.
    Decay- thought this would work like falloff but it just seems to be another way to adjust the light intensity, for instance I could not make it very bright AND end the beam at a short distance. It just affects the brightness of the whole lit area.

    Softness 0.10 and samples 50 is a good place to start.
    To Sum up all three I see the main advantage is the ability to raise the Samples to soften core and cast shadows. An alternative (or to go along with) lowering the shading rate in Render Settings. I usually keep this at .20. This setting along with adjusting samples (for the lights) gave some really soft shadows. This would be most useful for scenes like a sterile laboratory, sci fi starship interior, or car showroom where all the surfaces are clean and simple- almost no diffuse maps and very little bump.

    The dzSpotlight- I could see this being useful in scenes that use actual spotlights like concerts, art galleries, or flashlights where there needs to be control over the hardness of the edge.

    For the most part with the settings mentioned above the render time was about the same as the more familiar default lights, maybe a little longer. Adjusting the Samples definitely lengthened render time.

    I'd be interested in any more results.

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  • ZarconDeeGrissomZarconDeeGrissom Posts: 5,399
    edited April 2015

    Thank you so much marshian for the insight. This thread kind of got left in the end of the followup list for far to long. I had first posted the above scraps of info way back when I knew almost nothing about lights in Daz Studio.

    As for what I can remember off the top of my head, from first building my test chamber.

    Samples / Shading rate, vs multiple lights. The shading rate of each light can be reduced to make renders faster, with minimal reduction in quality. So long as the surfaces in view of the camera, are illuminated by at least a few lights to make up for the lack of detail of each individual light. I have observed the same exact behavior with the Omni Uber Area Lights.

    Shadow bias, is for stuff very small indeed (as in tenths on a CM). Somewhere in the new user form I posted a question about broken shadows along the edge of cloths on a figure. (attached pic from that thread)
    The culprit simply was the default bias of one-point-zero on one of the lights at the time (over a year ago). Simply drooping that number to something reasonable, like 0.1 (or 0.05 or less if you need it for closeups), instantly fixed that. Again, the same exact behavior with the Omni Uber Area Lights.

    the same exact behavior with the Omni Uber Area Lights. That is the biggest excuse I have, aside from time, for not adding anything to this. Almost everything that applies to the Uber light settings as far as behavior, also applies to the DzLoghts, that I have used so far.

    Decay. Some where, some one explained to me, that the fall off setting of two-point-something, is in 3delight, the closest to real world light decay. I've never messed with it myself, Not even in my test chamber.

    Samples and Bias, vs render performance. As far as I have been able to figure out the past year and change. Samples is accumulative for all lights, regarding how slow a render gets. A dozed lights at say 8 samples, and one at 64 samples (160 total), will be much faster then all thirteen lights at say 20 samples (260 total). Bias on the other hand is completely different in how it slows down renders. Bias vs render time is strictly by the 'Lowest' bias setting of all the lights. A single light set to 0.01 bias and all others set to 0.10, will render just as slow as ALL the lights set to 0.01, so it is better to keep allot of them at more modest bias in the end.

    Case and point, my test chamber, ALL the DzLights and the UE2 are set to 0.05 Bias, most of the time. Setting any of them to a higher 'Bias' (Except setting ALL of them higher) dose NOTHING to make rendering any faster at all. As for the "Over sized soft box lights" in the chamber (Omni Uber Area Lights), I simply set there bias higher at 0.10, to give them a bit more of that 'Soft light' appearance, and for no other reason.

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  • MarshianMarshian Posts: 1,365
    edited April 2015

    Hey zarcondeegrissom! Thanks for the update. I've really never messed with Bias but I'll dig in a bit more. Now that you have a some time between these posts do you have any thoughts off the top of your head about why to use these lights vs. the standard menu lights?

    Why are they called shader lights?

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  • ZarconDeeGrissomZarconDeeGrissom Posts: 5,399
    edited April 2015

    marshian said:
    Hey zarcondeegrissom! Thanks for the update. I've really never messed with Bias but I'll dig in a bit more. Now that you have a some time between these posts do you have any thoughts off the top of your head about why to use these lights vs. the standard menu lights?

    Why are they called shader lights?

    Well, because it is a shader (A program of sorts). That realy got be confused with the definitions for the Uber stuff. Simple answer tho, everything is a "shader". There is a "Surface shader" that deals with how a surface looks, And a "Light Shader" that deals with how light is cast around a scene. Yes it gets way, way, way more complex then that, and goes way over my head, tho in a simplistic way, that's why there called shader lights.

    Why are the lights in the 'create' menu not called "shader lights" then. You got me, I don't know. To make it easy to understand what it is in the scene tab. Because they use something built into 3delight that dose not require extra 'Code' (Shader instructions) to make them work. Or Daz3d simply felt like it, lol.

    I often just click the text in the scene tab, and rename the "shader light" to DzSpot, DzPoint, etc, Just to make life simpler for me.

    As for thoughts aside from what was mentioned so far, none to an extent. Once I figured out the Uber light settings, the DzLights kind of just fell in place to speak of. I set up the test chamber, I made some Light-Can-covers to make them visible in a render, and didn't give them much thought after that. The DzSpotlight has the 'Cover' positioned and parented to them, and saved as a scene subset. After that, I just add the light 'Scene Subset', adjust the angle and intensity, and mostly don't touch the other settings. Looking at it tho...

    The Dz Spotlight and Cover thing, was saved with somethings already preset, so I didn't need to fuss with them every time I add a light. Ray-trace shadows, Samples of 8, Shadow Bias at 0.1, and the rest is dependent of what the light will be doing, for the most part. Some things need sharp crisp shadows, others need different amounts of 'Softness', so I left that alone. The same with all the settings in the Lights 'Light' category (second screen-cap, all at default there).

    Why the DzLights, instead of the 'Menu' lights. More light control, and until the "Photometric" lights come out of Beta, Fall-off control... OK, DzLights have falloff, the menu lights don't in Studio 4.7 and earlier, lol. Dz lights have a "Inner cone" the menu lights don't. etc.

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  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 15,001
    edited April 2015

    In 3Delight, most of the actual code to do things, originally, was not built into the renderer. So to add anything, a secondary program was required...a shader. Back in those days, everything/every function was a shader. Since then a lot of things have been written into the renderer...those are called shadeops, basically, partial shaders. The shaders had to describe the surface, lighting, volume, displacement, etc.

    Light shaders are specifically the lighting functions. What kind of light, whether it is a diffuse light/specular light (only 'visible' to diffuse or specular calculations) or both, whether or not it has shadows AND all the settings that go with strong, what color, shape, size, etc.

    Technically ALL lights in 3DL are shader lights...but in Studio terms, Shader lights are those that are not the default, included lights...or the AreaLights (those are a special case...that's a surface shader with light functions). Pretty much the same reason that the vast majority of 'shaders' available in the store ARE NOT shaders...they are just presets to existing shaders. Some notable exceptions...the pw family, the omnifreaker family and the AoA family are mostly true shaders (yes ShaderMixer makes real shaders). There are probably some I'm missing, but those would be some of the most likely to be encountered ones.

    Post edited by mjc1016 on
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