AOA Lights vs UberLights vs Daz Standard Lighting

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  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,965
    edited December 1969

    ...I also find they work much better for night scenes

    This used one Ambient, one Distant (for the moonlight), a couple low intensity spots above, and a linear point light over the back door.

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  • SpitSpit Posts: 2,342
    edited December 1969

    Kerya: Love the horse! Love the angle!

    Cybersox: the village in the mountain scene really draws you in. Sheesh. That sounds trite to say but it's true and a terrific image.

    Kid (Hey, I like calling you that. Hope it makes you feel younger!): The light balance in the night scene is perfect.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,965
    edited December 1969

    ...thanks. I always have a much more difficult time getting night and dimly lit scenes to work with UE. The Advanced lights offer so much more control.

    One can also use the Advanced Ambient as a "softbox" by adjusting the area size.

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited February 2015

    Here's some comparison shots of the ds spot shader lights and AoA's Adv Spotlight. The shader light is on the top, AoA's Adv Spotlight on the bottom.

    Unlike the default spotlight, the ds spot shader lights offer a variety of parameters like samples, intensity scale, decay, beam distribution and inner/outer angles. AoA's Adv Spotlight offers similar features plus flagging and the ability to use gobo maps (basically, opacity maps applied to lights).

    On the second render, you can see by default AoA's beam distribution is quite wide. I actually like the ds shader light better. If you do like that wide beam though, you can play with the parameters to achieve the same effect.

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  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,965
    edited December 1969

    ...what are DS Shader Spotlights? Do perhaps you mean this?


    http://www.daz3d.com/uberspot-light-shader-for-daz-studio

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,965
    edited February 2015

    Kyoto Kid said:
    ...what are DS Shader Spotlights? Do perhaps you mean this?


    http://www.daz3d.com/uberspot-light-shader-for-daz-studio


    ...for 5$ more you can get the Advanced Studio Light Bundle which includes the Spot, Distant, and Ambient lights.

    Post edited by kyoto kid on
  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited February 2015

    Kyoto Kid said:
    ...what are DS Shader Spotlights? Do perhaps you mean this?


    http://www.daz3d.com/uberspot-light-shader-for-daz-studio

    No. It's the light shaders originally included with DS SDK as an example how to code your own lights. Should be in everyone's runtime, though not many uses it or even aware its included. You'll find them inside the 'Light Presets\DS Defaults' folder. You may have to edit some files to get them to cast shadows though. Easy enough to do and here's the tip how to do it by Mustakettu85 - http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewreply/182158/

    The distant light generally don't have a lot of parameters to work with, whether it's AoA's Adv Distant Light or the ds Shader Distant Lights.

    Post edited by wowie on
  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Point light comparison. Top to bottom: ds Shader Point LIght, ds default Point LIght and ds Linear Point Light.

    Like the other shader lights, the ds Shader Point Light comes with a sample number parameter, intensity scale and decay. It doesn't have that sharp falloff like the Linear Point Light though, but sure is a whole lot useful than just the plain Point Light.. The first render is with their default settings. In the second render, i changed the decay value of the ds Shader Point LIght, so the falloff end is higher. For the third render, I changed the settings of the ds Linear Point Light to match the ds Shader Point LIght (altering falloff start and end paramters).

    If you're looking to add some 'fake' bounce effects, the Linear Point Light is pretty useful, particularly because by default it has that sharp falloff. Because of this, I tend to use it more now combined with UE2. It doesn't have the flexibility of AoA's Adv Ambient Light, but it emits a more correct specular light. If you enable the specular with AoA's Adv Ambient Light, you get that headlamp effect since the specular is coming from everywhere.

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  • CypherFOXCypherFOX Posts: 3,393
    edited December 1969

    Greetings,
    I'm actually using both AoA's lights and UberAreaLight's in the same scene, as well as a stock point light.

    It's actually a bit of a pain. :-/ I kind of wish AoA had a light emitter like UAL that I could use, so I'd know all my lights essentially behaved similarly.

    -- Morgan

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,965
    edited March 2015

    wowie said:
    Kyoto Kid said:
    ...what are DS Shader Spotlights? Do perhaps you mean this?


    http://www.daz3d.com/uberspot-light-shader-for-daz-studio

    No. It's the light shaders originally included with DS SDK as an example how to code your own lights. Should be in everyone's runtime, though not many uses it or even aware its included. You'll find them inside the 'Light Presets\DS Defaults' folder. You may have to edit some files to get them to cast shadows though. Easy enough to do and here's the tip how to do it by Mustakettu85 - http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewreply/182158/

    The distant light generally don't have a lot of parameters to work with, whether it's AoA's Adv Distant Light or the ds Shader Distant Lights.
    ...i don't script or code, burned out on programming almost 20 years ago. I need lights that work OotB.

    Post edited by kyoto kid on
  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Kyoto Kid said:

    ...i don't script or code, burned out on programming almost 20 years ago. I need lights that work OotB.

    It's just opening up the files in Notepad, CTRL+H to bring up Find and Replace, and insert the text you want replaced and the text replacing it. :) Hardly scripting or coding.

    Post edited by wowie on
  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,965
    edited December 1969

    ....huh? What "text"?.

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited December 1969

    Kyoto Kid said:
    ....huh? What "text"?.

    Just read the post I linked to. It's already pretty clearly explained there.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,965
    edited December 1969

    ...don't have an issue with the Advanced lights casting shadows. It's the flagging for SSS that doesn't work.

  • cosmo71cosmo71 Posts: 3,609
    edited March 2015

    since the aoa lights are out I am using just them for all my renders. ambient + spot + distant, depends on the scene but I have one aoa spot with wide range and low shadow (nearly no shadow and a very low intensity) included in my camera so from what angle ever I have a little lighting allways from the pov and that works very well.

    best thing is, that rendertime with aoa lights is much faster with very good results. very good are the possibilities for shadows (color / strength / softness and so on and the same for the lights included range and fall off rate) with less lights you get much better results in much faster time I think

    Post edited by cosmo71 on
  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Kyoto Kid said:
    ...don't have an issue with the Advanced lights casting shadows. It's the flagging for SSS that doesn't work.

    Don't have such issue either. Plus, it's free. :) Oh yeah, it does work, depending on the shader you use. Below are renders of one AoA's spotlight set to illuminate flagged surfcaes only (using a diffuse value of 60% strength). There's a ground plane there and it should be completely black. Flagging still works completely with omnifreaker's HSS, UberSurface, somewhat broken with UberSurface2 (no SSS is rendered) and completely broken with AoA's own Subsurface Shader.

    Top to bottom US2, Subsurface Shader, HSS and US.

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  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited December 1969

    cosmo71 said:
    since the aoa lights are out I am using just them for all my renders. ambient + spot + distant, depends on the scene but I have one aoa spot with wide range and low shadow (nearly no shadow and a very low intensity) included in my camera so from what angle ever I have a little lighting allways from the pov and that works very well.

    best thing is, that rendertime with aoa lights is much faster with very good results. very good are the possibilities for shadows (color / strength / softness and so on and the same for the lights included range and fall off rate) with less lights you get much better results in much faster time I think

    You could achieve the same thing with the ds shader Spotlight since it has many of the same parameters, just under different names.

    As for performance, that's just a matter of samples and in the case of occlusion, shading rate. If use UberSurface/UberSurface2 occlusion override shading rate, much of AoA's speed advantage is rendered moot.

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  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,965
    edited December 1969

    ...the one issue with the shader lights there is no ambient source to create the main fill light. That would have to be accomplished using a UE sphere and there goes any savings in render time.

    I've learned how to work with the AoA SSS shaders pretty well now. Never worked much with the HSS or US2 ones as I only have the more basic versions that were built into Daz Studio.

    Also, appears that new figures are coming with SSS as a standard shader feature now.. When I needed to flag lights on a figure, I usually would use the diffuse channel as with SSS "on" this is set to a different percentage (25%, 50% or 75%) than other items in the scene (100%). That is one of the flagging methods that was broken by the 4.7 update.

  • KhoryKhory Posts: 3,848
    edited December 1969

    That would have to be accomplished using a UE sphere and there goes any savings in render time.

    Unless you set it to ambient only in which case it adds no time to the render.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,965
    edited December 1969

    ...I already have the complete Advanced Light Set. It has worked fine (until 4.7 broke the flagging for SSS). I still find it more versatile than UE or any of the Uber lights.

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Kyoto Kid said:
    ...the one issue with the shader lights there is no ambient source to create the main fill light. That would have to be accomplished using a UE sphere and there goes any savings in render time.

    There's also the ambient light with point based occlusion via the scripted renderer.

    As for performance, it's all about configuration. I know the old wisdom says you need a low shading rate for UE, but this is actually incorrect. What you should do is lower the 'Max Error' to something like 0.1 or below so you're using more 'accurate' samples. I generally set my shading rate to 16 with occlusion samples at 128. Combined with progressive rendering, UE2 renders very fast and you don't need to fiddle with the shading rate in the renderer options. Progressive rendering uses the raytrace hider, which samples render at subpixel values (similar to what you get if you lower shading rate to 0.2).

    Below is a render of Stonemason's Contemporary Living set with all the textures striped off and every object set to cast shadows. I'm just using UE2 with the settings I mentioned above. Everything is else set at their default values. The render took 2 minutes 24.10 seconds with my Core i7 4770K. It renders faster with a narrower occlusion area (lower 'Max Trace Distance set to 20) - 2 minutes 7.58 seconds. Changing UE2's shading rate all the way up to 1 didn't have any significant impact on render time (they're about the same).

    In comparison, the same scene rendered with AoA's Adv Ambient light using the same settings (max trace distance, max error, shadow bias, shading rate - other AoA specific settings are at their default value) with a radius of 50m took 2 minutes 46.24 seconds.

    I've learned how to work with the AoA SSS shaders pretty well now. Never worked much with the HSS or US2 ones as I only have the more basic versions that were built into Daz Studio..

    UberSurface2 isn't included with DS, only UberSurface. As you can see, the flagging feature works with those shaders so in that respect DAZ Studio 4.7 didn't 'break' anything with AoA's light flagging feature. It also works with dsDefault Materials. I don't have pwSurface so don't know if it works or not with it.

    The problem is either in AoA's flagging code or AoA's Subsurface shader. From the looks of it, it's not limited to just subsurface scattering (like with US2), but affects all channels. Saying DAZ Studio 4.7 broke AoA's lights is incorrect.

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  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,965
    edited March 2015

    ...scripted rendering is beyond me. I followed the thread for a while but most of what was being discussed went over my head. There just seem to be too many variables to deal with. I've experimented with the progressive render setting but some materials do not look as good as with the conventional bucket rendering.

    I also use AoA's Atmospheric Cameras which do not work out of the box with progressive rendering (there are things that can be done with them using scripted rendering, but again, that is beyond me).

    I used to use LDP and LDP2 until 4.0 made them obsolete. I don't have LDP-R as it is dependent on using a 2D app to process the final render. This is why I like the Advanced Lights as I can get pretty much the same quality I could with LDP/LDP2 without the large array of lights it employed (mostly to create the ambient and GI effects).

    All I know is I didn't experience these issues in 4.6. While frustrating, I still use the Advanced lights for my work because of the ease and good results they give for my scenes without a lot of extra technical work involved or impact on the render time.

    Post edited by kyoto kid on
  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Kyoto Kid said:
    ...scripted rendering is beyond me. I followed the thread for a while but most of what was being discussed went over my head. There just seem to be too many variables to deal with..

    Eh, just go to the Render tab, choose Scripted 3delight, select the Render Script you want to use, in this example 'Point Based Occlusion'. Then configure the light as you do UE2 or AoA's Adv Ambient Light.


    All I know is I didn't experience these issues in 4.6. While frustrating, I still use the Advanced lights for my work because of the ease and good results they give for my scenes without a lot of extra technical work involved or impact on the render time.

    That is up to you of course. My point is that UE2 is not as slow as people think it is and much of the results you get with AoA's Adv Lights can be achieved with the lights already included with DS. Personally, I think the only advantage AoA's Adv Light have is the flagging feature, which turned out to be buggy. DS 4.7 just exposed the bug, probably due to the update to the 3delight renderer (and not DS itself). As I said in the DS 4.7 release thread, the responsibility lies with AoA and not DAZ since it is AoA's light (and camera) that's experiencing problems. Furthermore, only AoA has access to the source code, so only he can fix it (and not DAZ).

    ---

    A test render with hair that everyone could replicate.
    All I did was apply UberSurface to the hair, and make sure the shader's Occlusion Shading Rate Mode is set to 'Override' and the surface Occlusion Shading rate is set to 128.

    Render time with UE2 - 2 minutes 22.57 seconds. With AoA's Adv Ambient Light - 2 minutes 22.35 seconds. Practically the same render time. The settings are the ones I used before.

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  • SpitSpit Posts: 2,342
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:
    ::snip::

    That is up to you of course. My point is that UE2 is not as slow as people think it is and much of the results you get with AoA's Adv Lights can be achieved with the lights already included with DS. Personally, I think the only advantage AoA's Adv Light have is the flagging feature, which turned out to be buggy. DS 4.7 just exposed the bug, probably due to the update to the 3delight renderer (and not DS itself). As I said in the DS 4.7 release thread, the responsibility lies with AoA and not DAZ since it is AoA's light (and camera) that's experiencing problems. Furthermore, only AoA has access to the source code, so only he can fix it (and not DAZ). ::snip::

    Flagging isn't the only advantage. There's also radius and primitive hitmode (for surfaces not shaded through transparency).

    You're right, though, about upping the shading rate in UE2. That does speed things up.

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Spit said:

    Flagging isn't the only advantage. There's also radius and primitive hitmode (for surfaces not shaded through transparency).

    You're right, though, about upping the shading rate in UE2. That does speed things up.

    I think having an ambient occlusion light have max radius is counter intuitive. It is after all, an approximation of GI. If you're referring to use cases of using AoA's as fake bounce lights, I'd rather use the ds Linear Point lights because the specular is correctly implemented.

    As to having primitive hitmode, turning off opacity in shaders such as HSS, US and US2 does the same thing (calculate shadows based on the object instead of the surface). If you want the object to be sligtly transparent, but have solid shadows, you can change the opacity color instead of opacity strength.

    Post edited by wowie on
  • Mustakettu85Mustakettu85 Posts: 2,882
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:

    Personally, I think the only advantage AoA's Adv Light have is the flagging feature, which turned out to be buggy. DS 4.7 just exposed the bug, probably due to the update to the 3delight renderer (and not DS itself).

    Now that I have glanced through this thread and someone finally spilt the beans on the flagging being broken for SSS on AoA's Subsurface, and not just "being broken on the whole" (because it's NOT, okay?)...

    Guys, it must be a Shader Mixer thing. Pure and simple.

    The actual flagging method per se is robust. It's a bit convoluted for some stuff in the sense that Renderman has long allowed for a simpler way to control what lights affect what (i.e. light categories), and AoA must have used attribute querying. Well, he had to - simply because somehow no DS shaders have historically supported light categories (hobbyist software, learning curve, riiight).

    What AoA's lights do, is they ask the surface if it has a parameter named "this" and if its value is "that". Then they proceed to do stuff.

    Now, Shader Mixer is a hard-to-deal-with thing because the parameter names it generates are, well, not human-readable AND dynamic. If anything got changed about a shader mixer network (which AoA's Subsurface shader actually is) or ShaderMixer's internal mechanics in DS... those names are regenerated, and poof! attribute querying does not work anymore.

    The bottom line is: if you rely on Shader Mixer for any serious work, be prepared for disasters.

    -------


    I need lights that work OotB.

    PS Those "DS Default" lights in the content folder, they have had the shadows thing fixed. I just checked on a brand new installation. Work out of the box.

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited December 1969


    PS Those "DS Default" lights in the content folder, they have had the shadows thing fixed. I just checked on a brand new installation. Work out of the box.

    Hi Kettu,

    Didn't realize they've updated those lights. Thanks for checking it.

  • SpitSpit Posts: 2,342
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:

    PS Those "DS Default" lights in the content folder, they have had the shadows thing fixed. I just checked on a brand new installation. Work out of the box.

    Hi Kettu,

    Didn't realize they've updated those lights. Thanks for checking it.

    Refresh my memory please, what was wrong?

  • SpitSpit Posts: 2,342
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:
    Spit said:

    Flagging isn't the only advantage. There's also radius and primitive hitmode (for surfaces not shaded through transparency).

    You're right, though, about upping the shading rate in UE2. That does speed things up.

    I think having an ambient occlusion light have max radius is counter intuitive. It is after all, an approximation of GI. If you're referring to use cases of using AoA's as fake bounce lights, I'd rather use the ds Linear Point lights because the specular is correctly implemented.

    As to having primitive hitmode, turning off opacity in shaders such as HSS, US and US2 does the same thing (calculate shadows based on the object instead of the surface). If you want the object to be sligtly transparent, but have solid shadows, you can change the opacity color instead of opacity strength.

    For what I do, counter intuitive or not, I find the radius feature quite useful. So let's just disagree. And I don't understand the second part. I'm talking like the shadows hair makes on skin. In that case I can use primitive hitmode on the hair, but use shader hitmode on the skin. Or for tree shadows across a road.

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Spit said:

    For what I do, counter intuitive or not, I find the radius feature quite useful. So let's just disagree. And I don't understand the second part. I'm talking like the shadows hair makes on skin. In that case I can use primitive hitmode on the hair, but use shader hitmode on the skin. Or for tree shadows across a road.

    If you do that, than shadows from the hair with opacity maps will not look correct.

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