AOA Lights vs UberLights vs Daz Standard Lighting

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  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,952
    edited December 1969

    ...there is a thread where someone posted a link to a tutorial on how to fix the Graphic Art cameras with the shader mixer. I didn't understand it (there was no audio) but apparently, it works. Maybe that person should be approached concerning the Advanced Lights since he apparently know his way around the Shader Mixer pretty well.

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited December 1969

    Kyoto Kid said:
    ...there is a thread where someone posted a link to a tutorial on how to fix the Graphic Art cameras with the shader mixer. I didn't understand it (there was no audio) but apparently, it works. Maybe that person should be approached concerning the Advanced Lights since he apparently know his way around the Shader Mixer pretty well.

    Now I'm confused. Didn;t you say you want lights that work out of the box? So just wait till AoA update the lights and/or the shader.

  • grinch2901grinch2901 Posts: 1,223
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:
    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.

    I wonder if the poster meant that rather than use primitive hit mode on hair, they use shader hitmode but with a much lower AO samples so it renders quicker (and less cleanly) than the other surfaces. On hair the effect of the low sampling isn't such an issue. Anyway, this is what I do.

    Basically when I render using these lights I have three AoA ambients with equivalent settings but use the flagging as follows:

    Ambient 1) Flagged to illuminate only items with transmaps (I set diffuse to 99%) using shader hitmode and low samples.

    Ambient 2) Flagged for higher quality surfaces which need to be able to receive shadows but not have AO noise so it has much higher samples. This is skin, for example and I use a black ambient at 99%.

    Ambient 3) The third Ambient is set to "don't illuminate flagged surfaces" (i.e. only the stuff not lit by Ambients 1 and 2) and uses primitive hitmode, with medium samples.

    This was working great for me until the flagging on SSS popped up. I didn't know why shadows on my skins were sometimes wrong (but not always!). Now thanks to this thread I do.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,952
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:
    Kyoto Kid said:
    ...there is a thread where someone posted a link to a tutorial on how to fix the Graphic Art cameras with the shader mixer. I didn't understand it (there was no audio) but apparently, it works. Maybe that person should be approached concerning the Advanced Lights since he apparently know his way around the Shader Mixer pretty well.

    Now I'm confused. Didn;t you say you want lights that work out of the box? So just wait till AoA update the lights and/or the shader.
    ...umm, we have been since November.

  • SpitSpit Posts: 2,342
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:
    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.

    No. Self-shadowing on the hair (primitive hitmode) may be too dark, but it will be fine on the skin (shader hitmode). The shadow is calculated from the skin up through the hair. Shader hitmode allows it to ignore the transparent bits for the shadow.

    Are you using studio 4.7 and flagging for your example?

  • SpitSpit Posts: 2,342
    edited December 1969

    Spit said:
    wowie said:
    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.

    No. Self-shadowing on the hair (primitive hitmode) may be too dark, but it will be fine on the skin (shader hitmode). The shadow is calculated from the skin up through the hair. Shader hitmode allows it to ignore the transparent bits for the shadow.

    Are you using studio 4.7 and flagging for your example?

    Wait, I take that back. I also use shader hitmode on the hair. Our conundrum was that shader hitmode was behaving like primitive hitmode on the surface it fell on as well. So you're right. But with flagging that's taken care of (or it was before 4.7). Primitive hitmode for the rest of the scene makes the render fly. Seriously.

  • SpitSpit Posts: 2,342
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:
    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.

    I wonder if the poster meant that rather than use primitive hit mode on hair, they use shader hitmode but with a much lower AO samples so it renders quicker (and less cleanly) than the other surfaces. On hair the effect of the low sampling isn't such an issue. Anyway, this is what I do.

    Basically when I render using these lights I have three AoA ambients with equivalent settings but use the flagging as follows:

    Ambient 1) Flagged to illuminate only items with transmaps (I set diffuse to 99%) using shader hitmode and low samples.

    Ambient 2) Flagged for higher quality surfaces which need to be able to receive shadows but not have AO noise so it has much higher samples. This is skin, for example and I use a black ambient at 99%.

    Ambient 3) The third Ambient is set to "don't illuminate flagged surfaces" (i.e. only the stuff not lit by Ambients 1 and 2) and uses primitive hitmode, with medium samples.

    This was working great for me until the flagging on SSS popped up. I didn't know why shadows on my skins were sometimes wrong (but not always!). Now thanks to this thread I do.

    Excellent! Thanks.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,952
    edited December 1969

    Spit said:
    Spit said:
    wowie said:
    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.

    No. Self-shadowing on the hair (primitive hitmode) may be too dark, but it will be fine on the skin (shader hitmode). The shadow is calculated from the skin up through the hair. Shader hitmode allows it to ignore the transparent bits for the shadow.

    Are you using studio 4.7 and flagging for your example?

    Wait, I take that back. I also use shader hitmode on the hair. Our conundrum was that shader hitmode was behaving like primitive hitmode on the surface it fell on as well. So you're right. But with flagging that's taken care of (or it was before 4.7). Primitive hitmode for the rest of the scene makes the render fly. Seriously.
    ..using Adaptive Sampling can also help speed things up as well.

  • cosmo71cosmo71 Posts: 3,609
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:
    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.

    but that is new, right? have daz 4.6 and I haven`t seen these things

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,952
    edited March 2015

    ...wish I had DL'd a copy of the 4.6 installer. I would roll back as 4.7 also messes with Reality/Lux.

    Don't use that realtime render window at all, which was one of the big "new" features. I could also reopen an older scene in Reality and still have all my materials settings and cameras intact whereas now they keep disappearing and I have to keep resetting them all.

    ....and the Atmospheric & Graphic Art cameras would work properly.

    Post edited by kyoto kid on
  • Mustakettu85Mustakettu85 Posts: 2,878
    edited March 2015

    Kyoto Kid said:
    Maybe that person should be approached concerning the Advanced Lights since he apparently know his way around the Shader Mixer pretty well.

    The lights themselves are proper RSL shaders, not shader mixer. You can´t feasibly do that flagging stuff in shader mixer.

    What _is_ shader mixer, it's the AoA Subsurface shader.

    AoA needs to update the source code of his lights to get your problem fixed.

    ---------

    Spit said:

    Refresh my memory please, what was wrong?

    The DS Default "shader" lights used to have a bug that prevented them from casting shadows. That was a few builds ago; they are okay now and IIRC have been for some time already.

    Spit said:

    Self-shadowing on the hair (primitive hitmode) may be too dark, but it will be fine on the skin (shader hitmode). The shadow is calculated from the skin up through the hair. Shader hitmode allows it to ignore the transparent bits for the shadow.

    Wait, I take that back. I also use shader hitmode on the hair. Our conundrum was that shader hitmode was behaving like primitive hitmode on the surface it fell on as well.

    Let´s make it clear for everyone.

    AoA's lights trace shadows from the surface to the light (unlike they way it is generally done). The hitmode is set per-surface. So if you set skin to "shader" hitmode, it will trace all the objects that cast shadows on skin in the "shader" hitmode. The skin itself will be traced according to the settings of the surfaces it casts shadows on, in turn.

    I only have Advanced Ambient and Advanced Distant light. The good thing about AoA's lights is that they are a system; the bad thing is, too, that they are a system =) The Advanced Distant light (and possibly the Spot, too) does not play well with GI, for instance (at least, not with GI the way it's done in 3Delight in 2015) - that non-standard shadow algorithm was not designed to support GI.

    This is why I have my own system now LOL

    ------------

    but that is new, right? have daz 4.6 and I haven`t seen these things

    Not new.

    Occlusion shading rate override has been there in UberSurface since DS3, I think. Same for the "shader" lights - it's just that in DS3, you needed to install the scripting devkit and copy example scripts to your installation, and as early as DS4.5, they were there already ready-to-use in the "DS Default" lights folder in the main content installation.

    My freebie light kits used UE2 and these "shader" lights exclusively because of their "advanced" controls.

    Post edited by Mustakettu85 on
  • vivayovivayo Posts: 52
    edited December 1969

    Excuse me for a newbie question, but I do not understand how these shader lights work. Is therre somewhere a step-by-step tutorial showing how to work with them ?

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,952
    edited December 1969

    ...as I understand, GI became available to Daz Studio first with Pendragon's ahEvironemnt (Daz 2.0 - 2.3) and then Omnifreaker's UberEnvironment (Daz 3.0+) . It was never a function of the "basic" Daz lights.

    Dreamlight's LDP/LDP2 essentially "faked" GI by employing an array of low intensity distant lights aimed at various angles.

  • Mustakettu85Mustakettu85 Posts: 2,878
    edited December 1969

    vivayo said:
    Excuse me for a newbie question, but I do not understand how these shader lights work. Is therre somewhere a step-by-step tutorial showing how to work with them ?

    They are just like any other lights. Think DAZ Studio lights that you create from the menu, but with more controls: mostly, shadow samples per-light (very useful when you have several lights of varying softness and want to optimise: more softness = more samples, so that no rendertime/memory is wasted on higher sampling of less soft shadows) and adjustable falloff on spotlights and pointlights (use 2 if you aim for "photorealism" and render with gamma correction on to 2.2 - this is the "physically correct" value; then your light will behave like a "real" light and illuminate a surface the brighter, the closer your surface is to it; you will need to use high intensity values then, if the surface is a few meters away - in the tens of thousands scale, that's normal).

    The caveat is that you have to add these lights to your scene strictly by Ctrl-clicking the icon and choosing "Add" in the pop-up. Otherwise they just replace all other lights.

    You can rename them in the Scene tab or in the Edit - Object - Scene Identification menu, so as not to get confused by them all being called ShaderLight (n).

    These are the most important points.

    These "shader" lights will also be somewhat faster when using raytraced shadows.

    ----------

    ...as I understand, GI became available to Daz Studio first with Pendragon's ahEvironemnt (Daz 2.0 - 2.3) and then Omnifreaker's UberEnvironment (Daz 3.0+) . It was never a function of the "basic" Daz lights.

    Dreamlight's LDP/LDP2 essentially "faked" GI by employing an array of low intensity distant lights aimed at various angles.

    Correct. But I - I don't fake. I write my own shaders in RSL. With all the advancements introduced by the DNA Research (the developers of 3Delight), it's quite easy.

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Spit said:

    Are you using studio 4.7 and flagging for your example?


    Yes.

    Spit said:

    Wait, I take that back. I also use shader hitmode on the hair. Our conundrum was that shader hitmode was behaving like primitive hitmode on the surface it fell on as well. So you're right. But with flagging that's taken care of (or it was before 4.7). Primitive hitmode for the rest of the scene makes the render fly. Seriously.

    Of course it does, since it bypasses any blend mask for shadow generation. But as I showed before, using primitive hitmode on hair generate false shadows, no matter what build you're using. I take it you're doing it with AoA's Adv Ambient light, so the 'shadows' are actually occlusion and thus very soft so they don't stand out like the ones I did (with a AoA's Adv Distant Light). But it's still incorrect.


    ..using Adaptive Sampling can also help speed things up as well.

    As is using less samples for the SSS precompute pass. That falls under number of samples as i mentioned earlier. Like noted by Mustakettu85, the required sample number varies depending on shadow softness and how much your scenes have dark areas. If it's a well lit scene, you won't need a big number of samples since there's very little shadows. But you will need more samples when you have a scene with very dark areas and very strong lights.

    By the way, on my tests the adaptive sampling is enabled with AoA's shader and the numbers show that AoA's Adv Ambient Light is (still) slower than UE2. If I enabled SSS on a surface, it will be faster.

    Here's an example soft shadows with AoA's Adv Spotlight and ds shader Spotlight. The default sample size for both (8 and 4) is woefully inadequate to render soft shadows without noise. You will need at least 128 samples to get somewhat less noticeable noise.

    dsShaderSpot.jpg
    792 x 1030 - 203K
    AoASpot2.jpg
    792 x 1030 - 199K
    Post edited by wowie on
  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Here's a render with 128 samples.

    Out of curiousity, I want to see what render times will be with both lights and an object that has subsurface scattering. I loaded G2F, make sure the perspective viewport is reset to the default position, select and frame her head. Render times with AoA's Adv Ambient Light is 1 minutes 12.40 second while with UE2 it is 1 minutes 14.25 seconds. I'd say that the difference can still be attributed to your standard deviation between render runs.

    Mind you, this is with the same settings I've used with the Stonemason scene. So, even with the use of alternate samples for the SSS precompute, the differences in render times are negligible between the two lights.

    dsShaderSpot2.jpg
    792 x 1030 - 180K
    Post edited by wowie on
  • Three WishesThree Wishes Posts: 469
    edited December 1969

    I've had most of the AoA lights forever and never tried to do much of anything with them. This thread prompted me to pick up the one I was missing (the spotlight) and to play with them a bit last night.

    Once you start getting the hang of them, the AoA lights are pretty impressive. I reworked an Uber-lit scene that had taken me about an hour and 45 minutes to render the last time I fiddled with it, and got it comparably lighted using just AoA assets, and rolled out a high-quality render in just under 20 minutes.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,952
    edited March 2015

    vivayo said:
    Excuse me for a newbie question, but I do not understand how these shader lights work. Is therre somewhere a step-by-step tutorial showing how to work with them ?

    They are just like any other lights. Think DAZ Studio lights that you create from the menu, but with more controls: mostly, shadow samples per-light (very useful when you have several lights of varying softness and want to optimise: more softness = more samples, so that no rendertime/memory is wasted on higher sampling of less soft shadows) and adjustable falloff on spotlights and pointlights (use 2 if you aim for "photorealism" and render with gamma correction on to 2.2 - this is the "physically correct" value; then your light will behave like a "real" light and illuminate a surface the brighter, the closer your surface is to it; you will need to use high intensity values then, if the surface is a few meters away - in the tens of thousands scale, that's normal).

    The caveat is that you have to add these lights to your scene strictly by Ctrl-clicking the icon and choosing "Add" in the pop-up. Otherwise they just replace all other lights.

    You can rename them in the Scene tab or in the Edit - Object - Scene Identification menu, so as not to get confused by them all being called ShaderLight (n).

    These are the most important points.

    These "shader" lights will also be somewhat faster when using raytraced shadows.

    ----------

    ...as I understand, GI became available to Daz Studio first with Pendragon's ahEvironemnt (Daz 2.0 - 2.3) and then Omnifreaker's UberEnvironment (Daz 3.0+) . It was never a function of the "basic" Daz lights.

    Dreamlight's LDP/LDP2 essentially "faked" GI by employing an array of low intensity distant lights aimed at various angles.

    Correct. But I - I don't fake. I write my own shaders in RSL. With all the advancements introduced by the DNA Research (the developers of 3Delight), it's quite easy.
    ...but I don't write my one shaders as 1. I know nothing about the inner workings of 3DL, and 2. I am more interested in composing a good scene rather than dealing with all the numbers behind it. This is why I dropped out of CG studies back in the 80s as it seemed more a mathematical, than "creative" process.

    LDP/LDP2 did a pretty good job of this considering the large array of lights it used to create the effect. I never adopted LDP-R as it required postwork in a second application to achieve the same results. Besides, I can pretty much achieve a similar look with one Advanced Ambient, One Advanced Distant Light, and one low intensity wide angle spotlight with custom falloff to add the amount of "bounce" light I need. For me "faking" it is simpler than having to deal with writing shaders.

    Again if I could, I would roll back to 4.6.. 3DL maybe faster in 4.7 and there's that IPR window (which I still haven't bothered to use) however the headaches it has caused with the tools I use the most far outweigh whatever advantages it has over the previous version.

    Post edited by kyoto kid on
  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,952
    edited December 1969

    dhtapp said:
    I've had most of the AoA lights forever and never tried to do much of anything with them. This thread prompted me to pick up the one I was missing (the spotlight) and to play with them a bit last night.

    Once you start getting the hang of them, the AoA lights are pretty impressive. I reworked an Uber-lit scene that had taken me about an hour and 45 minutes to render the last time I fiddled with it, and got it comparably lighted using just AoA assets, and rolled out a high-quality render in just under 20 minutes.


    ...I had one scene which when I tried rendering with AoA's Fog Camera using UE. I calculated would have taken a minimum of 25 hours to complete based on the rendering rate of 1% per 15 min, (and it was nowhere near dealing with the difficult stuff like the hair. skin shaders, and volume cones for the street lights in the scene).

    With AoA's Advanced lights the same scene took 10 min 48 seconds to render though AoA's Fog Camera (including the volume cones).

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited December 1969

    dhtapp said:

    Once you start getting the hang of them, the AoA lights are pretty impressive. I reworked an Uber-lit scene that had taken me about an hour and 45 minutes to render the last time I fiddled with it, and got it comparably lighted using just AoA assets, and rolled out a high-quality render in just under 20 minutes.

    How did you configure both light sets?

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,952
    edited March 2015

    ...the bottom line is for me, I come from a traditional art background (oil & watercolour painting as well as drawing). When I first came across Daz Studio I thought. "finally they made CG accessible to artists like me without having to deal with all the math and coding".

    This is what drove me away from CG back in the 80sfor it didn't have that "creative feel" of picking up a paintbrush or pencil. Everything has to calculated and programmed to create even a simple work using simple primitives.

    I had always dreamed one day there would be software that took things from the artist's, not the technician's or mathematician's (and heavens, not from the Database manager's) perspective. The early versions of Daz were what I had been looking for. Now it seems to be heading in the opposite direction.

    I'm not into the "Make Art" button "school", bit I find this is becoming less and less intuitive from a traditional artist's POV as it is being made more and more complex especially when it comes to having to side step the bugs and inconsistencies in the software that the developers let slip through.

    If my hands had not become crippled by arthritis I would have stayed with the traditional media as well as music. This "hobby"is my only creative outlet I have left.

    I find it all very discouraging.

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

    Kyoto Kid said:
    The early versions of Daz were what I had been looking for. Now it seems to be heading in the opposite direction.

    I'm not into the "Make Art" button "school", bit I find this is becoming less and less intuitive from a traditional artist's POV as it is being made more and more complex especially when it comes to having to side step the bugs and inconsistencies in the software that the developers let slip through.

    Here's my opinion.

    AoA's lights are newer than omnifreaker's lights and the same is true for shaders as well. Omnifreaker's lights have offered things you find with AoA's lights (gobo support, falloff and cone inside/outside for the spotlight since back in DS3 days. As I noted earlier, UE2 is far more advanced in terms of features and it too came out way back then.

    Thankfully to mustakettu85, the indirect light/bounceGI mode can now be rendered much faster by enabling ray caching in the DS renderer options. I've seen render times went from 20 minutes to around 1 to 2 minutes with UE2's indirect light mode.

    The same is true for his shaders. Just look at how subsurface scattering is implemented in HSS, US and finally US2. Diffuse in HSS was pretty much just plain Lambert since the roughness dial hardly changes anything, but US fixed that (and US2 added a second diffuse channel). Specular is also more complete with US2 - you can be much, much closer to real world specular with anisotropy and fresnel.

    In comparison, AoA's Subsurface Shader is a step back in time. I believe the diffuse is pure Lambert, which is OK if you want things to look perfectly diffuse, but that's not how real world material looks like. Specular is basically just a modified Blinn (Phong for the 2nd channel). Surfaces using it will never be look like real world materials and you ended up doing hacks with lighting. You can bring it to Shader Mixer and plug a more robust specular block, though I doubt a lot of people actually do so.

    Once I understood and implemented things like gamma correction, linear workflow and learn to setup my materials as close to possible to real world materials (only possible with US2), I ended up having much more consistent results. There's no need to setup materials differently for different types of lighting - they work consistently and behave realistically with light changes. I can setup my lights just like in the real world and there's no need to switch to Luxrender or Octane.

    Is it more complex? Yes, particularly if you're used to hacks and cheats along with a lot of bad habits like using the ambient channel, setting up diffuse at 100% strength with a pure white color, or setting max trace distance for ambient light to ridiculous distances (thanks again Kettu for correcting me on that). But once you understood the concept and adhere to it, you get much more quality and consistency. I look at my renders now and way back then and they're pretty much the same with just AO, but the quality have improved drastically.

    Post edited by wowie on
  • SpitSpit Posts: 2,342
    edited December 1969

    I still have a problem even remembering the steps taken for UE2 to equal AoA speed. If you all have worked it out, good for you. As far as SSS is concerned to be perfectly frank I prefer what I've seen coming out of Poser to anything I've seen coming out of Studio (at least for skin). It pains me to say it but it's my impression and my tastes and therefore my opinion. I'm not in it for the purity of 3D and never have been so you can ignore me.

  • BarubaryBarubary Posts: 1,174
    edited March 2015

    wowie said:
    Once I understood and implemented things like gamma correction, linear workflow and learn to setup my materials as close to possible to real world materials (only possible with US2)

    Yeah, but here's the problem: no one except you and like 5 other guys on this board wants to go through that trouble. Omnifreaker's stuff is pretty great, I agree, but it's also almost completely inaccessible to most DS users. One if the reasons for this is almost complete lack of documentation. When people have to create 100 test renders to figure out what this setting does or that, they're just not gonna bother.


    It's the same thing I've seen a lot with reality, when people actually render pictures relying on Reality's automatic material settings which are remotely correct 1 out of 100 times. A lot of people just don't really feel like hand-editing 250 materials each render. Even before we get to questions of camera angles and composition. And that's sort of understandable.


    People want to drop stuff in their scenes, change a few settings and render - done.


    AoA's lights have made that a bit easier and the results a bit better. And that's not a step backwards.

    Post edited by Barubary on
  • Mustakettu85Mustakettu85 Posts: 2,878
    edited December 1969

    Spit said:
    As far as SSS is concerned to be perfectly frank I prefer what I've seen coming out of Poser to anything I've seen coming out of Studio (at least for skin).


    Wait. Have you seen what Wowie does with skin via the US2 shader (just take a look at his store here)? What Tofu-san did with his ShaderMixer network (here: http://www.sharecg.com/v/76970/gallery/21/DAZ-Studio/Subsurface-Skin-Shader )?

    ------

    Barubary said:

    People want to drop stuff in their scenes, change a few settings and render - done.

    And here lies the problem. Does anyone actually expect it that the moment they pick up a pencil for the first time, they will be able to draw like Albrecht Dürer?

    There is a learning curve to everything. The tradeoff for excellent results is _always_ time and effort.

    And the people who actually take time to dig into all that - generally, they either sell the results of their work or make it available for free, so that anyone could benefit from it.

    ------


    ...I had one scene which when I tried rendering with AoA's Fog Camera using UE. ...
    With AoA's Advanced lights the same scene took 10 min 48 seconds to render though AoA's Fog Camera (including the volume cones).

    I guess you did use the "foglight only" thing on the camera and did set your directional lights to belong to the foglight category.

    The best thing about AoA is that he was the first to introduce light categories to DS users.

    And we are all very sorry for you and your issues, KK. We are. But when you start denigrating the stuff you don't like... it alienates people, I'm sorry to say that. Let´s just all be civil, respectful - towards each other and those who are actually developing software for us - and thankful that we are all still alive.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,952
    edited March 2015

    Barubary said:
    wowie said:
    Once I understood and implemented things like gamma correction, linear workflow and learn to setup my materials as close to possible to real world materials (only possible with US2)

    Yeah, but here's the problem: no one except you and like 5 other guys on this board wants to go through that trouble. Omnifreaker's stuff is pretty great, I agree, but it's also almost completely inaccessible to most DS users. One if the reasons for this is almost complete lack of documentation. When people have to create 100 test renders to figure out what this setting does or that, they're just not gonna bother.


    It's the same thing I've seen a lot with reality, when people actually render pictures relying on Reality's automatic material settings which are remotely correct 1 out of 100 times. A lot of people just don't really feel like hand-editing 250 materials each render. Even before we get to questions of camera angles and composition. And that's sort of understandable.


    People want to drop stuff in their scenes, change a few settings and render - done.


    AoA's lights have made that a bit easier and the results a bit better. And that's not a step backwards.
    ...exactly my position.

    Many of the effects I could easily create with oil paints are far more technically complex in CG. Again, this is my background, not CG programming, or even traditional photography.

    Like yourself, I do not feel AoA's lights or SSS shaders are a step backwards as they are not only more intuitive for people such as us, but also include good documentation. Furthermore, for the SSS shaders, DimensionTheory created the Subsurface Toolbox which I find, in addition to being an excellent set of tools and providing basic SSS settings, is also a nice aid to understanding the different aspects and components involved in the SSS shaders.

    As to Reality, I've been there and will admit I usually edited most of the shaders. Reality4 was where I gave up as it would not process older scenes without needing some sort of workaround, and with each new patch issued (none of which ever fixed the "old scene" issue), I had to reset all my materials over again.

    Shortly after I became involved in this, I came to the realisatiion that with 3DL, I was never going to get perfect "photographic quality". That was something much more expensive professional software (like 3DS and Lightwave) could do. Basically for myself, chasing the photo real "holy grail" became moot. While I still wanted to get the best results possible, I knew unless I was able to afford moving to the pro grade software, getting "realistic" photo quality just wasn't going to happen.

    Yeah now there's Reality, Luxus, as well as now a bridge to Octane which all bring unbiased rendering to Daz Studio, but at one of two high costs: either in time and the frustration of having to mess a lot with surface settings (Reality & Luxus) or finances (Octane).

    -----

    The bottom line in all this?

    For my purposes, I am into telling a story and touching on emotions with my scenes. I do not wish to become bogged down with numbers and/or a lot of technical aspects to achieve this. This is the "traditional artist" in me which is still at work. Yes, I want my illustrations to be of the highest quality, and have found tools that allow me to do that without requiring me to deal so much with the picky "nuts & bolts" so to say.. When changes to the software compromise the functionality of these tools, as has occurred with the Advanced Lights, Subsurface Shaders, and specialised cameras, yes it tends to annoy and frustrate me just a bit. I had a "happy medium" before the 4.7 update, and had no idea it would cripple the tools I had come to depend on as other shader based utilities worked fine. I already went though the disappointment of 4.0 rendering LDP2.obsolete (which was my "go to" plugin for outdoor scenes and why I was very reluctant to adopt the newer version in spite of the advantages of the Genesis concept).

    Yes the effects of the Atmospheric and Graphic Art cameras could be duplicated for the most part using an application like Photoshop, but that was their beauty, you didn't need to resort to postwork to create these effects anymore as they were accomplished within the render pass (also the reason I like HeroFX Xtreme, Nerd3D's¹ effects tools, and Jepe's effects planes).

    Maybe this is something that should have been more rigorously tested for during the 4.7 beta phase, particularly since AoA's SSS shaders have now become the standard for the Gen 6 figures as well as some other character sets and utilities (it is even a included in the Skin Builder Pro tool).

    ¹ sadly, Nerd3D is no longer a vendor here.

    Post edited by kyoto kid on
  • Mustakettu85Mustakettu85 Posts: 2,878
    edited December 1969

    I hate tooting my own horn - but I did actually write a detailed tutorial on setting up SSS (and more) in the UberSurface family of shaders. It's free on ShareCG. The link to my freebie thread is in my signature. So at least part of the documentation void has been filled for some time already.

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Spit said:
    I still have a problem even remembering the steps taken for UE2 to equal AoA speed. If you all have worked it out, good for you.


    I think you may have misunderstood me. I"m saying that with the same settings, UE2 is just as fast (actually, faster) than AoA's Ambient Light. The only time UE2 renders slowly is when you use a lot of surfaces with opacity that accepts occlusion. AoA's Adv Ambient Light deals with this by flagging the surfaces and switch to using alternative samples when rendering. This could be achieved with UberSurface and UberSurface2's shading override controls, which works independent of the lights.

    If you're using UE2's indirect light mode and compare it to AoA's, which is an AO only light, that's a case of apples and oranges.


    AoA's lights have made that a bit easier and the results a bit better. And that's not a step backwards.

    I think you should have read my post more carefully. I never said AoA's lights is a step backwards. I said the subsurface shader is a step backwards. On the lights, what I wrote was that outside of flagging, they don't really add anything new that's not available on previous lights (falloff, cone inside/outside angle etc).

    I agree totally with the lack of documentation, both here and on omnifreaker's own site. But the AoA's light results are not better. One example is shadows, since that's linked to samples used and in turn, render times. To most, it looks better because most people tend to use those overly sharp shadows. Once you play around with soft shadows, you will need to adjust the number of samples.

    Put in another way, the default lights were set to such high samples to cover all use cases, but they certainly don't need such high samples on some cases (sharp shadows). AoA's lights came out of the box with settings for sharp shadows, but in turn will need adjustment for other cases.

    And when you use the same number of samples as other lights, the render times are practically the same (for AoA's Adv Spotlight and Distant Light)..

    I'm open to inputs, but give me a test case and results where UE2 is slower than AoA's Adv Ambient Light, outside of rendering surfaces with opacity maps, preferably with the raytrace hider and not the default REYES hider. The same with AoA's Adv Spotlight/Distant Light.

    Post edited by wowie on
  • BarubaryBarubary Posts: 1,174
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:
    Barubary said:

    AoA's lights have made that a bit easier and the results a bit better. And that's not a step backwards.

    I think you should have read my post more carefully. I never said AoA's lights is a step backwards. I said the subsurface shader is a step backwards.

    You're right, I apologize, but that doesn't really change anything as I would say the same about the AoA SSS Shader I said about the lights - it's trying to be more accessible to people, not trying to advance surface shaders.

    wowie said:

    But the AoA's light results are not better.

    I was not trying to say that. With little effort and limited understanding of 3d they produce better results is what I was trying to say :D Again it's not about the capabilities of the product but more about it's accessibility.

    I completely agree that both UE and US2 are great products and at this point probably unmatched when it comes to DS.



    People want to drop stuff in their scenes, change a few settings and render - done.

    And here lies the problem. Does anyone actually expect it that the moment they pick up a pencil for the first time, they will be able to draw like Albrecht Dürer?

    No. They realize what they got themselves into, drop the pencil and never pick it up again. At least that's what everyone I know did. :D

    In some cases, like me, they turn to DS or comparable software to make things easier. Which is a fallacy, I completely agree, but you can make it easier for people to get somewhat better results or you can make it difficult. Again, I absolutely agree that only time and effort will make someone really good at something. But you don't have to shut out everyone who maybe just doesn't have the same amount of free time or the same passion.

  • CybersoxCybersox Posts: 7,981
    edited December 1969

    What it really comes down to is this:
    DAZ is an introductory level 3D program with very poor documentation. The program, and many of its accessories, are capable of doing a lot more than what you get if you plug and render. However, most of that is not self-evident and the vast majority of material that was previously on the net as to how to use the older features is now gone. Similarly, many of the newer features have still not been well documented anywhere, and almost everything that is out there is out of date thanks to the reshuffling of the interface for 4.7.

    That's a problem, as the market for DAZ products is, and always has been, aimed primarily at people who want to create digital art without spending hours and hours trying to figure out the best way to get a skin texture to render or create a custom morph. For some it's because they're at the beginning of their learning curve, for others it's because they have a workflow and deadlines that require fast turnover. Not to mention that if you really want to get the best results in terms of realism, your time is better invested in learning how to use an external renderer like Lux or Reality, or moving up to a more advanced program like Vue or Carrara (or, for that matter, Blender which does quite a bit more than DS and is free across the board.

    There ARE people who work to tweak and push the boundaries of what DS can do, and it's thanks to folks like AoA, Omnifreaker, etc. that many of us can make better renders. Those people are in the minority here, however, and they always will be. Just as there are people who like to like to take pictures and people who like to design and built their own lenses and photo gear. Both are necessary to the art of photography, but while most people like to look at pretty pictures, they guy who babbles for hours about f-stops and imaging sensors is likely to find himself only babbling with other people who like to babble about f-stops and image sensors. Everyone else will probably end up snoring until the words "nude model" are mentioned.

    So, if there was a plugin that automatically made UE render faster without spending a disproportionate amount of time tweaking with dozens of settings, I imagine that there are a lot of folks who would buy it in a heartbeat. If there was a good tutorial that showed how to do the same thing, there would definitely be a market, but it would be much smaller.

    AoA's lights DO make setting things up incredibly fast and efficient, with the side benefit that they render like the blazes. They're not perfect, but then again, neither is UberEnvironment or any light for DS. They're all simulations and they all have their pluses and minuses.

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