AOA Lights vs UberLights vs Daz Standard Lighting

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  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Khory said:

    First I rendered with the UE2 using Wowie's setting so we were all working from the same base on that. The UE2 was at 40%. Render time on my 7 year old not state of the art even then computer was 5.40. Then I swapped that for the AoA ambient which I ended up going with at 60% though it could have gone higher. AoA time was 5.13.

    I also did a couple with the gamma on. Intrestingly enough if you use gamma correct (2.2) the UE2 time increased by 1 second. When I ran the AoA with the gamma on the time increased by 1.36.

    Did you use the shading override on the hair? With both lights?

    Post edited by wowie on
  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,962
    edited December 1969

    ..once the flagging for SSS gets fixed.I'll post a few things that have been on hold.

    Again, I am not going for "Photo Real" just nice quality.

    ...and "ease of use" isn't just for novices. Some of us "vets" like a simple, uncomplicated, and straightforward workflow as well, and from that perspective, AoA's lights are better.

    Again if I ever want to go the Photo real route, I'll wait for either Lux 2.0. or save for up Octane (whichever happens first).

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Found something else with AoA's Adv Ambient Light.

    Occlusion strength will be affected by not just a surface's opacity, but opacity color as well. In contrast, UE2 will only honor opacity strength. To have the same behavior as with UE2, refraction needs to be enabled. Unfortunately, this means you can only do this to non opacity mapped surfaces (enabling refraction ignores opacity maps).

    As the renders show below, without refraction, it will look like the surface has no occlusion at all. However, with refraction enabled, well...let's just say it doesn't produce the same output. Top to bottom, UE2 as reference, AoA's with the shader not having refraction enabled, and last, AoA's with the shader having refraction enabled.

    Oh yeah, that's not in the documentation.

    I need to recheck this again, but render times with UE2 was 2 minutes 33.80 seconds. Render time with AoA's without refraction was 2 minutes 19.36 seconds. With refraction, it's 4 minutes 8.95 seconds.

    This is a very specific scenario though. I'm using a geometry shell so I can cast colored shadows (or more accurately, bleedthrough) from the hair, but retain opacity settings of the main hair object.

    AoAwithrefraction.jpg
    800 x 1040 - 396K
    AoAnorefraction.jpg
    800 x 1040 - 393K
    UE2.jpg
    800 x 1040 - 395K
    Post edited by wowie on
  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited December 1969

    The Adv Distant Light behaves similarly under the same test scnario. The render with the standard default distant lights cast a reddish shadow on the hair. AoA's Adv Distant Light doesn't produce the same thing.

    AoADistant.jpg
    792 x 1030 - 273K
    dsDistant.jpg
    792 x 1030 - 273K
  • evilded777evilded777 Posts: 2,394
    edited December 1969

    [quote author="wowie" date="1424978749"If you use the indirect/bounce GI mode, be sure to pickup mustakettu85's script that enables ray caching to speed up UE2 up to 10x.


    Ok, I've been reading about this script for months but have never actaully seen the script. Where can I get it?

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015


    Ok, I've been reading about this script for months but have never actaully seen the script. Where can I get it?

    I think mustaKettu's have done some improvements and a newer one should be coming, but here's the old one:
    http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/21611/P495/#642793

    it works mostly to accelerate UE2's indirect light and bounceGI mode. Doesn't influence AO mode.

    Post edited by wowie on
  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,962
    edited March 2015

    ...I feel we are getting to the point of nit picking to prove why AoA's lights are "inferior".

    Personally, in the second example I feel the hair looks better with the Advanced Distant light than the default one. If I have a character with grey hair, brightly coloured shadows within the hair would appear wrong. In the first set you used a geometry shell something I and lot of other people don't bother with. What about doing the comparison rendering with the hair "as is"?

    Again to reiterate I and others are not necessarily into pushing for the "photo real" look. True, I'll give that the rendering process itself my not take a lot of time using these methods, but to get to that point, the setup does. I'll give that 3DL in the right hands with the proper knowledge of things like the RSL language and scripting can be very powerful. That is not why I am doing this (and again, coding was again why I abandoned CG over 25 years ago). My attraction to Daz Studio was the ease of use, the fact I could apply my knowledge as a traditional artist as well as set and lighting designer to creating scenes in 3D CG.

    Like Cyberxox13 mentioned in a previous post:

    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.

    ...when it comes to 3D, I'm in the "like to take pictures" group.

    The results I have been getting with the AoA Lights and Shaders are more than satisfactory for my needs and the style I wish to work in. For myself, making sure a scene is well composed, well balanced, and tells a story is far more important. One can have a perfect "realistically" rendered scene, but if it doesn't produce an emotional response, it is nothing more than just another "pretty picture". I have seen a lot of "photo real" results that, while being excellent in a technical sense, don't really capture me as much as a scene rendered with a "lesser" degree of quality (again in a technical sense) that is filled with feeling and emotion.

    Years ago when during a discussion about "realistic rendering" (long before the current improvements to 3DL, before UE, before the Advanced Lights) I commented, that If I wanted my work to look like a photograph, I'd go grab my SLR, put some film in it, and head out to take some photos instead. I'm not a Hollywood producer, I don't need my CGI models to look as if you could actually go up and touch them (and to tell the truth there are a lot of times, when viewing film trailers, it sticks out like the proverbial "sore thumb" to me which tells me even the "pros"with million dollar budgets, expensive/proprietary software, and massive render farms don't always get it right).

    It has taken me very little time to learn how to use AoA's Advanced lights and not much more to get a good grasp on the SSS shaders. Working with UE seemed to involve so much more, with a good deal of necessary information having to be hunted down in different locations (and a good portion of it in video format which doesn't work well with me). That alone became a good enough reason for me to abandon further experimentation and just deal with the long render times using premade light sets (like Lantios, Cloud 9, and Skies of Economy), which like the old LDP2, I could load, rotate, and render. When I saw the first examples of what could easily be done with AoA's Advanced Ambient Light, I was extremely excited for I could again get the quality that I was able to achieve (and that I liked) with LDP2, which also took far less time to render than the other light sets above. The flagging, the versatility of the Advanced Spotlight (and the fact I could also create my own point lights with it using the same properties) quickly made these my "go to" lights. I felt I had a lot more control with very minimal time invested in the learning curve.

    So they may not be capable of producing perfect photo real" light effects, I really don't care since they give me the results I prefer for my style of 3D "illustration".


    The bottom line here is I feel we have come down to the point where it is time to agree on the fact that we basically disagree over which methods we find preferable to fit our needs. The Advanced Lights suit my workflow fine and give me the results I like with minimal time spent. I don't need to spend a lot of time messing around with them to get the render times down to where I feel they are manageable.

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

    Kyoto Kid said:
    ...I feel we are getting to the point of nit picking to prove why AoA's lights are "inferior".


    I thought this topic was to discuss the differences between those lights. I use the geometry shell trick extensively to get shadows from objects that have a lof of opacity (hair, glass etc). And I'm not saying in this test case AoA's lights are inferior, they just have different behavior than other lights. Isn't the point of this thread to find what each has to offer and how to best use them?


    Personally, in the second example I feel the hair looks better with the Advanced Distant light than the default one. If I have a character with grey hair, brightly coloured shadows within the hair would appear wrong. In the first set you used a geometry shell something I and lot of other people don’t bother with. What about doing the comparison rendering with the hair “as is”?

    Because rendering the hair 'as is' will not allow you to have colored bleedthroughs? Well, technically you can, by flagging the hair surfaces and make sure the light has colored shadows depending on the hair shade. Of course, then if you have various hair shades, you would need to make each light flag each shade. And if you have some tinted glass, they will need their own lights also.

    That's a lot of lights to work with and troubleshoot.

    Doing it in the shader this way, means I can configure each hair and hair colors independently of the lights and other stuff. Simpler.

    Post edited by wowie on
  • DAZ_SpookyDAZ_Spooky Posts: 3,100
    edited December 1969

    Just when you thought you had the best choices figured out. :) We go and add choices for realism.

    http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/53671/

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited December 1969

    Just when you thought you had the best choices figured out. :) We go and add choices for realism.

    http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/53671/

    Oh. Goody, goody!!! Checking the page out!!!

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 35,962
    edited December 1969

    Just when you thought you had the best choices figured out. :) We go and add choices for realism.

    http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/53671/


    ...ah, a beta. I stopped dealing with betas (save for the fish of the same name) in the 3.0 days. Hopefully Age of Armour hasn't revised anything yet.
  • KhoryKhory Posts: 3,848
    edited December 1969

    Did you use the shading override on the hair? With both lights?

    No override anywhere. I went with the lowest skill level necessary to set the renders up and run them.

  • KhoryKhory Posts: 3,848
    edited December 1969

    ..ah, a beta. I stopped dealing with betas (save for the fish of the same name) in the 3.0 days.

    So I bet your oblivious to the fact that it is a separate version and has no impact on your primary set up. As for me I have no such phobias and am off to download and try!

  • ModernWizardModernWizard Posts: 833
    edited December 1969

    Hey AoA light fans. I would really like these lights, except I'm stuck on one thing: their function with transmaps. I thought I might post here in hopes of getting an answer to my question. I'm trying to use an AoA Advanced Ambient, but I'm having problems with deep, grainy shadows where transmaps are used.

    I keep getting really dark shadows where trans maps are involved, even though I’ve flagged the surfaces to use shader hitmode.

    In the attached picture, I have a single Advanced Ambient Light radius 0.0, AO samples 64, SS samples 4, AO shading rate 64, hitmode primitive, strength 150%. Any surfaces flagged with diffuse of 99% use shader hitmode and alt samples [=64].

    Render settings that might be relevant: max ray trace depth 2, shadow samples 16, shading rate 1.

    http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/53609/

    Any insight?

    --MW

  • Mustakettu85Mustakettu85 Posts: 2,882
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:
    The Adv Distant Light behaves similarly under the same test scnario. The render with the standard default distant lights cast a reddish shadow on the hair. AoA's Adv Distant Light doesn't produce the same thing.

    Wowie, have you tried changing the sign of the geoshell offset? AoA's lights trace the other way, so if you had it below the hair, won't this work when the shell is above the hair?

    --------


    Ok, I've been reading about this script for months but have never actaully seen the script. Where can I get it?

    I am sorry it didn't come as fast as I'd thought. There is much more coming - easy-to-use scripts, shaders for lights and mateials, presets etc... and what causes the delay is that I am actually writing documentation. Like, a lot thereof. So those who stick with 3Delight after the 4.8 Iradium-themed release will have something close to an encyclopedia of "how 3Delight should be used in 2015" (and for free). And actually, that's just the start because we aren't talking pathtracing much in this planned release of mine, and we will some day down the line (because 3Delight can do that these days, so why not).

    What can be done with this kit of mine as of yet - I post renders over there in the "laboratory" thread.

    PS The link that Wowie gave you, you scroll down to the end of the post and read the code block. There are instructions for the user to follow and the code itself =) Sorry it's weird like that for now, but again - documentation takes time.

  • Mustakettu85Mustakettu85 Posts: 2,882
    edited December 1969

    Khory said:
    I suspect that the lack of respect that 3delight gets is due to studio being free. People assume, wrongly, that it is just not as valuable a tool as some other renderer that they need to pay for. They want to forget that it is used all the time for serious professional work.

    I am afraid the userbase just does not know, in general, what the heck 3Delight actually is, what industry it was made for (hint: definitely not us hobbyists) and where it has actually been used. But at the same time, everyone must have seen it in action without realising it (quite a few scenes in the Harry Potter movies, for instance).

    There are no "easy" (which does included "well-documented") tools provided with DS by default for 3Delight (and apparently it's not even a priority anymore). I'd say this fact also fuels those who actually write (RSL) or comp (shader mixer) shaders to be used in DS - we all want to create an "easy-to-use toolbox", our way.

    Bottom line: there are a lot of ways to do stuff in the 3Delight/DS combo, some more challenging than others. There is no "one best way" yet. B'vec, we still have "renderer wars" going on, and now what, shader wars? Sweet.

    And yeah... It IS possible to produce a darned photorealistic image using 90s shading models and several dozens of spotlights with deep shadow maps. An image that blends with live footage. We have all seen those movies.

    And we have all seen scary plastic monstrosities crawling out of "unbiased" renderers.

    The best tool is the one the artist knows best.

  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 15,001
    edited December 1969

    The best tool is the one the artist knows best.

    And there's the rub...without documentation, it's hard to get to 'know' any of them...

  • Mustakettu85Mustakettu85 Posts: 2,882
    edited December 1969

    mjc1016 said:

    The best tool is the one the artist knows best.

    And there's the rub...without documentation, it's hard to get to 'know' any of them...

    That's why I wrote that UberSurface tutorial which is more like, I don't know, a manual of the TL;DR sort =D Believe it or not, but I have heard from people who have actually read it and learnt to apply that information in their work.

  • BarubaryBarubary Posts: 1,174
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:

    Barubary said:

    Yes. Presumably, that's mostly because of the documentation, which I think I said before as well.

    You did so yes.

    I agree omnifreaker should've documented most of the features of his products better, but again I fail to understand how that translates into this sentence.

    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.

    That's like saying he purposely did that.


    I'm sorry, but that's really not what I meant. I guess it was poorly phrased, I was writing it while a friend of mine almost dragged me away from the desktop ;D I really didn't want to imply that omnifreaker purposefully wanted to prohibit newcomers or people with very limited time etc. from using his products. Just that his products are probably a bit harder to use, or rather, to get into, than they have to.

    Easier access could be achieved by either dumbing down (which almost always means reducing the amount of options of) the product or by offering really good documentation. That comes with the product ideally.

    One thing I always thought was strange was that even in the looong amount of time where the omnifreaker products were pretty much the only advanced solution for surfaces and lighting in DS, many, probably most, PA's still went with the crappy Standard DAZ Shader for their products. You'd think that with great tools like UberSurface and UberEnvironment etc. DAZ themselves would have gone to much further lengths to promote using them. Or at the very least help to provide better documentation. I mean better overall renders are in their interest as well.

  • Oso3DOso3D Posts: 14,445
    edited December 1969

    As a noob to all of this... man, trying to keep straight what lights people are talking about (Uber, Ambient, Area, AoA, ...) is dizzying.

    Some noob thoughts:
    I've played with the Uber arealights that come with the package (apparently not as good as the stuff you can buy? I guess?)
    More realistic than default ds lights, though they don't seem to work with ubervolumes or volumetric cameras (which... can sometimes be useful, actually, as primitive flagging)

    Arealights are a lot slower than default lights, but look better (generally).

    So... um. Do AoA lights compare to arealights, should I bother with uber arealights, ... how does any of this migrate to !ray?


    so confused

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited December 1969

    Barubary said:

    I'm sorry, but that's really not what I meant. I guess it was poorly phrased, I was writing it while a friend of mine almost dragged me away from the desktop ;D I really didn't want to imply that omnifreaker purposefully wanted to prohibit newcomers or people with very limited time etc. from using his products. Just that his products are probably a bit harder to use, or rather, to get into, than they have to.


    Thanks for the clarification.


    Wowie, have you tried changing the sign of the geoshell offset? AoA's lights trace the other way, so if you had it below the hair, won't this work when the shell is above the hair?

    Offset is 0. And the occlusion is applied to the hair (except the scalp) and not the shell. Since the shell has Fantom 'enabled', the occlusion won't show up in the render. anyway if you enabled occlusion on the shell.

    With different offsets (0.1 cm, above and below), there's still no visible occlusion on the are near the scalp. They only show if I set opacity color to pure white (255,255,255) but of course, no more bleedthrough. As I wrote before, the main culprit is AoA's lights honors both opacity strength and color.

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 23,183
    edited December 1969

    I found this note by one of my reference links that I have in my Art Studio thread- was this ever addressed? I'm not technical but assume that has to do with the lighting not being an exact science, so to speak?

    "UE2 axis is off by 35%, has been for years, still not fixed as of Aug 2013"

  • Mustakettu85Mustakettu85 Posts: 2,882
    edited December 1969

    wowie said:

    Offset is 0. And the occlusion is applied to the hair (except the scalp) and not the shell. Since the shell has Fantom 'enabled', the occlusion won't show up in the render. anyway if you enabled occlusion on the shell.
    With different offsets (0.1 cm, above and below), there's still no visible occlusion on the are near the scalp. They only show if I set opacity color to pure white (255,255,255) but of course, no more bleedthrough. As I wrote before, the main culprit is AoA's lights honors both opacity strength and color.

    I get it now; thank you for testing!

    ------


    I found this note by one of my reference links that I have in my Art Studio thread- was this ever addressed? I'm not technical but assume that has to do with the lighting not being an exact science, so to speak?

    "UE2 axis is off by 35%, has been for years, still not fixed as of Aug 2013"

    I haven't tested the particular UE2 case extensively, but this might be related to the situation I describe in this blogpost (i.e. it may not be UE2 fault at all): https://mustakettu85.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/live-and-learn/

  • Mustakettu85Mustakettu85 Posts: 2,882
    edited March 2015

    So... um. Do AoA lights compare to arealights, should I bother with uber arealights

    They are different. Think a photo studio softbox vs a stage spotlight or a handheld flashlight. A softbox is easier to simulate with an area light applied to a plane (appropriately sized). Heavily directional lights with harsher shadows are best simulated by spotlights.



    how does any of this migrate to !ray?

    Not that much. You will use different light shaders for Iray. But you can make surfaces emit light in Iray, too.

    Post edited by Mustakettu85 on
  • Oso3DOso3D Posts: 14,445
    edited December 1969

    Sure, but with uberarealight I can make surfaces emit light in 3Delight... mind you, it doesn't interact perfectly with a few things (for example, arealights don't work with Translucence)

    Anyone know if the purchased UberAreaLights are significantly different than the default UberAreaLights?

  • Mustakettu85Mustakettu85 Posts: 2,882
    edited December 1969

    Sure, but with uberarealight I can make surfaces emit light in 3Delight... mind you, it doesn't interact perfectly with a few things (for example, arealights don't work with Translucence)

    Anyone know if the purchased UberAreaLights are significantly different than the default UberAreaLights?

    That's what I meant. The concepts will translate between renderers, but the exact shaders will not.

    These ones?
    http://www.daz3d.com/omarealight-light-shader-for-daz-studio
    You don't need these. That shader is old; the free UberAreaLight that comes with DS is better and more up-to-date.

    There are "light kits" or "light sets" in the store using area lights, like those by Wowie or InaneGlory; these use the same UberAreaLight shader, but they can be a lot of help to learn from or simply for quickly setting up scenes.

  • Oso3DOso3D Posts: 14,445
    edited December 1969

    Ok, thanks!
    I've had pretty happy results with the included UberAreaLights.

  • wowiewowie Posts: 1,987
    edited March 2015

    Ok, thanks!
    I've had pretty happy results with the included UberAreaLights.

    One note about UberArea lights. Although they're not supposed to emit specular, they do if you're using them without any diffuse only ambient light (UE2, AoA's Adv Ambient Light set to diffuse only). That includes the UberSoft lighting kit as well.

    Post edited by wowie on
  • Age of ArmourAge of Armour Posts: 437
    edited December 1969

    Please keep in mind that, while there is some usage overlap between the Uber Environment light and the AoA Ambient light, they are intended for different purposes.

    Uber Environment is meant for scene wide environment lighting and therefore has features such as image based lighting/map directed directional AO shadows where my Advanced Ambient Light does not.

    Although it can be set to work scene wide, the Advanced Ambient Light was primarily designed to help simulate local bounced lighting (primarily for interiors) without the time expense of true, indirect bounced light calculation. This is done through the use of the distance falloff feature.

    One example might be the interior of a spacestation having a large window looking out into space... and off in the distance is a big spaceship. You may want some ambient light inside the station to simulate many lights bouncing off white walls and around the room. If you were to use Uber Environment, the AO would also globally illuminate the spaceship off in the distance which would look physically incorrect. Shadows outside of an atmosphere tend to be very dark and hard, unless of course you are near or in something like a light producing nebula.

    Through distance falloff or through flagging, the Advanced Ambient Light could be used to illuminate just the interior of the spacestation and avoid lighting anything outside of it, making a faster and more believable render.

    Please understand that if both Uber Environment and the Advanced Ambient lights are dialed to the same settings they do render at almost identical speeds and produce nearly identical results.

    However, due to additional features, the Advanced Ambient can be made to perform considerably faster. The use and benefit of these other features are conditional and definitely require some experience to determine when and where to use them to their full advantage.

    Some cases may be fairly obvious such as having the Easy Volume Camera ignore the Advanced Ambient and Advanced Distant Lights of a volumetric scene. This renders much much faster and eliminates the whiteout/wall-of-fog effect you would normally get when using another volume and light system.

    A less obvious case would be using primitive hitmode in scenes where there are many reflective and refractive objects. Or, use flagging to have the advanced lights completely ignore such items.

    The Advanced ambient light also offers a few other controls such as two different distribution curves, cone angle adjustment and hit-sides control. These all allow the user to change the look of the shadows. The differences are subtle and their usefulness is very much up to you to determine.

    The most lights and shaders are coded to flip the direction of any polygons that face away from the camera. This is called "Face forward" and produces great results on most single sided models, such as trans-mapped hair which has no mass to it, but rather is made of infinitely thin strips of polygons. However, Face Forward yields incorrect results in Subsurface Scattering.

    The renderer's SSS calculation needs to know where light enters and exits a mass. If some of the polygons are flipped the SSS calculation erroneously makes light travel the wrong way or misidentifies the model as being a series of thin shells rather than a solid, fleshy mass.

    Because of this, both the AoA Subsurface Shader and the Advanced Ambient Light were coded to allow the override of "Face Forward" polygons. When the shader and light are used together the result is subtle but, in my opinion, much better looking subsurface scattering.

    I hope this doesn't come off like a sales pitch. That is not my intention. After reading all the debate in this thread as to which is better or faster I just felt I should chime in and point out that the Advanced AO Light and Uber Environment each have their strengths and serve different purposes depending on your particular project, workflow and desired effect. Uber Environment and Uber Shader are both well made items which opened up a lot of new features to DS. Cheers to Omnifreaker!

    PS. Very nice render a few pages back Wowie!

  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 15,001
    edited December 1969


    I hope this doesn't come off like a sales pitch. That is not my intention. After reading all the debate in this thread as to which is better or faster I just felt I should chime in and point out that the Advanced AO Light and Uber Environment each have their strengths and serve different purposes depending on your particular project, workflow and desired effect. Uber Environment and Uber Shader are both well made items which opened up a lot of new features to DS. Cheers to Omnifreaker!

    PS. Very nice render a few pages back Wowie!

    It shouldn't be 'which is better'...it should be 'which FITS this render better'. You don't use a screwdriver to put in a nail nor a hammer to put in a screw.

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