In this episode I’ll show you how to create a string side light in DAZ Studio 4.9.
The default light looks very soft and does not create a dramatic effect, so we’ll see how to remove those first, and then apply our own parametric spotlight. In addition, we’ll add and tweak the default IBL to soften up shadows a little bit.
When DAZ Studio is finished rendering an image into a new window, we have the option to save it. But if we don’t do that, and there happens to be a power cut (and your computer is accidentally not connected to a UPS), where does that render go? Is it lost forever? Or is it saved somewhere secret?
Lucky for us, the render is indeed saved in a temporary location. By default, on Windows systems, the full path to temporary renders is
The Library can be reached when holding down CMD and selecting Go from the Finder menu.
Each temporary render is saved as a random letter or number. Note that as soon as you restart DAZ Studio, this folder is cleared! So the procedure upon DAZ Studio crashes or power cuts is to rescue those renders first, then restart DAZ Studio.
You can change the location of this folder under Preferences – General.
As with real life objects, lights in the Iray Render Engine are by default not invisible. They’re like a lamp in a film studio: if it wasn’t there, it wouldn’t emit light. But now that it’s there, it can sometimes get in the way, even though we want it to emit light.
Turns out there’s an easy way to make those physical objects invisible, so that we’re able to film/shoot/render/see right through them. Turning them invisible isn’t going to work, because once they’re gone, they won’t emit light anymore.
So head over to Light – Render Emitter and switch it off.
On means your light will be rendered as visible object, while off means it will still emit light, but the actual light object is no longer rendered.
The NVIDIA Iray render engine can be a bit of a mysterious box sometimes. Especially when it comes to lighting. But it doesn’t have to be. Let’s see how we can add a standard spotlight to our scene and set it up so we can use it properly with Iray.
Let’s take this simple scene as as demo and a staring point. It’s a there and a plane, both of which have Iray shaders applied (it’s Walnut on the floor, and orange car paint on the sphere).
Iray Default Light (IBL)
The default lighting for a new DAZ Studio Iray scene comes with a small HDRI image applied by default, and when we render our scene, we can see the effects of that light source.
Notice that there’s a small specular highlight on the sphere, on the left hand side (a small shots spot). This is the sun’s hotspot from the HDRI image map. As you turn the camera around, the hotspot moves. Alternatively you can move the Iray Dome to move that hotspot (under Render Settings – Environment – Dome – Dome Rotation).
Not every HDRI image has a sun though, and depending on which map you use, you may not even see such a hotspot in your renders.
Adding a Spotlight
The left hand side of our sphere is a little darker, and if this was a character’s face, we may want to brighten it up a bit. In 3Delight we’d just add a standard spotlight, tweak the intensity and shadows until we’re happy, and then we’re done with it. With Iray we’ll do the same thing – but the settings are just a little different. Continue reading How to use Spotlights with NVIDIA Iray in DAZ Studio→
Shaders are an important component in many 3D applications, but I never knew that DAZ Studio understood that concept too. I was under the impression that the relatively simple Surfaces Tab would be how to tweak what an object looks like.
Turns out, DAZ Studio has Shaders! And here’s how to apply them. Pay attention kids: this topic is going to become a lot more important as Iray waltzes into our 3D lives.
Select your object in the scene and head over to the Surfaces Tab. A Shader can not be applied to a selected model, we must select individual surfaces of the model first. In this example, I’m using the Genesis figure. I’ll select it so that all parts of the figure (and therefore all surfaces) are selected.
Now let’s find a Shader. I can’t find a way to display them in the Smart Content tab (huge surprise), but there are some we can find via the Content Library tab: under My DAZ 3D Library, find the Shader Presets folder. Explore any you’ll find in those subfolders. An interesting one is Shader Mixer.
With the desired surfaces selected, double-click any shader and do a render. Here’s Genesis rendered with the Flagstone Shader:
Notice how the Shader distorts the geometry of the figure. Or as Orange Toon:
You can also combine one shader with another: this can be helpful to prevent the new shader from replacing any texture maps we may have. Hold down CMD (or CTRL on Windows), then double-click the Shader you’d like to mix. Mind you, this doesn’t always work, but it’s what they suggest in the manual:
DAZ Studio 4.8 comes with several Iray Default Shaders, which can also be found under Shader Presets (indeed a weird name – but hey, I’m just the messenger).
It is recommended to apply the Iray Uber Base to any material that was originally setup to be rendered in 3Delight. This is an opportunity to mix shaders as described above.
The difference isn’t huge, but I guess they’ll eventually come out with Iray Skin Shaders and whathaveyou. Here’s a quick comparison between a character with default materials applied (left), and the Iray Uber Base mixed in (right):
Without the Iray Uber Base, under the Surfaces Tab, all we get is settings for RSL settings for 3Delight (=Renderman Shading Language, as defined by Pixar). Applying the Iray Uber Base will remove/convert these and make the MDL settings available (=Material Definition Language, as defined by NVIDIA).