DAZ Studio Iray Shaders Sale

I’m putting the finishing touches on a new tutorial, so just dropping in quick to let y’all know that there is currently a huge Iray Shader sale. There’s a bunch of other stuff on sale too, but Shaders, lots and lots of shaders!

Oh, and there’s a fresh stable DAZ Studio release out, also exciting! We are now up to version 4.9.4115. Check out the thread over at their forum for all the latest updates. Nothing too surprising in there if you have been keeping up with the betas.

Review: Iray Light Manager Pro (for Daz Studio)

413243Ordering Lighting Chaos In DAZ Studio

With the inclusion of Iray into DAZ Studio, managing lights became a lot more complex. With 3Delight, most of the lights settings could be configured via the properties or, alternatively, the lights tab, but now we have our lights spread over three tabs and a multitude of sub menus. We have our environment lighting, a physical sun and image based lighting maps (IBL) in our render tab; we have standard DAZ Studio lights available via the “lights” or “properties” tabs; and then we have our surface based lights accessible via the “surfaces” tab. In some cases you are going to be using all these tabs to configure lights for scenes

For some users, this is all fairly new and complicated. Users, familiar with Omnifreaker’s amazing shader and lighting tools for 3Delight, know the pain of having lighting settings spread out all over the place. It’s quite apparent that the way DAZ Studio currently organises lights is wildly inefficient. Thankfully Iray users now have Iray Light Manager Pro. This tool collects all environment, traditional lights (point, distant, spot), and surface lights into one interface.

And here enters Iray Light Manager PRO by V3Digitimes. I’m going to start with the fact that Light Manager Pro isn’t perfect, but it is worth the imperfection. It is a lot quicker than drilling down drop-down menus over several tabs. To start with I had to train myself not to go digging around in DAZ Studio’s menus (bad habits die hard), but once I got a feel for Light Manager, it became a new habit to use this. Clunky as it is, it is hands-down more efficient than clicking around the DAZ Studio interface going from tab to tab, to sub menus.

54233What Does Light Manager Pro Do For Us?

Light Manager Pro’s interface is simple and neat. It divided into six tabs, but most of the work will typically be done within three of those (DS Lights, Environment Light, and Surface lights). These tabs give near full control over our lights, and identify them clearly by type/label (DS Lights) and node/surface (Surface Lights). Controls include everything you find in the light type’s respective tabs (Surfaces, Parameters, Render > Environment), including the ability to apply IES profiles and set the geometry type for point and spot lights.

What is missing, is the ability to change light names (would be handy), and there is no option to set an environment texture. It would also be a bonus to be able to add or change textures on surface lights. These little changes will require going back to the lighting tabs. Everything else is here.

Now, the tabs that are bound to be used less. The Collective Actions tab is handy for quickly changing settings globally, such as increasing the intensity of all lights in a dark scene, or lowering them, if need be. Temperature and colour can also be changed.  There is also a handy feature to exclude categories or individual lights from the edits. The other two tabs provide controls to move lights and cameras.

Iray Light Manager Pro for Daz Studio in action.

Light Manager allows for rapid configurations of many lights.

Things I Didn’t Like

In addition to the small items I mentioned above there are some real gripes. My primary complaint about Iray Light Manager Pro is that opening it makes DAZ Studio inaccessible. You cannot interact with the rest of DAZ Studio at all while Light Manager is open. This is something that really ground my goat (whatever that means) with Reality 2. There is no reason for this. I often work with two monitors and I’d be very happy to work with Light Manager open, taking up a portion of the secondary real estate. Hell, it is so handy that I’d be happy to run it taking up part of the primary display.

Another issue I had with the fresh install of Light Manger Pro is it comes without a menu entry or hotkey. I found it by digging around in the content library. Obviously, having to go scrolling through the content library each time would be the opposite of saving time. That would be extremely annoying. Luckily it is easy to create a “custom action” which creates a script that activates Light Manager (see our tutorial on creating custom actions and keyboard shortcuts). This is very easy to set up by right clicking the icon in the “Scripts” folder and clicking “Create Custom Action”.

Streamlined Workflow: Final Thoughts on Light Manager Pro

Stalker: DAZ Studio Iray render. Ominous back-lit figure menaces in background as woman poses under soft lights.

Putting Light Manager Pro to the test and getting out of hand.

For me, having all the lights and controls located in a single place is intuitive and far more efficient than clicking all around DAZ Studio. The limitations of the program are mostly small, though I would love to see an update to allow DAZ Studio and Iray Light Manager to both be open and usable at the same time. That one point would raise my rating from a silver to gold, even with my other minor complaints left in.

If you wish for a simpler and more efficient lighting experience with DAZ Studio, then this is the plugin for you. As the plug-ins title suggests, it is intended for Iray, but I imagine it would be handy for controlling DAZ Studio’s traditional lights with 3Delight, though most features would be superfluous.

As I was writing the original copy of this review (which I ditched), I was working on a scene to give all the features a good testing, but as with such things, I got carried away with adding more things, and now I’m in the process of texturing a parasol. However, I did find that working with Light Manager Pro prompted me to be more creative with lighting, something I assume grows out of the streamlined workflow. And how can I offer greater praise than to say a plugin promoted greater creativity.

Parasol 3D model work in progress. Rendered in DAZ Studio.

Quick render of the item that kept me away from finishing this review earlier.


DigiSprawl Content Picks

[aside]I’ve been away from my render rig a while now. The current computer I’m using has a i7-960 I retired a few years back due to concerns it had been overcooked one too many times, so I’m not pushing it too hard. It’s amazing how quickly I grew accustomed to the 16GB RAM too. 8GB just seems poky, with the system chewing up a large chunk for it’s own purposes. Being back on the R7 290x graphics card with a mere 2GB RAM is the final limiting factor – no Iray. It’s been an interesting change of pace and given me some time to work on other projects.[/aside]

My Recent DAZ 3D Content Picks

Anyway, I’ve seen some interesting content come up in DAZ’s store and thought I’d share my picks. There have been a number of major DAZ character releases but I’m not counting those here.

SF Ball Joint Dolls Genesis 3 Bundle

One of my favourites, the Ball Joint Doll by Sickleyield Fuseling is back for G3. The doll is a surprisingly diverse product fitting themes from contemporary to the surreal.


ASN Model 4

DZFire has been making popular Robot/Cyborg characters for some time now and his latest addition, the ASN Model 4, looks very cool. I’ve made a lot of use of his earlier Cyborg Model 4.

ASN Model 4 by DZFire

Nomad for Genesis 3 Male and Female

Luthbellina produces some fine diverse character outfits. His current Nomads for Genesis 3 Male and Female. Hiking, down on one’s luck, or zombie survivors – you decide.


Rhys for Genesis 3 Male

Saiyaness’ catalogue my still be developing at DAZ 3D, but she has interesting and varied characters from the pretty to the ugly. Rhys for Genesis 3 Male is a dirty and pimply lad, perfect for your hard luck character or wastland survivor. See DigiSprawl’s artist feature with Saiyaness here.


Subsurface Workshop – SSS Shaders for Iray

It’s no over statement to say that DimensionTheory’s name is synonymous with quality lighting and surface products. It was the Interjection surface injections for the generation 4 figures that got me onto this guy. His hand painted subsurface scattering maps gave a level of control in configuring SSS for these figures that was very rare with any of the DAZ released characters. Thankfully SSS control maps have become somewhat more common since. Since then I have added many DT releases to my runtime.  …but I digress, DimensionTheory’s Subsurface Workshop For Iray contains some stunning looking shaders, covering plastics, waxes, fabrics and more. If I was rendering right now I would be on this.


Glassware Collection for Iray Vol. 2

As a sucker for shiny things I had to add ImagineX’s Glassware Collection For Iray Volume 2. If you’re similarly afflicted go check out the promo images. This is some fine glassware. Diverse and varied seems to be the key word for this post, and this product is no different. Lots of different pretty glass ware objects here.


There were plenty more recent releases that I wanted to add, but that’s already quite a lot of bling right there.