Luxus Updated

Joy of joys Luxus has just been updated with some very nice fixes. For those closely following the Luxus discussion thread on the DAZ 3D forums will have no doubt have already excitedly taken note of the recent update. Included in the fixes were depth of field, and gamma corrections. The translation of UberSurface settings, ones related to SSS in particular, are also likely at the top of users wanted list. I am looking forward to testing out the new DOF support. I don’t think a simple one to one translation from DAZ’s unrealistic camera to the Lux camera will carry too well, so I’m hoping SphericLabs took this into account when implementing the feature.

Full list of updates included in Luxus 1.0.0.4 as copied and pasted directly from the forums.

* Gamma – Colors are now properly linearized. This is important, everyone is encouraged to update and to click on Reset To Default at the bottom of Render Settings.
* Depth of Field values are now passed into LuxRender and work.
* Accidental resuming when overwriting is fixed
* Autotranslation of UberSurface tweaked in regards to the Gamma changes and to favor subsurface color.
* Transmap issues improved
* Extra Command Line for passing command line arguements to LuxRender. This allows advanced control of number of threads and even theoretically master/slave rendering control.
* IES lights files belong on the area light(in the material light section) and work.

Here’s a little something I put together with the help of Luxus the other day.

android luxrender image

Test of the hybrid GPU/CPU engine and IBL Image has been postworked for the sake of dramatic representation.

See my Luxus pseudo review for some early impressions of the program More on Luxus coming soon.

Reality Is Dawning

I know I’ve been talking Luxus up a lot lately (still got some more to come too), but I can’t say I’m not excited about Reality 3. According to a recent statement presented at The World-wide PoserExpo Online Seminar, R3 for Poser (later posted at Pret-a-3D) will be released on April the 8th at a discounted price of $39.95 (usually $59.95). SIDEGRADE AVAILABLE for Reality 2 owners just $14.95! You’ll be able to get your fresh baked copy from Renderosity, RuntimeDNA and Pret-a-3D. Pret-a-3D is apparently the only site that will be handling the tasty sidegrade option.

I’m sure that I’m not in the unique category of user that have both Poser Pro 2012 (or P9) and DAZ Studio, but prefer Studio for whatever reason. The question for us is, “how long are we going to have to wait for our version of the program?”. According to an dated FAQ posted on the front page of Pret-a-3D we can expect to wait about two months Post Poser release, but that was with an expected Poser version release date of November 2012… Does that mean it is closer or further away now? The same? I shall try to find the answer. [edit: Paolo Ciccone, developer of Reality just kindly provided us with an answer – see comments – saying the DS version should be available in about three months).

There is a lot to get excited about with the new Reality release, not least of which is the very cool feature that lets Reality talk to Poser’s node based material system and, as best as possible, produce Lux equivalent materials. Check out the Reality 3 preview for more of the goodies – alt text if you don’t want to sit through the YouTube presentation.

 

Luxus Pseudo Review

So I spent a bit of time playing with Luxus for DAZ Studio. I must say the work flow is quite streamlined when compared to Reality 2. Having access to the surface tool and the DAZ Studio native surfaces tab works for me a lot better than having to browse through long lists of materials in the Reality application in order to edit them. To find a specific material when working with Reality 2 often meant closing Reality getting the surface tool, selecting the specific surface, and then opening Reality back up. Allegedly this is all changed with Reality 3 which uses the native interface, but that is little consolation for DAZ users who have not heard an ETA for Reality 3 (currently in closed beta for Poser), so maybe Luxus will fill the time for DAZ Studio users looking for an alternative.

The first thing that stumped me about Luxus was getting nice looking Lux materials. I would look at the manual and go back to Studio, and then go back to the manual muttering, ‘what the hell does he mean “options menu”‘. Reading the manual you get the impression that 3delight materials will get something of a conversion to Lux, so I let up on the options menu search a bit and played around with my daz materials – doesn’t seem to do a great deal at all! Despite it all, Lux still gave me some reasonable renders, and damn is it quick when compared to just a short time ago.

alien palace luxrender

LuxRender image via Luxus for DAZ Studio. Model done in LightWave

 

alien palace luxrender

Android from DAZ 3D

Not bad, but I still wanted that extra pop ya get when working with materials native to the engine. I go back to the manual, muttering but finally the answer comes from a post at the DAZ forums. Here I’ll demonstrate with a screen shot.

luxrender materials via luxus

Easy as pi :) Click to expand

1. Surfaces tab
2. Select the material you want to convert to Lux
3. “Options Menu” dodad
4. Make it so!
5. Configure your sexy new mats

A similar process works for converting Studio lights to Lux lights, except that you use the parameters tab. So, once this little problem is overcome the full power of Lux is yours for the taking, though if you want the most out of the render engine I’d suggest a lot of reading (I know I need to at least). There are a number of things advanced users of Lux will like about Luxus, though I wouldn’t have the foggiest about those, but suffice to say that they will be able to do more of their pre render configuration with Studio’s interface and spend less time in a text editor doing manual tweaks.

To compare Luxus to Reality at this point I’d say that Luxus wins in terms of ease of use and price, but there are a lot of winning features of Reality such as the material previews, water, and fog primitives, material editor (once particular surface can be located!), and premade light rigs such as the soft box. I think, given time and further development Luxus will prove to be a worthy LuxRender bridge in the Studio user’s tool box. I think there is a lot to be optimistic about. The threads about Luxus on the DAZ forums are going strong, the developer is engadged in the discussion, and the general consensus is that Luxus is good.

…and here it is still on the cook at about 800 samples per pixle, but looking good in those nice shiny Lux materials.

alien palace 3 luxrender

Much better

Happy renderings!

Reality Killer?

luxus promo image

LuxRender is nothing new to unbiased rendering enthusiasts using DAZ Studio, but with the recent and rather stealthy release of Luxus there is now an alternative to Reality. The release of such an exciting new product as this is usually preceded with a certain level of marketing hype, but with the community in the throes of March Madness Luxus seems to have slipped in almost under the radar. The first I saw of it was today when an email titled “Rendering Just Got Better with Luxus” popped up. Going by the title alone I admit to a certain amount of excitedness even though I wasn’t certain Luxus was a LuxRender plugin. Following to the product page I find that not only is it indeed a DAZ/Lux bridge, but that it retails at a third of the price of Reality 2.5 – snap! Though Reality has a good established user base and a history of consistent updates, I doubt the older program will be able to afford not to drop its price in the near future.

Early comments by users on the DAZ forums are generally positive, and give a good over view of some of the program’s features, which are not thoroughly outlined on the products store page. Reportedly, Luxus exposes more of Lux’s features to the Studio user, and thus negates at least some of the manual text editing hardcore Reality/Lux users performed on their scene exports. Luxus also uses DAZ Studio’s native interface for configuring Lux scenes, so I imagine using the surface selector and surface tab could be a huge time saver over the somewhat clunky Reality surface editing workflow. Also a very handy feature is the ability, not only to perform Lux renders in DAZ Studio’s interface, but perhaps even better, perform area renders. Using Lux’s native interface for final renders is suggested as it allows for the alteration of some functions (including lighting) in real-time.

Well, I have to say I’m tempted. I haven’t done a Lux render in a couple of months and I was only just noticing the itch. At just $14 bucks (special price) it is hard to say no.

luxrender image

One of the first scenes I rendered with Lux via Reality 2

It is also worth mentioning that Reality 3 for Poser has just gone into closed beta [link dead – rip RDNA].