Building a better default light set for DAZ Studio
One of the (few) areas where Poser beats DAZ Studio hands down is its default light set. It is trivially easy in Poser to load a figure, add clothes and props, set a pose then hit Render and end up with something you’re likely to be happy with. With DAZ Studio each step is the same, but you will always need to add and adjust the lighting as a final stage. The default light set just doesn’t cut it, at all.
DAZ Studio default light setup. Not that great.
In a way, that’s a good thing as it means you have to stop and consider the lighting. But sometimes you just want to click Render and see something good appear before your eyes. It might be a finished image, but it’s more likely nothing more than a preview render so you can see how things are shaping up.
A default light set need to be two things: fast, and good enough. It needs to be fast because it is most likely going to be used for review purposes and all you want is a rapid render while you’re working, yet at the same time it needs to be good enough for those times when simply being good enough will do. Sometimes I just want a render of a new set of clothes, poses or a scene for reference purposes, and good enough is just that – good enough.
Ideally, a default light set should also be simple so that it can easily be fine tuned with minimal effort. The default Poser light set is made up of just three lights, and I’d say that’s the limit. The default “there are no lights” light set in DAZ Studio is just a single shadowless Distant Light, and that’s not enough.
I’ve been on a bit of a quest these past few weeks to create a light set for DAZ Studio that fits the bill; one that is fast to render, delivers good enough results yet is simple enough to adjust on the fly.
And by jove, I think I’ve got it.
Much better. Not perfect, but good enough.
Welcome to my new default.daz scene. I set up just the lights and backdrop, saved it then set it as the Default scene in the DAZ Studio Preferences (F2->select Scene tab). Whenever I hit CTRL-N, it loads up and I’m ready to play.
There are just four elements:
- the default Camera (of course)
- a Cyclorama backdrop that is pure white (easily replaced, and a good shadow catcher)
- a Distant Light at 30% intensity that casts no shadows
- a Spotlight from the top right (position 60,200,100, Xrot –20, Yrot 30) set to 70% intensity, Raytraced Shadows with 60% Shadow Softness
The Spotlight is the main thing, of course. This provides the shadows and therefore the depth to the images while the Distant Light is in place just to prevent the areas not covered by the Spotlight from blacking out. Between them they simulate a very simple photo studio setup that’s ideal for full length portraits – in other words, just what we need. The Spotlight is positioned to aim for a figure’s lower face but can easily by adjusted by looking through the Spotlight then using the Camera tools to position it accurately. Switch back to the Default Camera to position that, and you’re done.
Here’s a handful of images I created using just this default light setup. None of them will ever win awards – they’re just simple renders to see how different materials and textures work in this default scene.
Like I said. good enough.
‘Till next time!