If you are not going through your sets and environments and adjusting every single emissive light, LED, or display that you have bought your scenes are going to look like shit.
This is the single greatest mistake artists make with DAZ Studio.
I’ve loaded Coflek-Gnorg’s “600 feet below” (or something like that) set and the neon lights in this environment out of the box are all set to 10,000°K color temperature (like what the fuck?!) But that isn’t even the worst part. They are all set to 500,000 candlepower lumination! For fucking NEON LIGHTS that are supposed to illuminate an interior passage UNDER THE FUCKING GROUND.
With those settings, they might as well create a fucking plasma oven!
So let’s compare some lights shall we?
In red, I’ve highlighted the stock lights. 10,000K color temperature.
And in blue, I’ve dropped the luminance down to 50,000 LUMENS (not candlepower).
Is still too fucking high but that’s because the default DAZ exposure value is fucking 13. THIRTEEN!
A fucking 13 EV corresponds to a “typical subject on a bright cloudy day”. So the shutter is quite fast, and the aperture on the camera is quite small.
Technically, the appropriate EV for this scene might be !!! -2 !!! which corresponds to “nighttime beach or snow scene under a full moon”. And I’m saying that because there’s quite a lot of artificial lights in this scene.
You know, I’ve never actually used a negative EV before in DAZ. Let’s see what happens?
Did I call it or did I call it?
Now we begin to see the problem quite clearly. And clearly these lights have turned this environment into the core of a nuclear reactor!
But this shows you just how BAD most lighting actually IS in Studio and how bad most PAs are. Most DAZ artists don’t understand lighting and you can tell.
So let’s fix this shit!
Even 50,000 lumens is much too high.
So how many lumens does a 40 watt fluorescent tube actually have, and what’s the CORRECT color temperature?
6500K is much lower than 10,000K that’s for sure! But 4100K seems even better. Less than HALF of what the current color temperature is. 4100K it is!
And how many lumens does a 40w fluorescent bulb have?
Looks like it’s about 2600 lumens. Heh. And I had 50,000 lumens and THAT looked a metric fuckton better.
Let’s fix those lights.
It’s still too washed out so I’ll save you a screenshot because frankly it looks the same as the first one.
But there’s also some string lights. Some christmas tree lights. Those are probably 25w LEDs.
25w LEDs have 250 lumens per bulb. And I’m going to assume those are white LEDs with a colored housing. Let’s give them a 3500K color temperature.
At least you’re starting (starting) to see some definition in the scene now! But there’s still a LOT of lights we still need to adjust. Holy cow!
We’re still washed out because we have a fuckton of neon signs and lights with way too high of a lumen output.
Turns out neon signs have a luminosity somewhere between that of an incandescent bulb (10-20 lumens per watt) and fluorescent bulbs (50-100 lumens per watt). So let’s start with 500 lumens and see how that affects things and we can always adjust things up or down if we like. 4100K temperature, and 500 lumens. It might be too dim, or it might not.
And now with all the lights adjusted, things are looking MUCH better!
I mean, you can actually make out shapes now.
It’s still too bright. And to be honest that may be my fault. I have never gone into negative Exposure Values before. So let’s crank things up to an Exposure Value of 2. EV 2 is “distant city scape at night”. That might work.
Holy shit. Still too bright but you see how much more definition there is now in everything?
Ok, there’s a LOT of lights in this scene admittedly. Let’s crank our EV up to 4. EV 4 is “floodlit monuments or fountains at night”. (And just for comparison, EV 5 is “typical artificial indoor light”)
Now we’re talking!
What’s EV 5?
And EV 6? (EV 6 is “bright indoor lighting”):
Ladies and gentlemen, I think this is the one. But some of my lights might still be too bright though. Let’s do a test render!
LOL but first let me save this. Heh and I’m using the Public Beta too. Maybe that’s why it hasn’t crashed on me yet!
This is why you should always do a test render! I didn’t change anything. I just did a render. You can’t always trust the preview render in your viewport to show you a 100% accurate representation of what a render will look like.
Things look MUCH better though. In fact, I can probably drop the EV back down to 5 if I’m being honest.
I also have WAY too much red in the scene. And that was my fault! I inadvertently changed the color of some of the lights when I was trying to figure out what lights were flooding the scene at the very beginning of this so let me fix that real quick, drop the EV back down to 5, and do another render.
That is looking SO much better! Holy crap. See how the neon isn’t washing out the bulbs? There’s that soft faint glow around the neon tubes.
I can probably do with reducing the luminosity of those tube lights a little more. You can just barely make out the ends of the fluorescent tubes are a little darker than the middle.
So while my results may look quite similar to the stock results that came from the package, but flooding the scene with so much light to compensate for the utter asinine default Exposure Value in DAZ Studio you the artist lose a bit of control.
You will be well served to learn about photography and photographic techniques. They will help you learn to light your scenes properly. Using real world physics.
But unfortunately you will find that you will also need to tweak every fucking light in your scene too.
But your results will be so much better for doing so. This will especially help you if you want to render more intimate scenes. At night. Lit by candlelight perhaps. 1 candlepower is 12.57 lumens.