For the love of all gods tweak your scene's lights and exposure values!

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? :slight_smile:

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”)

EV 4:

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.


Thanks for this, very informative (especially for beginners like me).

Out of interest what is your thoughts on the filament view, it always seems to be over exposed compared to the IRay render view and I find myself having to adjust the exposure value when switching between the two.

I am impressed with Filament’s rendering speed. It’s basically a game engine inside DAZ studio.

But Filament is not Iray, and Iray is not Filament. It’s a completely different rendering engine with different quirks and characteristics.

And applying Iray techniques to Filmanet is going to cause you problems and will produce a substandard result. DAZ artists went through this about 5 or so years ago when DAZ first introduced Iray. Artists were attempting to apply the techniques they learned with 3Delight to Iray and were getting disappointed with the results.

You need to practice and learn the limits AND the capabilities of Filament and tailor your scenes to each of them accordingly. Just like you would have to do if you brought your scene into Blender to Octane.

A lot of new DAZ artists want everything to be one-button push. And while there are certainly some scenes and products set up for that, you will probably never find a Paint By Numbers piece of art hanging in any art gallery or museum and you are just as unlikely to find someone willing to buy such a print.

I also want to say thank you for this. I play around with a lot of setting…but not based on the knowledge of what they should actually be…but more on what looks more correct to me, but knowing the actual numbers is very beneficial and I saved a few of you images to keep as reminders and I screenshotted this:

to keep as well. I really do appreciate stuff like this. You are the best.

I’m just glad someone found it useful.

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I enjoyed the commentary.

I did buy 600 feet below, and haven’t really used it much. To me the emissives drag down the set, and do not accent it like it should. (What is with cyberpunk locations and neon lighting). There is something lazy about using too much neon, instead of the way it is used today- as advertising. I guess electricity is cheap in the future.

I admit to liking your second one with the red emissive in prominence.

Thanks for the tutorial.

Glad you liked the commentary. You know I’m a huge proponent of emissive lights and really have a strong distaste for HDRIs. It’s funny you were drawn to the red since that was actually a mistake but in life it’s those happy mistakes that sometimes produce the best results. Anybody who’s watched Bob Ross knows that I guess. :wink:

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ORRRR… you could use Iray Light Manager Pro to make your life easier. Via a single interface you have access to every single light source in your scene: actual lights (spots, points, etc), environment lights and surface/emissive lights. You can even control the draw style to go back and forth from texture shaded to Iray, etc. I’ve been using this tool for years and I am still barely scratching the surface of the things I can do with it. Just this weekend I figured out a bunch of useful steps and pre-render trials that will I forever use now.

Got a link to this tool? (too many results came up on DAZ search)

Iray Light Manager PRO | Daz 3D


Thank you so much for sharing this. Looks like I already have it!

It is an utterly fantastic tool. For years I used it to half ass surface settings and things without realizing how much easier it makes managing all the light sources and how you can see each contribution individually or all together.

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This is all very good explained and on point. Still, I’d like to add something, if I may. Sometimes it’s not the lights, but the materials. I’d bet some or all of the materials in the scene weren’t optimized for Iray, but still in the outdated DAZ-default shader. It’s why the darks in the image are too dark, basically just black, and the brights pure white. In Art one should always avoid areas that are just black or just white, digital or traditional. How do you fix this in DAZ? I have no idea. I mean there is no Ambient Occlusion for Iray, or did I miss it somehow? A workaround would be to render 3 images with different EV values, and composite them later into one with an image editor. (basically how HDR are made)

Iray is a physically based render engine, Ambient Occlusion is on by default and there’s no way to turn it off. If one is really concerned about surfaces not having Iray shaders, there’s a tool for that: RSSY 3Delight to Iray Converter. Its even customizable.

There is no way to tweak AO either. It’s what it is. Makes it hard to avoid too dark or too bright spots when tweaking the EV. What? yet another extra tool i presumably need to pay for? Like the Mesh-Grabber? that other software have already build in? no thanks.

As there shouldn’t be a way to “tweak” a naturally occurring property of light in a physically based render engine… Can you tweak the ambient occlusion in your room before you take a picture? I know I’m all about that. But most people adjust the lights. The Tonemapper is a tool, not a magic wand. And its a gross tool at that. Its a digital sandbox for god’s sake, you can put a light up a model’s nose if you want to.

You don’t “have to pay for” anything. You can bloody well do it all by hand if you prefer. And since you brought it up, the software is free. That’s an awful lot of machine to give a way for free, so… measuring it up against software that isn’t free (and since there really is only one other comparable piece of software…Poser) is disingenuous at best.

This just a classic DAZ player response. (Yeah, i think DAZ is more of a character creation game, more than an art tool.) A game where you purchase Figures, and yet cannot even properly play them.

  1. no you can’t tweak AO in your room. You can however tweak how your camera receives and processes the light, allowing you to achieve a desired effect.
  2. What if i don’t want to put additional lights in the models nose?
  3. The software is listed for $ 9.98 in DAZ Store, as I am writing this comment. Yeah, i know places where i can get it for free…
  4. Sure, I can apply IrayUber shaders over the old ones. Occasionally that’s good enough already. I’ve done so in the past. Problem is when the maps are just bad or missing. I’ll had to open up Photoshop, try to adjust them, or apply a different set of iray mats altogether.

I am comparing DAZ’ implementation of Iray to Blenders Cycles. I’ve never used Poser.

Maybe this forum should be renamed to “Unofficial DAZ3D Forums”.

I can’t even tell if you’re just being willfully obtuse at this point.

Do you think this guy quibbled over Ambient Occlusion, Exposure Value, or half a dozen other things? No. He had a vision and he made it. He used all the tools at his disposal to the best of his ability (which is pretty impressive).

My whole point is that you are making a mountain out of molehill. I’m not evangelizing anything. You want to make art, then make art. That means learning about your tools and how to use them properly, along with all the other things that go along with just art in general.

One could spend $10,000 dollars on software, content and a superfast rendering computer, that doesn’t make them an artist.

Time-out. :slight_smile:

I’m going to step-in here.

@Makso, I disagree with you that these forums should be called the Unofficial DAZ Studio Forums. Although I will candidly admit that the first 50 members of the site have an interest in and with DAZ Studio. But that is definitely not the vision or the purpose of this site. Full stop.

Like I told you originally, I’m happy you’re here. I personally want to better my Blender skills, and I personally believe the Blender and UE are the future for DAZ Studio.

But come on, you are in the #3d-software-discussions:daz-studio-discussion forum category! :slight_smile:

With that being said…

You both are right.

You’re 100% correct that Studio doesn’t give you some of the finer controls over surfaces and rendering that you can achieve in Blender Cycles to obtain certain special effects. 100%.

But Studio was never designed to be a competitor to Blender. Or even a replacement for Blender. Or any professional 3D editing software. Studio is a competitor to Poser.

It’s also not a game engine.

What it is more akin to is a visual story board.

And not sure if you knew this but Poser was originally designed as a tool for artists to pose figures so they could reference them to draw or paint. As in on canvas or paper.

And Studio is free. It’s always been free. I’m not sure where you saw Studio for $9.95 but it’s 100% free and has been for the past 16 years from

And when you remember that DAZ Studio is not Blender, nor is it even supposed to be anything like Blender, you understand that DAZ Studio doesn’t by default offer mesh and vertex editing capabilities.

Neither does Marvelous Designer or Unreal Engine I might add. Probably because neither Marvelous Designer nor Unreal Engine do what Blender does.

So the fact that there is an add-on, by a third-party, that provides rudimentary mesh and vertex editing capabilities to Studio it’s no wonder it’s become one of the most popular add-ons in the marketplace.

99% of DAZ Studio users have never launched Blender, let alone 3DS, Maya, or even Zbrush.

And @evilded777, Makso does make a point when you recognize his frame of reference isn’t DAZ Studio. Compared to Blender, 3DS Max, Maya, and others; forget whether or not if Studio is playing in the same ballpark, DAZ Studio isn’t even playing the same game.

And that’s fine. Because Studio isn’t marketed as a professional 3D sculpting, rigging, texturing, or editing tool either.

I’m not defending anybody, just providing a little background, history, and perspective for you both.

As a matter of fact I do. How else would he be able to realize his vision?

I was refering to the add-on suggested by @evilded777 RSSY 3Delight to Iray Converter | Daz 3D

Step in @mjc3d , I welcome you, hah. But, not to end the discussion. The purpose of Forums is to discuss right? It’s not very hard to find flaws in DAZ. I can tell you about shit that annoys me in Blender too. But why in hell would i defend the one or the other? They just two pieces of 3D software with entirely different purpose and are targeting different people as potential users.- I do have DAZ installed and occasionally render a character preview with it. Iray is just great for that.

Now, back to the original post. If there were AO controls for Iray within DAZ, one could make a render of the original scene posted, without messing around with the emissive light strengts or ev’s. And it would look something like this (this is a simple photoshop edit (shadows and highlights) dd41a43e8646be3ebc60f417a33dc0969cbbab7f_2_690x429