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IamUman's avatar

Realistic lights in Daz Studio

This tutorial is a bit outdated. You're better of following my new tutorial:

How to create a realistic portrait in Daz Studio by IamUman

Interesting links:

Skin textures:

Danae's Milan:…
Moonbunny/Callad’s Charlie and Neve:…
edit: the Indira textures: are very good and also have very good eye textures!
and the Rio textures by Danae are just superb:…

Eye textures:


Interesting links:

Wikipedia on backlighting:…
Portrait lighting: www.professionalphotography101…
UberEnvironment wiki:…
UberSurface wiki:…
Having sex for the first time? Here's what to expect:…
My tutorial on combining rendered layers in Photoshop:…

the light-setup used in this tutorial (not sure if this will work):…
the photoshop-file with the postwork layers (you need PS CS3 or up):…

Some renders done with this ligthing:
Zombie Huntress II by IamUman The Doom of Avenging Justice by IamUman Amila by IamUman Nubia by IamUman
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© 2010 - 2021 IamUman
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Becarra's avatar
This is great, I'm definitely going to have a go at this :)
ElleryEmjay's avatar
Thank you so much. I really appreciate your tutorial. It's very direct and clear. If you would please, could you look at the promo pics for this product and tell me how such a high level of realism was achieved, it would be a huge help:…. Is it really just about the lighting product and the techniques you're describing here, or is there something I'm not understanding? The quality of the pictures is unreal. I'm trying to learn how to do the same thing. 
IamUman's avatar
yes, well... my tutorial is six years old and is actually out of date because it still uses the technique of 3Delight to render but Daz Studio has a new more realistic renderer called iRay.
Not only the renderer is different but also the lights (distant lights don't exist anymore in iRay).
So actually, if you are going to use the iRay renderer (which you should) than this tutorial is useless :-)

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you're going for realistic renders:
- indeed the lighting is very important. iRay is better than 3Delight. Hdri is great but adding more lights (not only 1 hdri but add several spotlights) will give an even more realistic result
- textures are really very important if you're looking for realism (I'm now mainly talking about skin textures). There are a lot of bad textures out there so look very carefully at promo-images and choose one that is already looking realistic. If a texture is bad than even with the best lighting in the world you will not achieve realism.
- If you are going for realism than everything has to be realistic. The skin, the eyes, the hair, the pose, the expression,... If 1 or 2 of these elements are not realistic, than the overall result will not be realistic. Or in other words: if you have unrealistic looking hair than it will ruin the entire realism of the picture. Even if the skin and lights are perfect.
- It takes a lot of practise to get good realism. There is not 1 magic plugin that automatically makes everything realistic. It took me several years to get a decent realism effect (Elianeck also is already doing renders for years!). It's easier since iRay exists but it is still quite hard.
- Also it takes lots of testrenders to get lighting right. I usually have something like 200 testrenders whilst I'm making a render. I testrender all of the time. Doing lot's of testsrenders is one of the secrets to getting good results.
- Another little secret is that Daz3D tends to only have perfect models and that in real life people are not 100% symmetric (the left side of your face is different from the right side of your face) so deliberatly add imperfections will give more realism.
- Another little tip: look for good eye-textures (hard to find!). The eyes are incredibly important in getting realism. People always look at eyes so bad eye textures will immediatly ruin any realistic effect.
- the same goes for hair

- another tip for light (especially true when using iRay): when you set up lights: think as a photographer. Study about studio lighting. People who know about lighting (like photographers) have a hugh advantage when setting up lighting in 3D programs. 

That's about it.
Practice a lot.
ElleryEmjay's avatar
Hey, thank you so much. Sometimes asking people how to do certain things is met only with silence--so, thanks again. It means a lot to me that you were willing to answer. I will consider carefully your advice--each and every tip, and I will study them as I practice my art. Take care for now. I love your work!
GreyGhost64's avatar
Thanks for the tips!
Thanks for the tutorial. I would like to text file to translate to Spanish . I do not know english
IamUman's avatar
I'm sorry, I don't have the text file anymore.
designerinc's avatar
hey!!1 awesome work, must have taken ton of your time to wait for the rendering and then add to this amazing you have a tutorial on dick chicks..... not joking....if you can help me out..pls and thank you
IamUman's avatar
Thanks for your comment. The rendering did not take much time. Making the tutorial did. 
My tutorial is about rendering not modelling. Rendering dick chicks is not diferent from rendering chicks without dicks.
awesome tutorial.
Darkfantasizer's avatar
Hey Dude, your tutorial helped me improve my lighting techniques. I still have a lot to learn but I've got a better idea how to position the lights now. Thank you very much for this :-)
allfree64's avatar
Te mando un saludo, ya te he comentado en alguna ocasión sobre las bondades de tu trabajo pero hoy solo te quiero agradecer los links que son muy importantes para quienes empezamos en estos asuntos de oluminación virual T.V.O pronto para comentar la experiencia gracias
espe71's avatar
Thank you for your clearly tutorial...
Always looking for good tutorials, especially on lighting.  Very much appreciate your taking the time to explain in such detail.
Lorisor's avatar
Good show...erh...tutorial.
sohighlydubious's avatar
Great tips and tricks, thanks very much for taking the time to make this!
Poppechild's avatar
Thank you for this great tuto, your tips helped me a lot. :)
portisHeart's avatar
thx for another good tutorial! and interesting links ^^
dimitris061992's avatar
where can i download daz i have install manager but i dont know how?
IamUman's avatar
All files and documentation can be found at
FirstDarkAngel2001's avatar
greetings and hello! ^^ working with this tutorial, as well as of your other tutorial on photorealistic skin, I managed to bring this out into life: firstdarkangel2001.deviantart.…

I had to modify a few of the things that you had mentioned within the realistic skin tut, but overall I loved how it came out. :D This is a work in progress, because the next part will be of painting the hair on it, but I just wished to start it off with the initial render so that I can show the progress on it. ^^
IamUman's avatar
very nice!
Glad you're finding some use in my tutorials.
FirstDarkAngel2001's avatar
definitely! :D with how great your artwork comes out, I couldn't help but to try the tutorials. ^^
Seumda's avatar
thank you, great tutorial
oh and that "having sex for the 1st time", I thought it was lightning method too, which isn't sadly
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