Creative Emissive Lighting by Khory
In the interest of full disclosure, I recieved a pre-release copy of this product and I contributed some editorial comments on the included PDF file. That in no way contributed to my desire to write this article nor did it color my opinion of the product. If you've read my other work, you know I am a fan of Khory's work, but I always try to be fair.
When I first recieved the files for this set, I must admit I was a little bewildered as to how I might use it. To say that its a mixed bag is putting it lightly. Khory always pushes the boundaries with her lights, its something I always admired about her and why I always picked up her light sets: there was always something new to learn, some interesting angle that she had come up with that no one else was doing at the time. But this set... its not your average set of lights. Its not properly a set of lights at all: its a toolkit, a paint box to add lighted surfaces to your renders.
There's no question that adding visible lights to your scenes in iRay is tricky, at best. Getting the right balance of emitted light with a surface that actually looks good is hard. I have often avoided using visble light surfaces because of these reasons. It really didn't occur to me, even after reading the PDF document, that this product was absolutely intended to create these types of surfaces and it does it very well.
I have to take a moment here to talk about something that is one of the most common mistakes that I see people make: trying to illuminate a scene entirely with visible light sources, and not "cheating" by using spotlights and point lights. Even with creative tone mapping, this is a difficult proposition most of the time. Mind you, I'm not saying its impossible, just that its very difficult to do effectively; not to mention that one is not going to end up with much of an attractively lit scene. But that is a subject for another time.
I don't normally take ad copy from a product for my articles, but this is a special case:
One of the most exciting things about Iray is how easy it is to work with emissive lighting. This set was created to help you add emissive effects to a wide variety of surfaces. Some will have an obvious use and others I hope will inspire you to think out of the box about using them.
Included in this set are:
- 70 multi colored presets that are texture driven. They span from a simple star field to almost organic patterns.
- 10 presets based on the color temperature of everything from candle light, to sunshine.
- 1 preset that will convert a surface to the uber Iray shader with emission turned on, but will not remove any of the maps that are already attached to the surface. This makes it easier to “turn on” surfaces.
- 5 luminosity adjustments for quick changes to the light level.
- 20 Simple solid colors to do quick changes on surfaces for effects like neon and simple LED lights.
- 120 tone on tone presets consisting of 6 different patterns each in the 20 solid colors.
- 9 tiling settings for quick tiling adjustments.
This collection is surprisingly inventive, but it is also quite utilitarian. The few renders I've done here don't even begin to explore the possibilities. I've used only a few of the more basic solid colors and a few patterns and adjustments. And I used props with modeled in light sources because its the most obvious use, but if you look at the promo renders that Khory did you'll see that she did not limit herself to that sort of thinking: she uses primitive shapes and props one wouldn't normally think of as light sources.
The funny thing here is that Khory wants this set to spark your creativity and I am having the hardest damn time writing about it! I want to compare it to other products, but the only other products that I can think of that are even remotely similar do not come close to the depth and utility of this product. The utility part of this product alone is equal to similar products, but when you add the other, unique presets into the mix you get something that simply stands high above the rest.
With this handy toolkit you can create anything from torchlight to glowing LEDs or unique special effects. Just browsing through the options can set you off in directions you might not have considered. I truly recommend this set as something you'll find yourself coming back to over and over again for practical uses and inspiration!
Render Studio Iray
Render Studio Iray is a new product from the mind of Colm Jackson of Runtime DNA. Render Studio, as a concept, goes back several years. The first product, if I recall correctly, was Render Studio for Vue. That was one of my first introductions to Vue and I bought Render Studio, which was (at the time) a handful of props and some lighting. Not long after Render Studio for Vue, the first Render Studio for Poser was introduced.
I don't ever want this site to become one of those 'buy this, this is neat' sites. Everything I will talk about will be something I have bought. I will always try to review things completely and give my honest opinions and recommendations. That being said, this post is going to be a little different. I've been waiting for this product from Khory (there's a link to her entire store) for a while. I've been a huge fan of her texture/material collections and her light sets for a long time. I'm not one to use pre-made light sets often. Generally, unless it is a set designed to work with a particular prop or environment, I buy light sets for inspiration and for adapting to my own needs. Khory always came up with unique lights and I always tried to pick them up to see what I could learn.