Theory of Light Dimension

Theory of Light Dimension


Lightning is always a challenge when creating 3D art or art in general.

You can spend hours setting lights, trying to get the right feeling for your image….well, if you have done this, you know exactly what I mean…..

I started a few years ago with Poser. For me, at that time, lightning was merely using “distant” or “spot” lights and struggling to get something that made an image…nothing more.

I started visiting forums and galleries on various websites and discovered that some artists were creating some amazing images…..

There was something I was missing elsewhere…..

I tried to learn more and discovered some strange terms like IBL, IDL, HDRI…..

I then spent many  hours learning more about it. I discovered that lightning a scene could be more than just setting some lights pointing at a character and that it could express more things!


While doing my research, I also started learning DAZ Studio.

I’m not an engineer or a wizard, just a normal guy trying to understand things….

Browsing my content tab, I found something strange called “Uber Environment”…

I had a close look at it and discovered that there was another way of lightning my scene!

I may look like a dummy, I know, but I never learned “graphic art” nor was I able to draw anything decent on a paper with a pencil…So, doing 3D images and lighting them was still “experimental” for me!!!

On my experimental journey, I decided to create my own IBL or HDRI looking maps.

But, I rapidly saw that creating such maps was a little bit complicated…and could be very expensive!!!

So, I searched for another way:

I needed something to create a spherical image around a place to capture the lights, shadows…and create my very own effect.

I did not find a spherical camera neither in Poser nor in DAZ.

I finally found one in Carrara and I gave it a try. As Carrara was not able to export HDR images, I saved them with Genetica and it worked!!

I also did this in Vue Frontier (affordable solution)…and Vue is really an amazing tool for this!!…and for the rest as well…

Now, I have lightwave and here is a quick example of how to do it with it:

I will start by loading a scene with a spherical dome and a lot of item. I chose “Urban Sprawl” from the great Stonemason ( From this single product, you can create dozens of HDR maps for your own purpose as it is huge, detailed and has tons of places to load your camera.


Select all props and export as fbxtheory_of_light_dimension_3

Import in Lightwave


Center your camera for a first test


Add a spherical light and increase luminosity of the sky dome

Set your camera to cylinder and set resolution as described,


Set your global render settings, render and save as HDR


Once in DAZ, in Iray mode, replace the “Environment map” with your new one:


                                                      Original map                                                   New map

As our new map is very dark, just a rapid dome rotation and a little increase of environment power


I did it quickly but tweaking dome orientation, color, saturation can drastically change your render


Now, you get a new and completely different image. You just have to add some lights to get the expected result.

To save time and get a professional result:

One of the great published artists at DAZ for this topic is DimensionTheory

I have purchased many products from him…Shaders, Lightning sets….They are always great products with really great value!

He just released a new set of HDRI maps this week:

iRadiance – HDRI Variety Pack Three


(image courtesy of DAZ)


(image courtesy of DAZ)

There are many other packs on his store page.


The images we created work for both 3Delight and Iray, but,

For those who want rapid stunning result in a few clicks in 3Delight, I recommend this old set:


(image courtesy of DAZ)

I did many, many renders with it with always great results!

To finish:

Well, I did not demonstrate any theory….I told you, I’m not a mathematician…Just a simple guy that loves 3D images….and playing with words!!!

If you are like me and love creating your own environment and getting the most out of your lights:


Happy rendering!!

Fly028 is an accomplished 3D C.G. enthusiast. He has been creating content for DAZ Studio and Poser. Fly028 collaborates with DREAMLIGHT on trainings and content development which he has done for some years now.


3 Responses to “Theory of Light Dimension”

  1. Kurt May 20, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    I like using Vue as you did. Rendering out a basic sky and scene in spherical mode and outputting an HDRI. Back in DAZ Studio, I found that when using this with uber environment, some strong light sourcing can be introduced into the scene for some VERY interesting results. Some of the background lighting for this image came from using this technique:

    • Val Cameron May 30, 2016 at 1:39 pm #


  2. BC Shelby July 7, 2016 at 9:58 pm #

    …not having the system resources to really get the most out of Iray (nor the financial ones to build such a system as well as purchase pro grade software like Lightwave) I am considering returning to 3DL.

    One of the real nice utilities not mentioned above is Age of Armour’s Advanced Lighting system whihc I found to be acrruate and very fast with regards to rendering. As with Iray, I find UE to be extremely slow and taxing on my system, sending core temps to 80C. Recently I rendered a scene using DimensionTheory’s Yosemite HDRI set with five frames of motion blur for the background. It looked great but the final render time was a staggering sixteen and a half hours at 1,600 x 1,200.

    In scenes where I substituted AoA’s lights, rendering was accomplished in a fraction of the time compared to UE, even with multiple figures reflective surfaces and abundant transmaps. I often have used DimensionTheory’s various sky sets with the UE components turned off and the AoA lights instead and the scenes look just as good.

    Granted, this does not work for the spherical HDRIs as there is no IBL component (it usually has to be “faked”), however the Advanced Ambient light sort of fills this role to an extent. For general bounce lighting I often place a low intensity AoA distant light off camera behind a wall/vertical surface or below the ground plane (with shadows turned off) opposite of the main lighting source in the scene. True, the results are not photo real like Iray, but I can get pretty darn close.

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