▲ This video shows how easy it is to render a scene with Reality 2. You will see how to call the plug-in, set the light correctly and edit the materials
There are two main render engines in the ready-to-render market: Firefly in Poser and 3Delight in Daz Studio. Some users may detour into POV-Ray or Kerkythea, or export their objects into a modelling or rendering package, but generally the former are the main options. Pret-a-3D’s Reality 2 plug-in aims to change this for DAZ Studio users. A plug-in to export to the non-biased LuxRender, Reality 2 offers an alternative to the 3Delight engine by enabling you to set your scene in Daz Studio and, via the plug-in, tweak and set it up for export to LuxRender.
Compared with its first release in 2010, Reality 2 now sports increased functionality in a matured interface. One of the exporter’s most important functions, the materials settings, have been tightened and tweaked to include multiple material editing in one go, a bigger glass and metal library, and a more accurate Daz-to-Lux material conversion.
Despite the increased functionality in the Materials tab, this isn’t where the standout features are. You’ll find these in the Lighting and Output tabs. The Light Editor has been given a refresh, offering increased control over lights implemented in the scene, and how they will render in LuxRender.
In addition, the Light Editor now sports the option to import IES light data onto Point or Mesh lights, enabling you to use a real-world lighting set-up based on photometric data. Other clear improvements are the inclusion of editable sun and atmosphere light controls, common light presets, and the ability to assign textures to certain light types.
▲ Using full HDRs rather than TIFs, the Reality plug-in enables you to merge Vue Frontier HDR output with Daz Studio figures into new, easily lit scenes
Regardless of whether you’re a hobbyist or a pro, render speed is always a concern. This release has tried to address this with additional rendering options in the Output Editor. You can now render interior and exterior scenes faster via LuxRender’s GPU (provided the video card supports OpenCL), by enabling the GPU Acceleration tab. In addition, you can now access LuxRender’s SmallLux GPU, or SLG, to facilitate blazing-fast renders for certain types of simple scenes. Furthermore, the addition of Photon and Smart Photon scene types in the Scene menu can further increase render speed, although the SmartPhoton map is still a work in progress in LuxRender.
While Reality generally succeeds in doing more, better and faster, it’s not entirely issue-free: there are times when material edits won’t take. You can work around this by exiting and restarting the plug-in and Daz Studio, but it’s still a hassle. Also, it can be difficult to get GPU rendering and SLG in particular to work, especially when using content with erroneous Poser naming conventions, and on some Nvidia cards.
Despite these fairly small shortcomings, Reality 2 is definitely a plug-in worth investing in for those who want to take their ready-to-render content renders a notch further. As LuxRender is a non‑biased, real-world renderer, it can provide you with better – albeit not faster – renders in a few clicks.
Light Editor improvements
Render acceleration settings
ACSEL shader library
Materials sometimes don’t take
Daz Studio memory usage can affect it
Experimental settings can’t always be used for production-type renders
Plugging into a real-world light renderer like LuxRender via Reality can help you take your renders a notch further
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Cirstyn Bech-Yagher is a long-time freelancing all-rounder, doing anything from project management to modelling, rigging and texturing