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Getting Started

Features

Shader Builder provides the ability to create and/or modify RSL shaders in a visual environment. The following shader types are supported by Shader Builder:

  • Surface Shaders
  • Displacement/Bump Shaders
  • Light Shaders
  • Volume Shaders
  • Imager Shaders

Each shader type supports a standard set of DAZ Studio parameters and even allows the addition of new parameters that become visible within the standard DAZ Studio Surfaces or Parameters tabs. Shaders are created from building blocks that can be connected within Designer:

INSERT IMAGE

Shader Builder supports all RSL functions defined by the RenderMan Interface Specification (RISpec). It even allows creation of new custom function and macro blocks to extend the repository of available operations.

Shader Builder includes a sample set of built-in shaders that leverage a wide range of the power in the underlying rendering engine and are a good starting point for building your own shaders. See Shader Categories for details.

Shader Builder shaders are compiled as standard binary shaders. So, in addition to being a great developer tool for DAZ Studio, it can be used as a visual development environment for creating shaders used by other/external RenderMan compliant renderers, such as Pixar's PRMan, Aqsis, Pixie, etc.

The Shader Builder Tab

The Shader Builder tab can be found by navigating to the View > Tabs menu and selecting the Shader Builder item from within DAZ Studio.

INSERT IMAGE

Like all tabs in the DAZ Studio interface, you can dock the tab anywhere inside your workspace.

The Catalog

Shader Categories

There are 5 base shader categories (Surface, Light, Displacement/Bump, Volume and Imager), each representing the corresponding shader type as defined by the RISpec. Each category has the ability to have/maintain sub-categories. Each category can contain Shader Networks of the corresponding type. Below is a list of the base shader categories, each encompassing a list of sub-categories and Shader Networks within them.

Surface
  • INSERT IMAGE Power - A network for a surface shader that includes controls for ambient occlusion, indirect diffuse, reflection and refraction.
  • INSERT IMAGE SimplePlastic - A network for a surface shader that includes reflection and refraction.
  • INSERT IMAGE SimpleSkin - A network for a surface shader that includes fake subsurface scattering and controls for freckles and moles as well as additional highlights.
  • Larry Gritz
    • INSERT IMAGE Eyeball - A network for a surface shader that looks like plastic, procedurally colored like an eyeball.
    • INSERT IMAGE Veined Marble - A network for a procedural surface shader with a veined marble surface.
  • RenderMan Companion
    • INSERT IMAGE Blue Marble - A network for a procedural surface shader from the RenderMan Companion p.355, that looks like blue marble.
    • INSERT IMAGE Blue Marble Mod - A network for a modified version of the shader above with the added ability to adjust the marble colors.
  • RiSpec
    • INSERT IMAGE RI Constant - A network for a basic surface shader that provides a constant color/opacity across the entire surface.
    • INSERT IMAGE RI Matte - A network for a basic surface shader that provides diffuse only shading.
    • INSERT IMAGE RI Metal - A network for a basic surface shader that looks like metal.
    • INSERT IMAGE RI PaintedPlastic - A network for a basic surface shader that looks like plastic, which can also have a map applied to the diffuse contribution.
    • INSERT IMAGE RI Plastic - A network for a basic surface shader that looks like plastic.
    • Simple
      • INSERT IMAGE RI Matte Simple - A network for a simpler implementation of the same shader above.
      • INSERT IMAGE RI Metal Simple - A network for a simpler implementation of the same shader above.
      • INSERT IMAGE RI PaintedPlastic Simple - A network for a simpler implementation of the same shader above.
      • INSERT IMAGE RI Plastic Simple - A network for a simpler implementation of the same shader above.
Light
  • INSERT IMAGE AmbientLight - A network for a light shader including ambient occlusion and indirect diffuse (aka 'color bleeding').
  • INSERT IMAGE Distant Light - A network for a basic Light shader.
  • INSERT IMAGE IBL Light - A network for a very simple Image Based Light.
  • INSERT IMAGE Point Light - A network for a basic Point Light.
  • INSERT IMAGE SpotLight - A network for a basic Spot Light.
  • Larry Gritz
    • INSERT IMAGE Uberlight - A network for a light shader based on Ronen Barzel's paper “Lighting Controls for Computer Cinematography” with many fancy controls.
Displacement/Bump
  • INSERT IMAGE SimpleDisplace - A network for a simple displacement shader.
Volume
  • INSERT IMAGE Fog - A network for a basic volume shader that looks like fog.
  • RiSpec
    • INSERT IMAGE RI DepthCue - A network for a basic volume shader that makes surfaces fade to a defined color the further away from the camera they are.
    • INSERT IMAGE RI Fog - A network for a basic volume shader that looks like fog.
Imager
  • INSERT IMAGE Imager -
  • RiSpec
    • INSERT IMAGE RI Background -
Category Item Context Menus
  • All Categories
    • New Sub Category… - Displays a dialog that allows you to specify the name of a new sub category.
    • Browse to folder location… - Displays a standard OS file browser window at the path on disk for the category.
  • Sub Categories
    • Rename Category… - Displays a dialog that allows you to specify a new name for the category.
    • Delete Category - Deletes the category. Note that the category cannot be deleted unless it is empty.

Shader Network View

The Shader Network View portion of the Catalog is used to display a list of Shader Networks that reside within the selected category. A Shader Network is a collection of the information used to produce the RSL shader, along with the generated scripts that connect the shader to DAZ Studio. A special Reset Shader option is provided within each of the base categories.

Shader Network Item Context Menus
  • Surface
    • Apply to Selected Surface(s) - Applies the shader to the currently selected surface(s). An attempt will be made to transfer values from the properties of the current shader to the applied shader, using property names that match identically.
  • Displacement/Bump
    • Apply to Selected Surface(s) - Applies the shader to the currently selected surface(s). If the selected surface(s) is the DAZ Studio default, the Shader Builder default surface shader will be applied so that the Displacement shader can then be added. If the selected surface(s) already has a custom shader applied, the Displacement shader will be added to the list of shaders used by the surface. If a custom Displacement shader is already applied, the current shader will be replaced by the one being applied. An attempt will be made to transfer values from the properties of the current shader to the applied shader, using property names that match identically.
  • Light
    • Create New Light… -
    • Replace Selected Light(s)… -
  • Area Light
    • Apply Area Light to Selected Surface(s) - Applies the shader to the currently selected surface(s). If the selected surface(s) is the DAZ Studio default, the Shader Builder default surface shader will be applied so that the [Area] Light shader can then be added. If the selected surface(s) already has a custom shader applied, the [Area] Light shader will be added to the list of shaders used by the surface. If a custom [Area] Light shader is already applied, the current shader will be replaced by the one being applied. An attempt will be made to transfer values from the properties of the current shader to the applied shader, using property names that match identically.
  • Volume
    • Apply to Selected Surface(s)… - Applies the shader to the currently selected surface(s); with a scope that is local to the selected surface(s). A dialog is displayed prompting you to select the type of Volume shader to apply; one of Atmosphere, Interior, Exterior. If the selected surface(s) is the DAZ Studio default, the Shader Builder default surface shader will be applied so that the Volume shader can then be added. If the selected surface(s) already has a custom shader applied, the Volume shader will be added to the list of shaders used by the surface. If a custom Volume shader is already applied, the current shader will be replaced by the one being applied. An attempt will be made to transfer values from the properties of the current shader to the applied shader, using property names that match identically.
    • Create New Camera… -
    • Apply to Selected Camera(s)… -
    • Apply to Current Camera… -
  • Imager
    • Create New Camera… -
    • Apply to Selected Camera(s)… -
    • Apply to Current Camera… -
  • All Types
    • Compile Network - Creates the compiled version of the shader, the custom Preset to apply the shader as an end user, the element (DzShaderCamera, DzShaderLight, DzShaderMaterial) definition script called by the Preset and the shader (DzRSLShader) definition script called by the element definition.
    • Edit Shader… - The same as double-clicking a Shader Network. Displays Designer in a modal dialog, with the Shader Network loaded within it.
    • Rename Shader… - Displays a dialog allowing you to specify the new name for the Shader Network.
    • Duplicate Shader… - Displays a dialog allowing you to specify the name for an exact copy of the Shader Network.
    • Delete Shader - Deletes the Shader Network.
  • Empty Area
    • New Shader… - The same as clicking the New shader… button. Displays a dialog allowing you to specify the name for the Shader Network. Then launches Designer.
    • Refresh - Refreshes the display of icons and arranges Shader Networks in ascending order.

Applying Shaders

Shaders must first be compiled before they can be applied (see Compiling Shaders for details). If a shader has not been compiled or one of the required files is missing, an error message will be displayed prompting you to recompile the shader.

Shaders are applied from the Catalog in one of two ways:

Context Menu

The first method of applying a shader is done through the context menu for the corresponding Shader Network.

  1. To apply a Surface, Displacement/Bump, or local Volume shader, first select the target surface(s) within the DAZ Studio Surfaces tab and/or use the Surface Selection Tool in the active viewport.
  2. Select a Shader Category from the list on the left side of the Catalog (optionally expanding categories as needed).
  3. Access the context menu for the Shader Network by right-clicking it.
  4. Apply the shader using the appropriate menu item. For Volume shaders you will be asked to choose the Volume shader type (Atmosphere, Interior or Exterior – see the RISpec for an explanation of the different Volume shader types). For all other shader types the shader is applied according to the option chosen and replaces any existing shader(s) that are applied.

Drag-n-Drop

In addition to the standard method of applying shaders, Surface, Displacement/Bump and Volume shaders can also be applied by way of dragging and dropping the desired shader on the target surface in the active viewport.

  1. Select a Shader Category from the list on the left side of the Catalog (optionally expanding categories as needed).
  2. Press the left mouse button to select a Shader Network in the right side of the Catalog.
  3. Drag it to the target surface within the viewport and release the mouse button. Note that while the button is pressed and the cursor is hovered over the target surface, the surface is drawn with a stipple pattern, highlighting it, and the cursor has changed to indicate that a drop is allowed.

Restoring Defaults

A special Reset Shader option is provided for the various shader types in their respective base categories. Double clicking this option will apply it. When applied, this option restores the DAZ Studio default for the given element.

Shader Parameters

Surface Shader

Displacement/Bump Shader

Light Shader

Volume Shader

Imager Shader