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I've updated and corrected this article based on DAZ's documentation.  You should read that if you want more information.  This will continue to be more of a "plain talk" breakdown.

Let us begin with the different types of shaders from the "Base Mixing" dropdown at the top.  Choosing one of these will hide or gray out some options and reveal others.

The Iray shader behaves as though it has three layers: The "base" layer, the "metallic flakes" layer on top of that, and the "top coat layer" on top of that.  It is possible to turn off the top two layers and not use their settings, but the ability to use them is a property this shader has that 3Delight did not.  This makes using shaders made for Iray very important when rendering to get the best look in Iray!


PBR Metallicity/Roughness:

This is the only one that exposes the Metallicity slider, which does more or less what you would expect - dial it in only on metals.  DAZ's shaders included with the public beta swing heavily toward use of this shader model, not only on metals but on glass and skin, so contrary to what you would expect, they seem to feel it is the best "general use" shader.

PBR Specular/Glossiness:

This shader model locks the glossy weight at a higher value and hides that slider.  It also exposes the specular glossy color.  Just changing from this to the previous type and back can change the look of your shader to something smoother and less metallic.  It is not used by any of the shaders DAZ has included with the public beta content, but in my experiments it is useful in some specific cases (I prefer it to their chosen look for human corneas and sclera, for instance).

DAZ's docs say this one is the closest to the way the 3Delight shader base was set up.

PBR Weighted:

This one takes the values of the diffuse weight and glossy weight and adjusts them relative to each other.  It can be harder to get a good look with this but it is worth going into for some items.  DAZ uses it on their included velvet and satin shaders. I checked this, but this does not mean the diffuse and glossy weights must add up to 1.0; it's definitely possible to have the total value of both be higher than 1.

---

Now we will tour the dials (except Metallicity, which was already mentioned).  In many cases you will not see the options that go with a given dial until that dial is at a value higher than 0.

Diffuse Weight: This controls the contribution of your base color or diffuse map, as the similarly-named channel would in 3Delight.  You don't see this option at all in PBR Metallicity/Roughness.  Instead it is left at 100%.

Base Color: Your diffuse map goes here.  Its effect goes away if refraction is on to any great degree regardless of the diffuse weight dial.

Diffuse Roughness: A higher diffuse roughness shows more shadows around the edges and the surface looks rougher.  A lower diffuse roughness can make edges look almost shadeless.  This is different from bump because it has more effect on how light is absorbed or reflected (absorbed more at high roughness, reflected more at low).

Diffuse Overlay (inclusive): New in July 2016, this adds another layer over the diffuse that has no bump, etc. of its own, but can add more color or noise.  It has a strength, color, and roughness channel.  If you put a black and white map in the strength channel it will only have the overlay show up in white areas, not in black, giving you the ability to control patchiness or transparency of the diffuse overlay's color channel.  This is great for tattoos or dirt.

Translucency Weight: I think of this as the "jelly dial," because when it's turned up high, your surface looks like jelly.  This is the effect that high SSS has in Poser and on some 3Delight shaders, but it's not SSS because it does not depend on the direction of light and it will have an effect regardless of backlighting.  DAZ's skin shaders place a map in this channel and use the black and white SSS map for this purpose if one is present.

Scatter Only Vs. Scatter And Transmit:

Several settings have this option now, including Base Color Effect, Glossy Color Effect, Metallic Flakes Color Effect and Top Coat Color Effect.

Looking at the DAZ docs, I think the key phrase is probably "layered over transmission" vs. "sent to the transmission layer."  It sounds like Iray is applying a Scatter Only value on "top" of the transmitted color, which explains why setting a blue diffuse and a green translucency looks blue with Scatter Only and dark blue/green with Scatter And Transmit.

This explains why, in the DS Genesis 2 shaders, Base Color is set to Scatter Only (so that the skin's base color is strongly shown) but glossy is set to Scatter And Transmit (to better simulate wet stuff under the skin when using the specularity at its surface).

Glossy Weight: How shiny the object's surface is.  This is affected by a lot of following channels.  Reflection is not controlled separate from the glossy settings, so turning on glossy weight WILL produce reflections.  I have yet to find that anything changes the size of specular highlights other than changing the direction and strength of lights in the scene.

Share Glossy Inputs: On by default.  This opens up more options if it is set to "off" when refraction and/or backscattering are being used; if backscattering and refraction weight are 0 just leave it on.

Glossy Color: The color of the main highlights, not unlike 3Delight's "specular color."

Glossy Reflectivity:  1.0 by default.  The docs say this "roughly correlates with IOR" and that you can leave it alone on most things.

Glossy Specular: DAZ's docs say this sets the specular amount for the glossy.  It doesn't seem to have much visual effect dialing it up and down.

Glossiness: This controls how sharp the visible highlights are (more = shinier).

Glossy Roughness: Turning this up makes the surface duller and less shiny, the opposite of turning up the glossiness.  Like diffuse roughness, this accepts maps.

Glossy Anisotropy: This seems to control how much highlights are pulled or smeared (higher = more smeared).  It is intended for brushed metal effects according to the Iray blog I linked before.

Backscattering Weight: This is hard to explain.  It affects materials like some kinds of velvet or precious stones like tigereyes, where light is reflected straight back at 180 degrees.  It tends to give a velvety no-firm-edges look when turned up higher, and is used on DAZ's "red velvet" shader. 

Backscattering Roughness: The higher this is, the more surface details get obliterated in the velvety effect, at least in my testing.  It's very high in DAZ's "red velvet" shader.  I would use it on something like a star sapphire, I think.  DAZ describes this effect as "adding sheen."

Refraction Index: Has an effect on both refraction and transmission!  This is the refraction index of the material.  A table of real refraction indices is available on Wikipedia, and these convert pretty much straight across (physically based rendering FTW!).  You can still use this value with refraction weight at 0 if you're using Translucency and SSS, because it will use it when calculating light that goes through the surface.

Refraction Weight: How much the refraction affects the material overall.  If it is at 1.0, the diffuse color will no longer affect the material except in Weighted mode, and color must be set with the glossy color or the SSS transmitted color.  This seems to change the size of specular highlights when it's used, but I can't find that anything else does.

Abbe: This is the amount to which a refractive object behaves like a prism, splitting light into component colors.  It only applies when refraction is greater than 0.  You would not see much of this on, for example, a glass ball, but very much on a diamond or faceted object.

Glossy Anisotropy Rotations: This controls in what direction the highlights are pulled or smeared, if they are pulled or smeared by the glossy anisotropy slider.  Thank you to vwrangler for helping me understand the docs I found on this!

Base Thin Film: This value appears three times in the shader, for different "layers" that the shader has (base thin film, metallic flakes thin film and top coat thin film). 

When turned on for a given layer of the shader, it treats the layer as a very thin film overall, its thickness measured in nanometers.  If this value is set to higher than 0 it activates the Base Thin Film IOR, which is another index of refraction value, so that you can set correct refraction.  Use this only if you want the diffuse and glossy settings to apply as though they were a thin film over a surface; use the thin film versions found in metallic flakes and top coat similarly if you want those to behave like thin films.

Base Bump: The bump map goes here.

Base Normal Map: The normal map goes here.  Unlike in 3Delight, it will also have a control slider when one is added.

Metallic Flakes Weight:  Turning it on activates several other options as it "activates" the second layer of the Iray shader (the metallic flakes layer).

Metallic Flakes Color: The color of the metallic flakes.  Using a different color from the base can give a nice glitter effect, or using a colored map in this channel.

Metallic Flakes Roughness: A low value by default; turning this up makes the flakes look rougher and less reflective.

Metallic Flakes Size:  Turning this up makes the flakes look individually larger.  Turning it WAY up gives a really weird rusty effect.

Metallic Flakes Strength: This makes the flakes more visible as opposed to larger, rougher or shinier.  That is, it makes them show up more.

Metallic Flakes Density: This makes the flakes look closer together or further apart as well as bigger or smaller.

Metallic Flakes Thin Film: This makes the Metallic Flakes layer behave like a thin film.

Top Coat Weight: Turning this above 0 activates the third and topmost layer of the Iray shader.  This, and all of its child settings (color, refraction, etc.) can be used to create an impression of thick sealant over paint, or slime over skin.  I'm not sure what the layering mode and rotations do here, but the other settings are pretty much the same as discussed for other channels, just that they only affect the top coat itself.  You can even give it its own bump map.

Thin Walled: This is on for things that are meant to represent just a thin layer or shell (a "bubble," say the docs), and off for things that are meant to represent liquids or transmissive solids (a "solid marble," say the docs).  It must be off to use the transmitted settings below, since a thin-shelled item has no interior through which to transmit color.

Transmitted Measurement Distance/Scattering Measurement Distance: These are actually different because the transmitted distance affects how far into the material light goes before it is completely the transmitted color, and the scattering distance affects how far into the material it goes before it is scattered to the SSS amount you set.  The higher the transmitted measurement distance, the denser and more opaque the material looks.

With Scattering Measurement Distance it's the opposite.  The higher it is, the more light scatters through the material and the less opaque/dense it looks.  Using both of these too much together can cancel a bit, so play with the values before deciding finally.

 Using SSS (subsurface scattering) at a high value with Transmitted Color gives an effect that responds to light direction and intensity more than Translucency does, but it's still the concept of light being scattered by a dense non-opaque material when it hits the surface.  Don't try to use a glossy color when SSS Amount is at 1.0; the effect is unpredictable and ugly.

SSS Direction tells the shader which direction the light is scattered, toward or away from a light source.  Negative numbers go toward the light source, and positive numbers scatter away from it (0 will result in almost no scattering).  A recommended value for skin is -0.5.

Emission Color:  By default this is set to black.  Setting it to white, gray, or a color causes the material to become emissive and cast light on the scene.  This is not like 3Delight's Ambient glow, it really does cast light as an emitter.  Turning this non-black activates its child settings.

Emission Temperature (K): The light temperature in Kelvin.  This is a real property of lights.  Here is a good chart.  In general, it's easier to get a given color of light using the temperature than the actual emission color.  If you want a color that can't be achieved this way, such as purple or green, set the temperature to around 5500 and only then use the emission color to tint it.

Two Sided Light: Emits from both sides of a mesh if thin-walled is on and this is set to "on."  You can use it to make a plane emit from both sides.

Emission Profile: This is another real thing that you can download many of for free.  Mostly it is used for creating the shape a lamp's light casts on a wall from behind a shade, so you only need it in special situations.

Luminance and Luminance Units:  This controls how bright the light is.  This is another real-world number you can look up for a given type of light bulb or flame.  There are many available units; I started out using lumens but have recently switched to kcd/m^2 (kilo candela per square meter) because it can use much lower units (it takes millions of lumens to light most scenes). 

Again, less like 3Delight, how close a light is to the object it lights really affects this and light scatters and fades more with distance.  The size of the light object matters, too.

Cutout Opacity:  This is opacity without refraction.  It's called "cutout" because the engine literally doesn't see the geometry any more if this is set to 0; objects with transmaps don't necessarily lag the render (Iray does care about how big the maps are, but not the transparency itself).  This is used to hide things or transmap clothing edges, etc., never to create transparency in water, glass, or other materials (we use refraction, SSS and translucency for that).

Displacement Strength: The displacement map goes here.  Choosing one activates the other displacement options.  Minimum and Maximum are similar to other engines.  It's important to note the SubD Displacement Level, though, because you want that to be higher than 1 for most displacement if it's being used to add detail.  It does not have to be the same as your mesh's SubD, but that's certainly an option.  This is too low if your displacement map looks jagged in render.

Horizontal/Vertical Tiles And Offset:  Tiling works basically the same as in 3Delight.  These control the amount of times a texture is tiled and how far offset the tiles are dragged.

UV Set: Unchanged as well.  This is the dropdown where multiple UV sets will appear if an item (such as Genesis 2) has multiple UVs.

Smooth: On by default; should be turned off for certain types of hard-surfaced objects (gems, some construction items, etc.), otherwise ignore it.  Having SubD on the mesh actually turns this off anyway.

The options below this affect how smoothing is applied.


That's what I know so far!  Thank you to DAZ Spooky for pointing me to the documentation to correct some early misconceptions that I had.
  • Listening to: Redwing blackbird in the creek
  • Reading: Blogs
  • Watching: Vlogs
  • Playing: Minecraft
  • Eating: Leftover Chinese food
  • Drinking: Coffee with homemade cocoa mix
Add a Comment:
 
:iconvolvo53:
volvo53 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for taking the time to do this, its very helpful.
Reply
:iconbetomelo:
Betomelo Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you, my friend!! :D
Reply
:iconalexhellmann:
AlexHellmann Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2017
Thank you very much for this explanation.
Reply
:iconscavgraphics:
Scavgraphics Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Hey SY...any chance you'll common sense the new iray stuff, like Dual Lobes?:)
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
I've been planning to at some point, I just haven't gotten to it yet
Reply
:iconfreekosuave:
freekosuave Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2017
Well, I dont know my something from something else (feel free to fill in that blank as you so desire). Every time I convert a skin from 3delight to Iray I end up with a grayed out thing. Is there any specific things I should be looking at to fix this? 

For what it is worth, I would say that a beginner probably knows more about how to use Daz than I do. People keep saying that I should transfer things over to Iray because they look better, but all I get when it comes to the characters is grayed out stuff. Which makes no sense to me because everything else converts over to Iray just fine. If anything I have to tone down the colors a little since they end up being a little too bright. Sort of like a lamp being turned up to 150% if you get what I mean. 
Reply
:iconfreekosuave:
freekosuave Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2017
Well, I am able to at least know how to switch the rendering method. As rendering Iray with 3delight and vice versa have produced hilariously bad results. I am definately looking into the tutorial because the lighting is certainly something that could be a factor. I know exactly nothing when it comes to lighting for Iray, so that is probably having a more significant impact than I may realize. 
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Reply
:iconfreekosuave:
freekosuave Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2017
Thanks. So far, the results have been astonishingly positive after taking a look at the tutorial you linked previously. It was just a few minor things that needed to be changed but the difference has been rather drastic. 

Thanks for taking the time to show the proper path. I will look at these videos when I get the chance (planning on going to bed soon since its close to midnight.)
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
You are very welcome!
Reply
:iconckdailyplanet:
CKdailyplanet Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2017  Student General Artist
Thanks for the great info!
Reply
:iconiamuman:
IamUman Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
About Scattering Measurement Distance:
You say: "The higher these are, the denser and more opaque the material looks." but it is the opposite:
If the Scattering Measurement distance is higher the light will travel further 
into the material before it is scattered so the material will look less dense and less opaque.


Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
You are correct.  Thanks, I will fix it.
Reply
:iconllynara:
llynara Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the great info!
Reply
:icondimples-bratt:
Dimples-Bratt Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi...can you helpz me please? I am new to I-ray...I have read this journal, very helpful... thank you. But iz wondering if I can ask you a questionz. I am struggling right now to make a characterz corneaz emmissive....I am looking to give purple eyes a soft glow. I iz try make cornea emissive...set luminesance to 200 -500 and chose lcd/m2 as unit...but I cannot getz it working. Any tipz iz be really appreciatededz
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
You juzt need a much higher number. Add a sero and tezt again and you zhould zee more rezultz.
Reply
:icondimples-bratt:
Dimples-Bratt Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thankz U...woz also not haz map set...iz such a noobz :(

But iz workz now :D :happybounce:
Reply
:iconlykantos:
Lykantos Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2016
+fav 
Reply
:iconporkie-rottenham:
Porkie-Rottenham Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Bless you for this.
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
:)
Reply
:iconskolarnow:
SkolarNow Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2016
About iRay. it uses .mdl files and mister Hasseltine swears that DAZ3D can read .mdl.......and it can sort of. I'm using two pieces of software that come from France and are somewhat awsome twins, called Substance Painter and Substance Designer. They are still under devopment and I'm giving the French a hard time with feature requests and error reports but the heart of the matter is, would I wanna go without them, no way Josée. I've created a base for the Junk (and I have scaled it to a model) in literally minutes flat. It needs unwrapping for solid objects it has a tri-planar projection mode that makes short work of most of the UV mapping issues. Great for working at speed.

A workflow can be reduced from days, to litterally hours. Building substances is done in Designer and that is a program that works with nodes more or less like Cycles (Blender render engine), but it's nodes are less powerfull (more speciallized) but greater in number so you need to grind a bit in order to be productive......

Best of all they can potentially integrate in DAZ via the .mdl import......I haven't got it running but as soon as my bankaccount is replenished, I will take some time of to experiment and to get it working.

Groeten, Ed.
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
They're not that new, about half of us in the Daz market use them. :lol:

We've just been doing it by exporting the maps and then creating the material out of them in DS.
Reply
:iconskolarnow:
SkolarNow Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2016
I know, but some people still don't (and since today we all know the importance of the other half :-), thank God Mini is a BMW brand and the cuttest once's are build in The Netherlands, =P (Razz) ) and Substance is fabrique en France. BTW, before I invested in the software I had written permission to use it for creating content.

Greets, Ed.
Reply
:icongrimx3d:
Grimx3D Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2016
WOW.

Thank you.

As a former Poser user, this was the most annoying thing about Daz. They never really seem to explain anything and the guide they have his borderline useless.
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I'm glad it helped!
Reply
:iconerwin0265:
Erwin0265 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
SOOOOOO much better than DAZ's document on the subject.
I used to be a science/maths teacher (in other words, I have a Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Chemistry and Aquatic Biology); and I found DAZ's document (well, actually, most of their documents) difficult to understand!
You have made it easy to understand and unpretentious (WHY on earth doe DAZ have to use words like, "dielectric"??! For the purpose of educating artists {ie. NOT physicists}, "non-metal" is much easier to understand)..
OK, there's my rant.
A job extremely well done and very much appreciated!
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
You are very welcome. :)
Reply
:iconrubart:
RUBArt Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2016
Hi, I'm sure you can help me with this:

I need to render a glass syringe with a logo printed in the glass.
In which property should I put the image file? 

thanks in advance.
Bob
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
You need a map in the refraction strength and color that is white with the label area entirely black. Then put the actual label in the diffuse. If that doesn't work try the SSS color.
Reply
:iconrubart:
RUBArt Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2016
Wow, it worked !
Thanks a lot for your help, it's just what I was looking for.
By the way, some weeks ago I watched your Iray basics tutorial in youtube and your voice is very sexy, like Jodie Foster's

Have a nice day.
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
LOL thank you.
Reply
:iconpeggywalters:
PeggyWalters Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for your great tutorials! I just made my first Iray render and could not have done it without your help.
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Awesome, I'm so glad the tutorials helped! :)
Reply
:iconbigbearcat:
BigBearCat Featured By Owner May 18, 2016   Digital Artist
Thank you spiderlady! This is truly helpful.
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner May 18, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
:)
Reply
:iconsparkieshock:
Sparkieshock Featured By Owner May 13, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sickle yield .. you're a bloody life saver! If you EVER write the manual on how to use DAZ .. I'm gonna buy the hell out of that book :D Many thanks .. and I'm loving your underwear :D (Well the digital props anyways)
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner May 13, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
LOL thanks. I'm glad it was useful.
Reply
:icondetniat:
Detniat Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2016
Thank you for all of your helpful tutorials/explanations.  Very helpful for me :)
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
You are very welcome. :)
Reply
:iconjstilton:
jstilton Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
re tiling/offset, i get the results sometimes in iray that my surface looks fine in the viewport, but then in the render the offset is completely wrong. e.g. a photo in a painting can be split in two, bottom half appearing on top,top half appearing in the lower part. weird.
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Tiling and offset do not appear in preview at all, only in render, so it's always a good idea to check those settings in Surfaces if that's happening.
Reply
:iconjstilton:
jstilton Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hm, maybe we're talking about something else, cause i see it in preview. i'm talking about applying a jpg to a surface. eg. a picture frame on which you map a jpg. i can see it fine and ok in the preview, but in the render it gets messed up...
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Did you check the tiling/offset settings in Surfaces just in case?
Reply
:iconjstilton:
jstilton Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yes. i load the jpg, and have to change the tiling and offset settings till it displays ok in my preview.
Reply
:icondazrender:
dazrender Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2016
HERO!!!! thank you very much dude
Reply
:iconsickleyield:
SickleYield Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
You're so welcome!
Reply
:iconniceshoez:
Niceshoez Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2016  Professional General Artist
Thank you SY!
Reply
:iconramwolff:
RAMWolff Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hiya,
Not seeing any mention of the Glossy Layered Weight section. 
Trying to get a good gloss with details but not overly so on female lips
Good info here.
Study study study... lol
Rich
Reply
:iconbecarra:
Becarra Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'll check this out when I have time hehe, thank you for sharing :)
Reply
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