Emulating “Golden Hours” with DAZ Studio and Iray

Emulating "Golden Hours" with DAZ Studio and Iray

Hi all,

I’ll be very brief today.

In my previous travel/photography post (the one about Warwick Castle) I mentioned the benefits of photographing during the so-called Golden Hours (early morning or late afternoon). I also flippantly said that 3D digital artists should look at emulating this more often because the lighting in so many works is very bland.

Well, I’ve set as my post header the Warwick Castle photo that was the trigger for my comment. Now let’s see how easy it is to do this in a 3D application. I’ve picked DAZ Studio using Iray as the render engine. I’ve done this to make it quick and easy on myself (albeit that using Bryce is probably even easier – but not as many people use that these days).

I’ve also picked Dystopia City Blocks as the subject of my experimentation. Besides being well designed and therefore an attractive subject, as at the writing of this post they are free.

In the render settings in DAZ Studio for NVIDIA’s Iray you have a panel relating to Environment and within that you can set Longitude, Latitude, date and time of day (see picture below). This means that you really have control over light.


I won’t bore you with details of this as you should be able to experiment yourselves. But here are some of my renders, starting with a noon render and then experiments at different settings in search of a nice Golden Hours shot.





I must admit that while I can see a time and a place for a noon shot, those other shots with slightly richer colours and/or more shadows do interest me more.










  1. Nice work. It’s great to see you working through different options. I sometimes render the same shot several times with just the smallest of changes in light or camera focus length – I’m not doing it professionally so, what the heck! I ditched iRay for a return to Reality (after buying an nVidia card just for iray) but still render with iray occasionally as the renders look great in monochrome. By the way, Jack Tomalin’s latest Daz product is fantastic: Winter black Halls: http://www.daz3d.com/winterblack-halls. Keep up the great work!


    1. Thanks :) I have Reality but I really suck at using it other than for fairly simple configurations. I really should put in the effort to change this. This said, I also have Reality set up on Blender.

      Also thanks for the link to Winter Black Halls. I love the look of it but it also gave me a personal epiphany. Doris Fiebig told me that she makes all of her models up from separate components. My uncle Bruce (a wood carver) does the same. And then looking at this page I saw that the beautiful room was simply made up of repetitions of the same components. I realised that with a bit of patience I can do that :) All my architectures to date have been single pieces with far too much complexity!

      Obviously I am slow at realising things :)

      This said, by damn Winter Black Halls looks lovely. :)

      Many thanks for your kindness :)




      1. I haven’t a clue with reality really but then that’s half the fun. I can set up a scene in Daz, tweak it a little with Reality and set it to render. Then, ignore it for a few hours (usually more than 24). When I go back to view, I usually find it pleasant despite my ham-fistedness. I find Jack Tomalin’s attention to detail (especially scale of textures) inspiring. I can promise you that nobody is slower than I am at realising the obvious. Good luck with the projects and with becoming wealthy. If you achieve the goal, please let me know your secret. :)


  2. These are probably the best renders of those Dystopian Blocks that I ever saw =) and given that they’ve been free for years, I have seen a lot! =)


    1. Wow – that is such a lovely thing to say :) Thank you :)


  3. That’s a very good point, about golden hours. Thank you for the idea!


    1. Thanks for reading and responding :) I always enjoy discussion, so feel free to add any observations :)


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