Iray Tone Mapping Comparison

DAZ 4.8 introduces Nvidia’s Iray render engine. There’s much fuss going on but i don’t want to join the “is it better than 3Delight or not”-Discussion here… Well, it’s not “better”, it’s different :)

Let’s start simple and de-mystify Iray by looking at its Tone-Mapping department. It’s pretty much like working with a camera when you’re making ‘real’ photos. I like that.

So i ask my new Model Alina to help me with making a comparison. I don’t go into the boring technical things, i like to take it easy. So i just trial-and-errored my way through the Tone-Mapping tab and show you some of my results. May it help you to have a good start with that Iray thingy.

Let’s look at the default render:

iray_tone-mapping_defaultI quickly set up this simple scene, set “Environment” to “Scene Only” and left everything else – including the Camera’s Headlamp (auto) – untouched.

I also want to add that i don’t want to bother you with those sliders that i find pretty much useless. I tried them all, but F/Stop, Exposure Value, cm^2 Factor and White Point Scale were a waste of render time, in my opinion. If you know better, leave a comment.

Highlights and Blacks

Next try. I felt kind of crazy and moved “Burn Highlights” and “Crush Blacks” all the way up. Here’s the not-so-nice result:

iray_tone-mapping_burn-highlightsBut have you noticed the vignette effect? Very nice old school trick that always works.

Less Saturation

Next one, lowered saturation. That’s more my taste. I’m not the biggest fan of over-colored pics with super-shiny skin, so here we go:

iray_tone-mapping_low-saturationYou can see that i reduced “Saturation” a bit, and also set “Burn Highlights” and “Crush Blacks” down to Zero. Note that the vignette is still at 50.00 but looks way softer, due to the lowered “Crush Blacks”.


I think it’s too light, so i lower “Gamma” to 1.50:

iray_tone-mapping_low-gammaHighlights and Blacks are back at their defaults, saturation still at 0.80. Well, we’re also meeting the limitations of this small-photo-studio set up. Weak contrast and an Iray-typical spot in the middle of the motive.

I must confess that i still haven’t checked all the lighting options you can do (or not do) with Iray. Right now, it seems to be very strict.


So, here comes my final render. Don’t worry about the Exposure Value, i just played with it and forgot to set it back to its default. Now it’s 14 instead of 13. That doesn’t change much :)

iray_tone-mapping_high-isoI pretty much like this version. I reduce Saturation some more, set the Highlights back to default and doubled “Crush Blacks”. But the most important part is – Attention Kids! – the ISO value.

I had lowered the gamma beams and wanted to bring back the light by raising the ISO. The more Iso, the shinier the photo. Or like a real photographer would say: The darker the scene, the more iso you’ll need.

In real photography more iso also stands for more grain. Iray ignores this fact, though. If you want grain, look at filtering/noise filter.

In a next step i would play with the camera’s headlamp offsets to get most out of the lighting. But i will look at it another time…

I hope i could help you to understand Iray’s tone mapping a bit more, to inspire you and to de-mystify Iray. Basically all the renders look nice and you may use these settings to realize your own vision easier :)

Author: MaXsiM

Male, straight. Started game modding in 2000, made custom sex animations for The Sims 1, released the first nude skins ever for The Sims 2, came up with "Dreams of Luisa" in 2004, ran an adult forum with 10k+ members. Changed to 3D Sexvilla 2 in 2010. Finally made the move into the world of 'real' 3D-Art in 2015. Thanks for visiting my site and reading this post. Feel free to leave a comment. Become my Patron!