Skylight 2.0 from Dan Shimmyo ?


Hello All !!

It’s been awhile since I read this forum but never posted here before…

I’m actually diving more and more into Animation Master v10.5 for Mac OSX, and I must say that I loke this soft a lot !! :slight_smile:

I come from LightWave, which I continue to use for my professionnal work, but that’s not the subject of this message… :hmm:

Since I must admit I have a hard time with the quality of my rendering outputs for now (it’s certainly not easy to do with another soft (A:M) what you are used to for about ten years with your soft of choice…), I’ve found that with the skylights, I can enhance greatly the quality of the renders… :love: (with a hit in the rendering times, but that’s less important than the quality, IMHO…)

So, my question is (here we go, at last…) : Does anybody know where I can buy the Skylight App from Dan Shimmyo ? The link on his website point to, but it seems, from I’ve read in another thread, that it’s not up anymore… :cry:
My question to Wegg : Is there a way to buy this soft through you, or do I have more chance mailing the author directly ?

Thanks a lot for reading, and keep the good work on this forum, which is, I think, one of the most friendly of CGTalk !! :slight_smile:

Laurent aka Tartiflette :-))

P.S. : Sorry for the long post and for my english…


I’m sure Dan would love to sell you a copy. I’m not currently set up to sell products on-line any more.


In the meantime, you could download my Skylight and use it:

Also Jeff Lee have programmed a Web Application which generates a skylight from an imagemap and uses multipass to render it. This is nice if you already use multipass for your renders. You might want to try it at:


Every time I see one of the images AM users post from skylights created with z-buffered shadows. . . I am always . . . well. . . to put it bluntly they kinda look like crap. In my mind the whole point of investing the time and energy into creating a skylight or “spnning light” is to push the quality of your scene’s shadows further than just using regular ole lights. It is the dark dark strip of shadow right down where an object is touching the ground that really makes an image oooze with. . . I dunno. . . clarity? Things feel grounded. Greg Rostami posted an image a little while back that shows that it CAN be done with z-buffered shadows but it seams as though most AM artists can’t SEE the problem. Am I wrong? Do you guys like the floaty un-grounded look your getting?

<Read this is my attempt to spark an interesting conversation that doesn’t poop in anyone’s back yard.>


Thanks to you 2 guys !! :thumbsup:

I’ll mail Dan ASAP to see with him how we can figure this…

And Thanks Yves for your suggestion ! :slight_smile: I’ll download this right now !!

But I think that your Skylights do need a lot a tweaking if I want to use an image or even a gradient as the source of the Skylight, two things that this little app from Dan allow me to do…
By The Way, I thank you for sharing this, which is a great value if I want to learn how it works in depth…

Thanks for the answer !! :bounce:

I’ll post later a work in progress of a work I did in LightWave and that I’m trying to redo, quick and dirty, to see how this thing work… And, I must say that, so far, it works like a charm !! :slight_smile:

Laurent aka Tartiflette :-))


I just saw your new post Wegg, and I understand what you say…almost !! :slight_smile:

And I must say, that if it doesn’t do all, lightning with a (even faked…) skylight bring the softness that I like to see in an image…

The bottleneck is, as you say, that the object seems to be floating a bit…

But it’s easy at that point to add a keylight, even with a low intensity, to bring the object back on ground with an appropriate (very soft…) shadow.

Just my 2 cents !!

Laurent aka Tartiflette :-))


I completely agree with you on this shadow issue. z-buffered shadows don’t render the occlusion precision like ray-traced shadows. Small crevices don’t get their part of the occlusion. And most important, z-buffer shadows have problems (this is by design) with self occlusion or self shadows which kills a good part of that clay look that can be achieved with ray-traced skylights.


Gah. . . your not supposed to agree with me! <sigh> We need a heated debate here!

Hmm. . .

What else could we yap about.


OK, Wegg !!

So I don’t agree with you and what you say !! :eek:

I really think that all you say is a lot of crap and that you really have no idea of what you talking about !!! :argh:

Do you think that in this way, we will have a heated debate ?? :twisted:

In fact, you miss all the troll, don’t you ?

Laurent aka Tartiflette :-))

P.S. : OT : Is this normal that my posts don’t show up, even after 30 minutes or more posting ?


OK Wegg, if you want a fight:

I have been playing with a skylight rig that uses z-buffer lights. I was expecting problems but so far things don’t look all that bad. I am using high res lights which I made large. They get jittered abot in multipass (16 passes) and don’t look all that bad.

I prefer to be able to set and animate the lights by hand as you get more artistic control and the ability to sort out problems. I have started playing with controling the colour of lights by giving them expressions linked to nul objets. I like the way that x,y,z=red green blue.

I set the bias to a low value to get less of the “floaty feal”. I find that the odd effects that you can get with z-buffer shadows with low bias arn’t so bad when you multipass the crap out of them. Also, The skylight isn’t all that strong and most of the light is coming from a raytraced sun.

I am expecting trouble ahead though with light patches under noses and stuff. I would really like some kind of super fast raytraced shadow solution but then there is lots else to want.

Was that heavy weight enough for you?


Oh, yeah, has anyone played with using dark lights attaced to the soals of feet?

Just an idea.


Ooo yea that was juicy. Full of detail and poential springboards for all sorts of exploration. Good one.

One thing we did once when we needed to render something REALLY quick was to “bake” in those little details under the nose and the like with the diffuce map. It was a hack but it worked for the shots and render times were amazing. It still doesn’t come close to brute force ray-casting kleigs though. . .


yup that works too. Throw those suckers on anything that touches the ground. Chair legs, feet etc.

What you gain in render speed. . . you loose in “look” though. It just feels so. . . low-budget. Like that old Reboot show from years ago.


How did you bake the light?

Actually, I tried doing this by hand - painting gloom in the crevices, but it just looked dirty. Maybe I should have just tried a little harder. I am thinking of making a white room and doing a bit of photon mapping to get a show of where the gloom should be. Maybe this render could then be used for making a diffuse map.

One thing that I have been thinkng is that, as well as a diffuse map, an ambiance map would add to the effect and maybe make skin look a little more translucent.

I am expecting more wisdom from you Wegg. Don’t let me down now.


Just painted it right into the diffuce map.

Remember. . . I was NOT happy with the results.

Nothing beats a few dozen sexy raytracing lights and a big ole renderfarm. May take longer to render but is soooo worth the effort.


By the way there is also Skycast from John Artbox. That looks really good. Hes done some cool stuff with it.


OK, here comes some antagonism :slight_smile:

Kleig lights? Why?.

When I designed my skylight, I started by using kliegs. But I found that Kliegs for skylights are too constraining unless you set their angle to 180°. The falloff is producing … well falloff artifacts. I then switched to bulbs. Large bulbs with multi-rays. I didn,t have to worry about those visible falloffs.

Kliegs are a necessity when using z-buffer shadows. But for ray-traced shadows, bulbs are perfectly fine. Since ray-tracing goes from pixel to light (in contrast to GI which goes from light to scene), there is no lost of rays and thus no loss of CPU.

One novelty I have yet to try is to set the light attenuation to linear for skylight lights.


Wowa. . . you can cast multiple rays from Bulb lights? I did not know that. When did that come about?

You know what else you can try? Get a light (bulb) and just make that sucker HUGE! One big mamma jamma bulb.


Yes. You can cast multiple rays out of a bulb. I’ve been doing that since v8.5.

I never tried that but I don’t think using one single huge bulb would work because of the way it is sampled. My experience is that it is samples like a disk as seen from the direction of the ray.


I’m feeling a bit behind the times now. Does everyone light their scenes with these new fangled rigs?
I’m still just using 3-4 kliegs to light everything.