Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 Posted by Jim Thacker

DGDM releases SLiB Leuchtkraft 1.6 for Maya

Originally posted on 31 July 2015. Scroll down for details of the 1.6 release.

DGDM has released SLiB Leuchtkraft, an interesting new Maya plugin that enables users to design lighting schemes by ‘drawing’ the shape and position of highlights directly onto objects in the scene.

A familiar workflow?
If that sounds reminiscent of Lightmap’s HDR Light Studio, that’s a thought that has occurred to the developers, too: the product website rather pointedly includes a table comparing the two applications.

Unlike HDR Light Studio, in which the user-created highlights are applied to an HDR map, Leuchtkraft uses Maya’s native lights, meaning that the resulting light rig is animatable and light-linkable.

(The similarity in workflow has also prompted a change of name: Leuchtkraft was originally called LightPaint, but changed to avoid infringing one of Lightmap’s trademarks. The new name means ‘luminosity’ in German.)

Leuchtkraft currently supports V-Ray, Arnold and Redshift. According to comments posted by DGDM on Vimeo, RenderMan support is coming soon; mental ray probably not so soon.

Updated 2 August: In our original story, we wrote that Leuchtkraft supported Maya’s internal render engines. DGDM tells us that the plugin will “partially work” with the native renderer, since some of the lights it creates are Maya native lights; but that there are also special V-Ray and Redshift lights and light shaders.

Updated 18 September: SLiB Leuchtkraft 1.2 is out. The update improves scene and layer management and – if you’re running it on Maya 2015 or 2016 – introduces its own embedded viewport preview render system.

Updated 22 March 2016: SLiB Leuchtkraft 1.5 is out. The update adds a range of new features, including support for mesh lights, a new camera zoom function and the option to display light rays in the viewport.

The software now supports painting highlights onto multiple objects; and there is a new alternative paint mode, placing light along the normal of the surface being illuminated instead of the reflection angle.

The position and angle of the resulting lights are now calculated mathematically, rather than being done through helper nodes and locatators, resulting in cleaner scene files; and light linking is done automatically.

Updated 25 January 2017: SLiB Leuchtkraft 1.6 is out. The update adds support for dome lights, and the option to save light ramps as presets for reuse.

The library that ships with the plugin now includes eight new HDRIs, and users have the option to import their own custom HDRIs. Custom HDRIs can also be assigned to lights.

Workflow changes include new mouse shortcuts for translation, rotation, scale and light intensity; and the light linking button now has a context menu for changing the relationship of objects selected.

Pricing and availability
SLiB | Leuchtkraft is available for Maya 2015 and above, on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Since the 1.5 release, the price of the software has been cut to $99, down from $199 on launch.

Read more about SLiB Leuchtkraft on the product website