What versions of DazStudio is UberEnvironment compatible with?
UberEnvironment will work in 1.8, although a bug in this version will prevent you from seeing the Occlusion Samples label.
Can I use HDR files as environment maps?
You will have to convert them first using tdlmake. You can feed the shader a non-converted tiff/jpg/etc and it will render, but the renderer with think the image is a standard texture--not an environment map--and will render differently (incorrect). As environment maps are in a latitude/longitude format, tdlmake must be called with special arguments, disallowing us from using the build-it DAZStudio conversion. I am hopeful that future versions of DAZStudio will help us avoid this painful workflow.
To create an HDR that will render properly, you will have to follow the steps as outlined in the Creating Environment Maps section.
Do I have to use HDRI/Environment Maps with UberEnvironment?
No. You will then be limited to the light color and the shadow color and will get an image looking something like this:
The shader is using ray tracing, so if you are using mapped domes or other objects in the scene, they will be considered in the occlusion.
What are render times like?
The main promotional image was rendered at 650x500 using the Hi quality settings. This render (at full resolution, not small icon pictured below) took ~16min on a 3Ghx P4 with 1Gb RAM. Many factors, like transparency (trans-mapped hairstyles) will also slow the performance of the shader.
Do I have to use Ray Tracing?
No. You can get quick, nice results by turning off raytracing and using an environment map. Only turn ray tracing on if you need it.
Can I use light probe environment maps?
The environment map must be in Latitude/Longitude format. If you have a light probe, or cross, or whatever, you will need to convert to lat/lon (using something like HDRShop) before going through tdlmake.