Simulate Lighting in a Virtual Photo Studio with set.a.light 3D STUDIO


Want to plan out and test your studio lighting setups before setting up equipment and bringing subjects into the picture? German software development company Elixxier has been developing a software program designed to help you do just that. It’s called set.a.light 3D STUDIO, and is, according to Elixxier, the world’s first software dedicated to photo studio simulation.

The program is like a fancy 3D version of the online lighting diagram and lighting simulation apps we’ve featured in the past.


It lets you move subjects and equipment around in 3D space, and can render physically correct light. The program even calculates light that reflects off of walls and objects in the scene. Elixxier says that he light you see in the program will be the same light you’ll see when you actually recreate the setup in the real world.

A simulated virtual snap (left) and the real world photo that resulted (right)

A simulated virtual snap (left) and the real world photo that resulted (right)

Once you’ve set up your studio the way you’d like it in the program, you can simulate the photographs that would result by triggering a virtual camera.


The virtual camera has all the settings you’d find on a real world camera. You can choose the sensor size, the aspect ratio, the exposure settings (shutter, aperture, ISO), and the lens used. Depth of field is realistically simulated based on the settings you choose.

If you’re satisfied with the result, the program makes it easy to recreate the setup by providing options for exporting the set plans. The high-resolution rendered photograph and the detailed set plans can then be provided as guidelines for other people to turn the planned photo into a reality.


In addition to cutting down on test shooting time for seasoned photographers, the program is also a nice lighting “sandbox” beginning photographers can use to learn about studio lighting without having to rent gear and/or space.

Here’s a short video demonstrating how the software works. It’s in German, but you’ll get the gist:

A copy of set.a.light 3D STUDIO will set you back €140 (~$184) through the Elixxier online store, but the company is also offering a feature-limited trial version that you can play with for 15 days.

set.a.light 3D STUDIO [Elixxier]

P.S. If you’d like a full version of this software for free, leave a comment on this post. Elixxier is providing us with 3 free licenses to give away to our readers. We’ll pick the winners after a few days.

Update: Here are the three randomly selected commenters: LIz, Duke Shin, and Fady. Please contact [email protected] to claim your license! (We’re contacting you as well).

  • Eric Knape

    Would love to integrate something like this into my creative process.

  • -Edo

    Yes… this could be a big tool for new light experiments!!!!

  • Leanna Lofte

    I would LOVE to try this out!

  • Astrid Piepschyk

    A copy of this would be amazing!

  • Micha

    Nice Software my Friend testing and Order it! That was a Jack Pot for my Studio. When i win, i will Write a Report on my Homepage…

    Wäre sehr klasse die Software zu testen. N Freund von mir arbeitet bereits damit und ist sehr begeistert. Es wäre mit eine Bereicherung im Studio so die Set ups testen zu können. Gerade hinsichtlich dessen wenn man noch nicht viel Erfahrung hat.

    Gruß Micha

  • DukePro Pham

    I tried and I love it. But the manual is in German. They better release an English version.

  • Chris Landsberger

    Great time saver when you are looking to try something different and dont have time to do test runs before a shoot!! would love to try this out.

  • stuart

    what a great idea, I would love a copy :)

  • Jose Quillagua

    it’s a good software!!

  • Walker1812 Photography

    I’d like a copy please. Should be interesting to play with for work.

  • Marco Mignano

    Hello, i want a free version of this software. Thanks!

  • JLtheMGA

    Looks interesting, hope to get one of those licenses!

  • Taylor K

    I Would love a full version of this software. I have been trying to get into lighting for a long time now but have been getting very confused and overwhelmed, especially when it comes to multiple lights, I still have yet to set foot in a studio!

  • Ron

    pretty cool, I can see how this can help a new photographer like me to play around with different tools without the hassle of purchasing or renting equipment

  • Vince

    Love to get a copy myself.

  • Rob vG

    Great tool to learn setting up your lights!

  • Le Blog de

    Seems reallly really really insteresting to prepare shooting session!

  • Carlos Fever

    I would go crazy with this software. It would save me so much time vs working with actual lights. Please consider me for the free sample!

  • Jose M

    I’d also like a copy, please. It’s embarrasing trying to figure out the lightning when having your model (my wife) getting bored.

  • Claude Lee Sadik

    I would love a free license for Virtual Photo Studio! Definitely handy to try setups beforehand

  • elixxier Software

    Please try again! Our server has to handle a lot the last few days and we are working hard to improve that. It should normally work.

  • Lindsey Epps-Tucker

    Definitely a great idea for mapping out a studio session without dragging all the gear out. I could see myself investing in this.

  • Łukasz Grzegorek

    Niesamowite! Zjawiskowe! Doskonałe! Coś na co czekałem całe życie!

  • RobertMichael Walker

    I am in NEED!!! I JUST went through an extensive light training and I NEED something like this very badly LOL.

  • Harry SHam

    If only I could get my hands on a free copy then my back would be saved from all the moving around of lights!!!

  • Adele Carne

    This looks amazing! I would love to use such a wonderful software.

  • Jorge Islas

    I want it!

  • David Williams

    Me! Me! Me! Would love to have this kind of program as I am a rookie but $$$ prohibitive for those like me that really need it.

  • Roko Rokito

    I would like a free software for free . thanks a lot !

  • Rupee

    I really think this would be a huge benefit to my studio!

  • Miroslav Mike Ostrovljanovic

    Awesome software! perfect for studio beginners!

  • JPaige


  • JonathanLiu

    would love to have this

  • David Artigas

    Being a photography teacher it’s easy to see this would be quite useful for my students. For pros with years behind the camera I’m not so sure. Besides, the virtual studio equipment should match the real one. We’re not far from CGI entire studio shots, perhaps.

  • Walter Jacques Taieb

    Sounds interesting! I am going to try it.

  • Chris

    I would absolutely love to try out this software. It looks incredibly useful.

  • Nick

    I’d love a copy of this software as it’ll allow me to set up shots of our two month old and not lose his attention. It can also be used when I’m off parental house arrest.

  • Jason

    Great idea, would be amazing to win a copy.

  • David Wetty

    I’d love to use this, but as a student, $190 is a non-starter.

  • Andreas Eymannsberger

    Would like to try set.a.light 3D!

  • John Champlin

    Looks like a handy piece of kit.

  • david pino

    Wow, this is impressive…My biggest issue is always knowing “how it’ll look” without hauling out 3 lights and stands and testing for a few minutes. This is a pretty great way to skip the manual labor as a 1 man crew and instead know exactly where to position items before heading to the shoot. I think this is so insanely useful I’m amazed it wasnt developed before, genius idea! This would be great :)

  • Fernando Gutierrez

    I’m very interesting to get this software

  • Un Lo

    Very cool indeed. I’d for sure give it a try. As a newbie photographer it would really help my learning curve once I could afford the equipment lol

  • Ino Zeljak

    nice ! :D

  • Dawn Rosenberg Davis

    This is awesome. I can see this being a huge benefit to new photogs, and folks like me to want everything to be planned!

  • Dawn Rosenberg Davis

    This is awesome. I can see this being a huge benefit to new photogs, and folks like me to want everything to be planned!

  • ali

    this looks like a great tool to learn and to experiment when you dont have access to a studio.

  • Justin

    When Philosophy Dies…. Action Begins…. so yes receiving this software for free would be great….

  • Stephanie

    Looks like a great program, I’m excited to try it out.