Author Topic: Terrain Noise  (Read 763 times)

Offline OldFlak

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Terrain Noise
« on: December 19, 2018, 09:52:05 PM »
Hi all :)

So this TG thing is really quite addictive - but of course being a newbie to this thing of turning noise into pictures, I do indeed have some learning to do.

I been playing\attempting to create a skybox with a cartoon feel using examples from Kadri in this topic (https://planetside.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,17488.msg169903.html#msg169903).

While I am kind of happy with the direction the clouds are taking, I would like to get a more crisp terrain. Here be a pic to show you what my renders are looking like:



Some of my settings:
Atmosphere Samples = 32
Anti-Aliasing = 5
Render Time = approx 1hr 40mins

While these settings are working ok for the clouds and sky, adjusting these seams to make very little if any difference to the terrain.

I have read a few posts with regard to noise in clouds\atmosphere, but can't find anything specific to terrain.
So I was wondering if you more experienced folk can give me some pointers on what to adjust to reduce noise in terrain.

Thanks for any input.

OldFlak....

Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4160 @ 3,60GHz. 8GB Ram. NVidia GeForce GTX 750. Acer 24" Monitors x 2 @ 1920 x 1080. Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

Offline KlausK

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 449
  • Land ho!
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2018, 11:32:43 PM »
Hi,

This looks like the shadows of the clouds to me. But I cannot tell for sure, of course.
Anti-aliasing is one setting to adjust. The other important one is Micropoly-Detail.
But there are more involved to get good results...

Anyways, can`t you just post a tgd of your skybox scene?
It would be so much easier for anybody willing to help to take a look at the complete setup.
Or at least a screenshot of all the relevant quality settings tabs.

CHeers, Klaus
/ ASUS WS Mainboard / Dual XEON E5-2640v3 / 64GB RAM / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 TI / Win7 Ultimate

Offline OldFlak

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2018, 11:37:52 PM »
Thanks Klausk for the input.

No problems here be the file.

OldFlak....
Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4160 @ 3,60GHz. 8GB Ram. NVidia GeForce GTX 750. Acer 24" Monitors x 2 @ 1920 x 1080. Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

Offline KlausK

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 449
  • Land ho!
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2018, 12:45:03 AM »
Hi, the noise is shadow noise. The terrain seems to be ok.
Please take a look at the text file. I have listed the parameters I changed for the crop renders.
Additionally I set Micropoly-Detail to 0.8, and Anti-Aliasing to 8.
That is very high. I simply forgot to return to the values you had before I rendered.

The main thing is to turn "Do Soft Shadows" = ON. This will increase render times, unfortunately.

But I did not find anything else atm.
Hope that helps.
CHeers, Klaus

ps: Maybe you could try to render with a 2D Shadow Map. It is in the Cloud node - Optimisation.
Take a look at the Wiki to find out what it does and how to use it. This one has an article with animated gifs.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 12:48:37 AM by KlausK »
/ ASUS WS Mainboard / Dual XEON E5-2640v3 / 64GB RAM / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 TI / Win7 Ultimate

Offline OldFlak

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2018, 12:59:32 AM »
Klausk - thanks for looking into it.

The shadow detail is very useful to know - had no idea that was there lol - so thanks for that.

I am more concerned about the hilly terrain in the background - it is a little noisy. It does not look too bad in the image, but for use in the target game engine the image is converted to an .dds file which unfortunately looses some detail, but they are optimized for faster GPU rendering at run-time.

Because of that the noise in the hills it is quite noticeable.

It may be that it will just require higher Micropoly Detail and AA with longer render times.

Anyway I will have a play with that info and see what I can come up with.

Many thanks for the input :)

OldFlak....
« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 01:21:28 AM by OldFlak »
Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4160 @ 3,60GHz. 8GB Ram. NVidia GeForce GTX 750. Acer 24" Monitors x 2 @ 1920 x 1080. Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

Offline Oshyan

  • Planetside Staff
  • *
  • Posts: 12943
  • Holy snagging ducks!
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2018, 03:32:08 AM »
Hmm, lots of feedback to give here.

The first thing you want to do in a situation like this is determine where the problem you want to address is coming from. As Klaus pointed out, those are cloud shadows. An easy way to determine this kind of thing is just disable each element of the scene one by one and see when the area you're looking at changes. Then you can find out what contributes to the area in question and have a better understanding of how to fix it.

So, given that it's cloud shadows, Antialiasing and Micropoly detail with both have very little effect on this by themselves. This is an issue of the sampling of the cloud shadows themselves. There are two main solutions, both of which increase render time. Since this is noise you're dealing with, in general any solution is going to involve more sampling, which involves higher render time.

The easiest and most direct option is you can increase cloud Quality. This will increase render time for your clouds overall (but also reduce any noise in them), and will clean up the shadows nicely (I used a value of 5 just as a test, looks great). However this may increase render time too much if your clouds do not need any more quality and it's just the shadows that are a problem.

The second option also increases render time but primarily acts on the terrain, which is to use Defer All as your render method. This effectively super samples shading calculations on the terrain and can smooth out shadow noise very well. When using Defer All your render time and quality are primarily determined by antialiasing level.

I found that enabling Soft Shadows mostly just made the shadows quite a bit lighter. They are a bit less noisy probably due to the default 9 samples for soft shadows, but still not as low noise as just increasing cloud quality or using Defer All above.

Also, did you turn off Ray Traced Shadows for a reason? Generally I wouldn't recommend you disable it.

Finally, we don't recommend you setting core limits for rendering in the render node *unless* you need to change it frequently. If you want it to be limited to 7 for *all* (or even most) renders, just set it in Preferences. Otherwise it needlessly limits the number of cores used when other people or other computers use your file (unless they notice it). And also saves you having to change it every time. A minor issue, but something to be aware of. Also the CPU you have listed in your signature only has 4 threads, 2 cores, so setting it to 7 threads seems non-ideal to me, though maybe you have tested and found otherwise.

- Oshyan

Offline OldFlak

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2018, 04:09:11 AM »
@Oshyan - thanks for the input.

Yeah, lots to take in here - so many variables :)

The reason I asked about this was that although increasing AA and Atmosphere Samples removed the noise from the clouds and sky it of course really increases render time, but it didn't seam to make much difference to the clarity of the terrain. I really don't care that much about render times, but quality is key of course.

Quote
Also, did you turn off Ray Traced Shadows for a reason? Generally I wouldn't recommend you disable it.
Yes I got that from this thread, but it seams I misunderstood your reply there.
https://planetside.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=7852.0

Quote
Finally, we don't recommend you setting core limits for rendering in the render node *unless* you need to change it frequently.
No I didn't set that, unless I did so by accident of course. It may have been from the original file I was using. Thanks for the tip there. I take it that field should just be blank?

Quote
The easiest and most direct option is you can increase cloud Quality.
Ok, I was under the impression that cloud quality should be kept at 1 as a rule, so will play with that too.

So to clarify:
I should be looking at:
Cloud Layer: Cloud Quality
Renderer\Quality: Defer all shading
Renderer\Advanced: Do Raytraced Shadows

Thanks for all the input.

OldFlak....




Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4160 @ 3,60GHz. 8GB Ram. NVidia GeForce GTX 750. Acer 24" Monitors x 2 @ 1920 x 1080. Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

Offline Oshyan

  • Planetside Staff
  • *
  • Posts: 12943
  • Holy snagging ducks!
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2018, 04:30:29 AM »
Yes, that's a good summary. :D

To go into more detail:

In that thread where I mention Ray Traced Shadows, I was talking about a setting *in* the cloud layer (and atmosphere, on the quality tab of both) that was *renamed* to "Receive shadows from surfaces" (because this more clearly describes what it does). So that's the setting I was referring to, not the general Render setting "Do ray traced shadows", which should generally be left enabled.

The limit on render threads must have been in the original file, which again is why we don't recommend people mess with this setting on a per-project basis. It defaults to 64 and that should be a fine setting. That being said as long as Minimum Threads is not changed, it should not be running more threads than your system has, so no harm done.

Finally, regarding terrain quality, it's important to distinguish between the terrain shading itself (like the subtle shadows and ground detail in the foreground of your original image above, due to displacement) and effects like shadows that happen on or over the terrain. The terrain quality is primarily controlled by Micropoly Detail when Defer All is *not* enabled (when enabled, then terrain quality is controlled partly by Micropoly Detail but also by antialiasing, but I recommend using 0.5 Micropoly detail and just varying antialiasing in that case). But that is the terrain-specific shading quality. It has an effect on shadows cast onto it, but does not directly improve the sampling quality of shadows. So that's why you saw minimal effect by increasing micropoly detail.

Another example of such a situation is if you had low mist over the terrain and it was noisy. You might think "well there is over the terrain, so I should increase terrain quality", but of course the noise is coming from the low cloud layer, not the terrain shading. So you'd need to increase cloud quality to affect it.

Determining the *source* of noise or other quality issues is not always simple, but is very important to optimizing render time and quality.

I hope that helps!

- Oshyan

Offline OldFlak

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2018, 04:39:38 AM »
@Oshyan - yes all helps, definitely lots to learn here!

Getting this when Defer All Shading is turned on:


End render comes out ok - is this normal?

Also I would like terrain to be more cartoony as well, and in regard to that bobbystahr said in another thread:
Quote
Try playing with the AO settings for a more cartoony look...have got that accidentally in some of my architextural renders.
https://planetside.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,22595.msg228055.html#msg228055

Trying to get to grips with a whole new set of terminologies here: In my world AO means Ambient Occlusion , but can't find any settings like that - can someone enlighten me as to what bobby was referring too.

OldFlak...

« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 05:10:26 AM by OldFlak »
Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4160 @ 3,60GHz. 8GB Ram. NVidia GeForce GTX 750. Acer 24" Monitors x 2 @ 1920 x 1080. Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

Offline Oshyan

  • Planetside Staff
  • *
  • Posts: 12943
  • Holy snagging ducks!
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2018, 04:59:44 PM »
Yes, that's what the Defer All process looks like, crazy as it is. :D

AO is indeed Ambient Occlusion. You find it in the Enviro Light. I think I can perhaps see what Bobby might mean, but it is definitely not something that would *inherently* create a cartoony look. AO is less realistic than GI, and cartoons generally have less realistic shading, so there is a correspondence there. But it's definitely not a "cartoon effect". Just one contributing factor, perhaps.

- Oshyan

Offline OldFlak

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2018, 08:25:54 PM »
Thanks Oshyan.

Yes, that's what the Defer All process looks like, crazy as it is. :D

Ah, that is good, I thought the file may have been corrupted, or my PC was a bit low=specked for TG.

AO is indeed Ambient Occlusion. You find it in the Enviro Light. I think I can perhaps see what Bobby might mean, but it is definitely not something that would *inherently* create a cartoony look. AO is less realistic than GI, and cartoons generally have less realistic shading, so there is a correspondence there. But it's definitely not a "cartoon effect". Just one contributing factor, perhaps.

I am starting to get the picture now - I think!
I thought the AO in question would be to do with terrain or shader colors, but it is becoming clear now that there are many factors that affect a given area of the scene.


That has all given me something to work with.

There is a certain kind of satisfaction that comes from trying to make something produce results it is not designed to do out of the box - I kinda find that fun.

One more question:
Why you make software that is so addictive!!! :)

OldFlak....
« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 08:29:24 PM by OldFlak »
Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4160 @ 3,60GHz. 8GB Ram. NVidia GeForce GTX 750. Acer 24" Monitors x 2 @ 1920 x 1080. Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

Offline bobbystahr

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10127
  • Turn, and face the Strange Ch Ch Changes...D Bowie
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2018, 03:25:50 AM »

Also I would like terrain to be more cartoony as well, and in regard to that bobbystahr said in another thread:
Quote
Try playing with the AO settings for a more cartoony look...have got that accidentally in some of my architextural renders.
https://planetside.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,22595.msg228055.html#msg228055

Trying to get to grips with a whole new set of terminologies here: In my world AO means Ambient Occlusion , but can't find any settings like that - can someone enlighten me as to what bobby was referring too.

OldFlak...



Here's what I use accessed on the render tab G I Settings button Image Pass Tab
something borrowed,
something Blue.
Ring out the Old.
Bring in the New

bobbystahr

Offline Oshyan

  • Planetside Staff
  • *
  • Posts: 12943
  • Holy snagging ducks!
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2018, 08:02:51 PM »
Ah, yes, that AO is specific to GISD. Worth testing both if you're after a *less* realistic affect.

- Oshyan

Offline bobbystahr

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10127
  • Turn, and face the Strange Ch Ch Changes...D Bowie
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2018, 08:05:37 PM »
Ah, yes, that AO is specific to GISD. Worth testing both if you're after a *less* realistic affect.

- Oshyan

Hence cartoonish...
something borrowed,
something Blue.
Ring out the Old.
Bring in the New

bobbystahr

Offline OldFlak

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: Terrain Noise
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2018, 11:31:20 PM »
@bobbystahr - thanks for the tip - does look less realistic :)

Messed with the clouds a bit more - and like the results much better.

In my first test with this version which had basically the same setting as the original for quality etc had varying render times for the 6 sides.
- Four sides took around 2hrs
- Top approx 3hrs
- Bottom approx 20min

As per this discussion, I played with the quality settings to try to get more detail in the terrain.
- Micropoly - 0.6
- AA - 6
- Cloud Quality - 2

This tile took 9:18:32s


The clouds look great, but the terrain still lacks detail.

Here is a snippet of an in-game screen shot - to me the mount is too blurry.



Applying the things learned here still seams to have little impact on the quality of the terrain, but dramatically increases render times.

Of course being new to TG I do realize that I have much to learn about what to tweak, where, and when, and I really have no idea if these render times are good bad or in between. Perhaps the render times are reasonable given my PC is not of very high specs.

So the learning continues.... :)

OldFlak....

« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 12:03:35 AM by OldFlak »
Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4160 @ 3,60GHz. 8GB Ram. NVidia GeForce GTX 750. Acer 24" Monitors x 2 @ 1920 x 1080. Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.