Your inputs on improving "flat" and bland looking surfaces in TG2

Started by moodflow, April 04, 2008, 01:30:33 pm

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moodflow

Hi All,

There is one thing about TG2 that tends to bug me.  I really love TG2, so I am only bringing this up so we can find ways to improve upon it manually, and/or even have the developers improve upon the software itself.

I'm not sure if anyone else notices this, but I'd say on most TG2 images I've seen (including my own), most of the surfaces just have this bland "flat" look to them.  For instance, I can tell what is what, but the surfaces just don't have the near photo-real look they should have.  And I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly what the cause(s) are.

Ways I've tried to improve upon this:
1.  Making sure all surfaces have some type of reflectivity, even if its miniscule.  This includes amount and spread.
2.  Using image map shaders when appropriate due to inherent color variations that would otherwise take ages to create via functions.
3.  Using soft shadows.
4.  Using GI with as high as samples as possible (though I rarely go above 3/3 due to render times)

Things I suspect may be contributing:
1.  Bland surface colors due to lack of color variation (as stated image maps really help here, or huge power fractal stacks)
2.  Global Illumination inaccuracies (though maybe not since it seems to work quite well in TG2)
3.  The rendering engine itself (due to inaccuracies in lighting and shadowing).

I hope the new rendering engine improves upon this.  I know TG2 is a work in progress and will only get better. 

As of now, its fully useable and as stated, I feel it creates exceptional images.  I definitely don't want to come across as knocking the software.
http://www.moodflow.com
mood-inspiring images and music

rcallicotte

I'm glad you've mentioned this, moodflow.  Sometimes I can't seem to get a grip on how some of my renders come across flat regardless of my efforts.  Some of it is surely my misunderstanding the best way to do lighting in TG2 and I'm not sure if that's the only problem.
So this is Disney World.  Can we live here?

moodflow

Quote from: calico on April 04, 2008, 03:57:14 pm
I'm glad you've mentioned this, moodflow.  Sometimes I can't seem to get a grip on how some of my renders come across flat regardless of my efforts.  Some of it is surely my misunderstanding the best way to do lighting in TG2 and I'm not sure if that's the only problem.


Well I almost didn't post this, as I didn't want people to think I was being too harsh on TG2, which I'm not.  I just demand greatness!   8)

There is something still missing, and I can't quite put my finger on it, so as stated, its likely multi-factorial.
http://www.moodflow.com
mood-inspiring images and music

lightning

YES i noticed this as well
sometimes if i add heaps of colour fractals and image maps it seems to give a gooey rubbery look to my terrain which i find rather annoying

Mohawk20

Have you tried to apply a powerfractal to your surfacelayers as displacement, however small? That tends to help a bit in the natural grainyness of rock and dirt.
Howgh!

Will

The world is round... so you have to use spherical projection.

moodflow

April 05, 2008, 01:04:39 pm #6 Last Edit: April 05, 2008, 05:20:27 pm by moodflow
Quote from: Mohawk20 on April 05, 2008, 06:26:33 am
Have you tried to apply a powerfractal to your surfacelayers as displacement, however small? That tends to help a bit in the natural grainyness of rock and dirt.


Yes, I've done extensive research on this.  You can see the results in this post:  http://forums.planetside.co.uk/index.php?topic=3256.0

The results were very nice, but the rendertimes were enormous.  But it increase the realism and eliminated fractal scale repetition.

Image maps give an even better result, for faster render times, but then there is the tiling issue (even if seamless, you can see the tiles repeat).  This is mitigated somewhat by using super hi resolution image maps.  Of course when using image maps, the best results are had when the image map's pixel size is smaller than the rendered image pixel size, else you'll get pixel blurring, smoothness, and stretching.

I have a new method now that employs stacked image maps via distance, which eliminates the tiling issue and a few other "distance" issues with tiles and power fractals.  However, thats a different topic altogether, which I'll post at a later date.

EDIT:

Here is the link to this other method I mentioned up.  It involves the distance shader:
http://forums.planetside.co.uk/index.php?topic=3765.0

http://www.moodflow.com
mood-inspiring images and music

firesuite

April 05, 2008, 05:00:59 pm #7 Last Edit: April 05, 2008, 05:02:38 pm by firesuite
Im still trying to get the nice powder/dusty look that you could get in Tg .9 surfacing, looked alot more realistic to me, Ive tried displacing in the low .1 / .01 / .001 areas but it either

1. starts to darken in renders or 2. creates a nice tiled pattern instead of the fractal, some guys have to tried to help me with #2 but i cannot seem to get rid of it.

I think having some decent bump/displacement for the surfaces would help a great deal.

moodflow

Not sure if anyone will even notice, but I changed the title of this post to be more accurate of what I meant.  The other title sounded a bit too accusatory.
http://www.moodflow.com
mood-inspiring images and music

buchvecny

i am afraid that, as you mentioned fractal stacking is only way. Well or the image maps, i dont know much about them, but have u thought, if you need it just for color variation, have you though about the planet surfaces and modyfing them into colors/variations you want? Im pretty much into space art so i have like 20000x20000 map of mars here and some moon map and couple of 25 MP textures and i am sure there is more if you search.

Well but the my final word is that if you ignore all the nice talkie talk about the cutting render times and such, there stands a message from planetside and from me too: get intel quad core 6600 or 9300 or 9450(STILL UNRELEASED INTEL WHORES!) and 4GB of 800mhz + DDR2 ram.

firesuite

One other thing..

With the color picker in the old TG you had a randomise button that would provide a nice close colour to whatever surface you were working on at the time, it sped up mulitple layer surfacing no end.

Would love to have that option back in TG2.. hint hint  ;D