Render Settings

Started by JT, December 21, 2006, 06:29:21 AM

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Would it be possible for Planetside to give us some information an the various render settings available in TG2? If possible I would like to know how exaclty these settings impact on render time. I just tried a test with full antialising anq render quality and it was VERY slow. I produce hi-res images for print and I would like to get the best possible quality but keep render times to an acceptable level. A bit of technical data on the effects the settings have on both quality and rendertime would allow me to find a happy medium.




That is a great help! Thankyou.




Paul Valenti aka ElDiablo


Render times will vary greatly depending on the scene, even with the same settings. But you can of course be assured that the highest settings will always give you long render times, all the more so in TG2 vs. TG 0.9. There was a tendency by many who used TG 0.9 to simply assume that turning all sliders to max was the best idea, but even in TG 0.9 that was seldom true as for example the atmosphere and cloud sliders could greatly increase render time and often have little or no effect, particularly when rendering at high resolution and downsampling.

In Terragen 2 the "quality" settings are much more complex and require a lot more understanding to truly take advantage of. We will be creating a wider range of presets in the future to take some of the guesswork out of this process, but learning the details of how each setting works will ultimately be the best way to get maximum quality *and* decent render times.

The best thing to keep in mind at all times is that setting any given option to maximum is not necessarily or even often the best idea. For example the Detail slider goes up to 1 in the free Technology Preview, and you can set it as high as you want in the registered version, but values of 1 or even higher are often not necessary. Increasing detail dramatically increases render times (the difference betwee 0.1 and 1.0 is 50-100x measured in simple scenes) and the difference between for example 0.7 or 0.8 and 1.0 is not necessarily large or often even noticeable. Whereas low cloud or atmosphere samples will be immediately noticeable as graininess in the render. So you are often better off increasing cloud and atmosphere samples and leaving overal Detail a bit below 1.0.

Another big misconception and culprit for long render times are the Global Illumination quality settings. They default to 2 in the free Technology Preview and this is actually a fine value. 3-5 should be excellent for most final renders. 6-8 are a maximum for extremely detailed scenes where lighting is key. But to give you an idea of just how little these high settings are necessary in many cases, take a look at Luc Bianco's latest superb canyon image, showing a near text-book example of global illuminination in action:

GI settings for this image were 1/1. Yes, the *lowest* you can set it. So keep that in mind when you are adjusting detail settings next time and consider not changing the GI settings at all and instead concentrating on getting good values for cloud and atmosphere samples. These will probably affect your overall quality most.

- Oshyan