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General => Terragen Animation => Topic started by: dorianvan on March 03, 2017, 03:14:39 AM

Title: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 03, 2017, 03:14:39 AM
Anybody know how to get rid of noisy animation?
Det.7, AA10, 1/16 first samples, PNT=.02
Narrow Cubic, Microvertex jitter/detail jitter off
GI: cache detail 6, sample Q 6, blur 8, Supersample/GISD on
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Matt on March 03, 2017, 04:25:12 AM
First I would change the pixel reconstruction filter to Cubic B-Spline (soft) or Mitchell-Netravali, and see if that helps at all.

I don't know what exactly is causing the noise on the buildings, but it doesn't appear to be the lighting so I suspect it's the textures (which Terragen doesn't prefilter). But you have noise in the vegetation as well, so if the pixel filter doesn't help then you'll need to increase the minimum samples. 1/16th adaptive at AA10 usually doesn't give enough minimum samples for vegetation renders. Even though the pixel noise threshold is low, it doesn't guarantee that it will recognise all noise. You might need to use 1/4th and AA 12 or higher, unfortunately. But I would recommend testing whether the pixel filter makes any difference first.

Matt
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Oshyan on March 03, 2017, 05:16:34 AM
Woah, that's some noise. Are you using imported/photo-based textures on the buildings and all that stuff? What about the background terrain? Because there's a bit of noise even there. It's confusing me a bit. Making me wonder if we're missing the real source of noise here...

Is Defer Atmo enabled? What are the atmo samples?

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Hannes on March 03, 2017, 02:05:41 PM
Couldn't that be a GI issue too? Have you tried using a GI cache? If detail blending in the Render subdivision settings is set to 0 (default), try 1. It will take longer to render, but maybe it helps. You could also play with the ray detail region settings under the advanced tab.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Oshyan on March 03, 2017, 04:18:18 PM
I don't think any of those should cause noise issues in this case.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 03, 2017, 04:19:14 PM
Thanks for responding,
@Matt: I'll try Mitchell and up the min samples first, then up the AA if that doesn't work. Rendering now.
@Oshyan: Yes, they are imported jpg textures for all of the objects. Is there a TG problem regarding jpg textures or their sizes? The background is something Ulco did for me, I haven't tackled yet why the mountain shadow is changing shades, not sure about that yet. I did set the strength on surfaces to 2.25 to brighten them up some (problem?). Defer atmo/cloud is enabled, atmo samples = 10
@Hannes: I rendered a cache every 5 frames (because there's lots of foreground grasses) and interpolated every 5 as well. Detail blending is already set to 1, and RD region padding is .5
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Oshyan on March 03, 2017, 11:32:02 PM
As Matt said, textures in TG are not prefiltered. So I'd try disabling the textures as a quick test. If the noise is minimized/gone, then we need to figure out a way to fix your texture aliasing. That would be good to know.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: KyL on March 04, 2017, 04:38:09 PM
Interesting. I thought that "smooth interpolation" in the color or displacement tab texture was actually a texture filter of some kind.  ???
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 04, 2017, 05:05:09 PM
The filters made very little difference regarding the noise. With the materials, I went as high as AA14 and detail of .8, and it was still noisy. Without the materials I added a light surface layer, then re-rendered. There was no dithering of noise on the object, foliage only slightly noisy. My materials (jpgs) range from 200K to 36MB, does the number of mats used or the size of them matter?
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Oshyan on March 04, 2017, 08:17:03 PM
Mainly you want to avoid using larger textures than necessary. Aliasing can occur when there are more pixels in the texture than are needed to represent it in screen space in the final render. You might also test without 3D motion blur as that greatly increases the needed number of samples for noise-free results. 2D motion blur may be adequate, either in TG or in post.

I'll talk it over with Matt and see if there are other options and things you should try.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 07, 2017, 07:30:37 PM
Didn't know that using larger textures than needed causes aliasing. I did change all of my materials to under 1MB each, but that did nothing to change the noise. However, the culprit is a "dirty" node. It dirtys up my ruins. When it's off, the aliasing is gone. The problem is I like the dirtiness factor. Any ideas on settings I could try?
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: cyphyr on March 07, 2017, 07:44:09 PM
I did wonder if it was a very fine displacement causing the noise but hadn't thought of it being a PF. Can you lower the displacement value (or have it off and just use the dirty colour)?
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 07, 2017, 07:47:17 PM
I'll give that a go, thanks.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Matt on March 08, 2017, 12:27:25 AM
Or reduce the octaves.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 08, 2017, 02:57:22 AM
Didn't try the octaves, but removing the displacement removed the noise on the textures. Thanks Richard. There's still a bit of noise in the bushes, but not enough to worry about. There is a problem with the mountain changing colors (my GI is 6,6,8 and blending 5 files) and the black house at the top, which only happens when I add the "dirty" node. Not sure about either of these two yet.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Dune on March 08, 2017, 06:14:32 AM
Good that you got it better so far, Dorian. I feel kind of responsible too, and was indeed going to mention the bump. Having some problems with bump even in stills lately (blackening leaves). There's no bump in the leaves as I recall, only world color variation. There is bump in the trunks.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: cyphyr on March 08, 2017, 08:34:23 AM
Just checking, when you're blending 5 files, are you blending file 0001, 0002, 0003, 0004, 0005 ... or 0001, 0006,  0011, 0016, 0021 ... or even 0001, 0011, 0021, 0031, 0041 ... etc?
Basically you should be rendering every 5th or even 10th frame for the GI Cache and blending those together so effectively the further apart the frames are that you are blending the smoother the GI light changes will be.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 08, 2017, 12:44:22 PM
@Ulco: All the shader nodes in the foliage pops have .01 displacement. Should I turn all these off? They are also set to Very high quality and not Ultra. What do you think in the dirty node is causing that one black house? Maybe I'll try lowering the octaves as Matt suggested.
@Richard: I rendered every 5th frame and interpolated 5 files to blend. Maybe I should be rendering every 10? I also thought that maybe when I render the full size and increase the region padding, it might go away.

Also, when I do a cache for the animation, I leave GISD off. Then I turn it back on for rendering. Is that a wrong thing to do?

Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: cyphyr on March 08, 2017, 12:52:27 PM
.../

Also, when I do a cache for the animation, I leave GISD off. Then I turn it back on for rendering. Is that a wrong thing to do?

Ahh, that may well be the culptit (I do get to be wrong often mind ...) I would leave all the settings the same for rendering the GICache as I need for the final render (except of course frame frequency ...)
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 08, 2017, 12:57:29 PM
Thanks, I'll try that.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Dune on March 08, 2017, 03:39:05 PM
Quote
All the shader nodes in the foliage pops have .01 displacement
But there isn't any input, so that doesn't matter. Quality doesn't matter either because you use ray tracing objects.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 08, 2017, 05:01:52 PM
Thanks for the info Ulco, it's probably Terragen 101 information that I should have known :)
The crop animation looks better, Richard, but there's a little swimming of colors at the mountain. However, the dark house went away when I lowered the octaves (thanks Matt). I'm rendering a low res full screen test of 60 frames with GI padding (.25) and Ray detail region padding (.25); I'll keep the GI high (6,6,8) though.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Dune on March 09, 2017, 06:05:11 AM
What would happen if you make one good GI cache from say a centred frame, and use that for the whole sequence? It's 'just' one swoop, right?
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: cyphyr on March 09, 2017, 07:47:03 AM
I was wondfering this ... or 1 from frame 1 and 1 from frame 60 and blend between the two ... but wasn't confident I wasn't talkling rot!
As long as there is no dramatic change in lighting condtions it should work ... maybe ... scratches head, reaches for coffee.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 09, 2017, 01:50:09 PM
My whole animation is 360 frames. For this one, I cached every ten frames from 0 to 100, then rendered frames 20-79. GI looks good (6,6,8,SS,GISD), but the foliage in front of the rubble is noisy. I'm assuming this is because of my low resolution (Det .5, AA 4). One last test of a higher resolution, full screen GI, but cropped render ought to do it.

Seems like I can use a smaller size GI cache (1280x720) and a higher size rendering (1920x1080), right? My caches are each about 575 MB!
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Hannes on March 09, 2017, 03:20:37 PM
Looks great!!!

Seems like I can use a smaller size GI cache (1280x720) and a higher size rendering (1920x1080), right? My caches are each about 575 MB!

Yes, as long as the aspect ratio is the same, it works.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Dune on March 09, 2017, 04:35:54 PM
That looks very good!
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 09, 2017, 05:01:26 PM
Yes, as long as the aspect ratio is the same, it works.

Do you have a standard you use? Like cache 1/4, 1/2/, 3/4, or do you normally use the full size? Also, does the cache have to all be done on one computer or can several comps do it?

@Ulco: right back at you, thanks for helping.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 09, 2017, 07:32:28 PM
After doing some research, I think I'll be fine at 1/2 size, and render the GI over several computers because they will all be blended anyway.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Hannes on March 10, 2017, 08:18:07 AM
Do you have a standard you use? Like cache 1/4, 1/2/, 3/4, or do you normally use the full size? Also, does the cache have to all be done on one computer or can several comps do it?

That depends on the scene. Full size gives you the best result, but maybe the difference to half size isn't too strong, so you have to do some tests.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 10, 2017, 01:38:19 PM
Thanks Hannes, good advice.

I rendered overnight on several computers and full size (1920x1080) are taking from 7.5 to 10 hours for one frame. Way too long with my deadline. Somehow I've got to speed things up. Detail and AA are .8, 12. and Blending 5 files (each 435MB).
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Dune on March 10, 2017, 03:07:57 PM
That is awfully long. I think that's the main problem with all animations, the flickering and thus high values needed. Would some sort of blur (motion in TG) or post do any good to smooth things out? Perhaps a soft filter helps?
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 10, 2017, 03:38:02 PM
Well the first thing I'm doing is losing the clouds I like, not worth the extra time when you don't have it. Besides, I could blend in a still with clouds in post (thanks Ulco). Next, I'm lowering the AA to 10, not as good as 12, but might be tolerable. Plus, lowering the Ray detail multiplier from .5 to default .25. Does blending 4 files instead of 5 reduce the rendering time/quality do you think?
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Dune on March 10, 2017, 03:54:45 PM
The ray detail multiplier doesn't have any effect afaik, as there's no water involved. V3 clouds take a long time, so I would indeed go for simple v2 clouds or postclouds. I really can't say much about animation, not my forte at all. I would say a soft filter would do some more blending, and as all is moving, you don't need it crisp anyway.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: cyphyr on March 10, 2017, 04:03:07 PM
I don't think I've ever done an animation with the detail level up as high as 0.8.  The Audi Seasons one was done at 0.5 with some of the AA at 12 and some as low as 3. Also you can render at a higher res/lower quality and down sample to get more crispness if you need.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 10, 2017, 04:37:22 PM
The ray detail multiplier doesn't have any effect afaik, as there's no water involved.

Does this mean I should have it set to 0?

@Richard: Thanks for sharing that, I'll try .65 and see if that's enough.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Matt on March 10, 2017, 06:07:23 PM
Ray Detail Multiplier is used for shadows (not just reflections) of any displaceable surfaces including terrain, so don't reduce it too much.

Some bugs in the current version (v4.0.04) might be causing the GI cache files to be much larger than necessary when using Cloud Layer V3 or Easy Cloud. Therefore the number of GI cache files to blend might also impact render times quite significantly. But if you take out the V3/EC clouds and re-generate the cache files you should be able to leave the blend number at 5.

I've been incrementally tackling some of these performance problems with V3/EC clouds and you should see improvements in v4.1, which we want to release in the next few weeks.

Matt
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Oshyan on March 10, 2017, 08:41:09 PM
I agree with Richard/cyphyr, reconsider whether you need Micropoly Detail at 0.8. Especially for in-motion shots you can often get away with a good deal less, as long as the Animation Check button has set the internal Renderer Subdiv Settings to animation-appropriate values. 0.5 or 0.6 Micropoly Detail is generally fine for animations. Also keep in mind that in Terragen 4 Defer Atmo is enabled by default, meaning that high AA will make atmosphere elements take longer to render. You need to use adaptive AA settings (set 1/16 or 1/64th First Samples, and adjust noise threshold to achieve desired noise levels), and reduce atmo samples (and sometimes cloud quality) to get good render quality *and* time with both objects and atmosphere in the scene. You can often use just 8 atmo samples if AA is high and Defer Atmo is enabled.

Try those adjustments and see what you can get render times down to.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 10, 2017, 09:17:23 PM
Great information Matt/Oshyan! Thank you, I will give those settings a try. Animation settings are a balancing act that takes a bit of getting used to. Is there a general rule for where you want the minimum samples to be? Also, I left off Microvertex jittering, but kept detail blending at 1, not sure if that was right, but I am trying to avoid jittering and gain blending.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Oshyan on March 10, 2017, 09:34:16 PM
Indeed, animation render settings are something to themselves and require some learning and experimentation beyond what is necessary for stills. But once you have a good sense of what works well the iteration can get faster for future scenes.

The ideal minimum number of samples will depend on what kind of elements you have in your scene. If you have objects with lots of fine details, for example grass, evergreen trees, or a house with railings as a non-plant example (or fencing, etc.), then you probably don't want to go below 1/16 first samples, and likely need a minimum of 4-6 samples per pixel to get decent results. If you have less "thin"/detailed objects and/or mostly atmosphere, you can potentially have less samples per pixel, maybe as low as 2, but really the best approach is to do lots of tests with your actual scenes.

Microvertex Jittering is not necessarily going to give you visible noise/jittering. I would generally trust what the Check Animation button changes. This includes disabling Detail Jittering but *not* Microvertex Jittering. That being said you probably won't see issues in your scene from not having microvertex jitter enabled, I don't think.

Detail Blending increases render time, so you could try it at 0.5 (again this is what the animation check button sets it to). If you see an increase in popping artifacts then you may need to increase it.

I also forgot to respond about the Ray Detail Multiplier, but the default is 0.25 and you should probably just use that value. Increasing it is most often useful in situations with water or other refractive materials, for rendering of higher detail refracted surfaces.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 10, 2017, 09:55:59 PM
GIC's are now 160MB's each (turned off clouds), and rendering the final now. I went to .6 detail, kept AA10, lowered min samples to 6.3, increased PNT from .02 to .03, and lowered Detail blending to .5 (thanks Oshyan for the tips). Fingers crossed, ran out of testing time :)
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Dune on March 11, 2017, 06:25:27 AM
Didn't know RDM was used for shadows too. Good to know. Good luck, Dorian!
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: DocCharly65 on March 13, 2017, 10:44:15 AM
The last version (Test16?) looks really great!

Between all the posts I didn't see any hint what kind of project this is - business or private?
Looks as if it could be a part of a documentary :)
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 16, 2017, 03:08:03 AM
Looks as if it could be a part of a documentary :)

Yes, it is for a documentary. I have a couple of crop renders to do but mostly this is done. The noisiness mostly went away with my last settings.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Hannes on March 16, 2017, 05:49:48 AM
Looks great, Dorian. Congrats!
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 16, 2017, 02:58:07 PM
Thanks Hannes.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: luvsmuzik on March 16, 2017, 05:44:29 PM
Nice improvements! Camera position on vegetation, big difference in appearance of flickering. :)
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Dune on March 17, 2017, 01:54:47 PM
Glad you succeeded, Dorian!
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 17, 2017, 03:57:18 PM
Thanks luvsmusik and Ulco, and everybody who helped. Here's the final with a prop we made, a hot air balloon (with people) of King Tut, flying over the ruins. The balloon was rendered in Max and comped together with the Terragen alpha mask. Sorry, flash format was the only one I could get under 5MB without crazy compression artifacts.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: Dune on March 17, 2017, 05:09:19 PM
Awesome, Dorian!
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: luvsmuzik on March 17, 2017, 06:37:26 PM
 ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: archonforest on March 17, 2017, 08:02:05 PM
Great one!!
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: DocCharly65 on March 18, 2017, 04:24:56 PM
Wunderful scene!

(and I learned a bit about noise in animations from your trouble ... sorry  ;)  )
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on March 19, 2017, 08:57:28 PM
Noise socks too!  ;)
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: bobbystahr on April 01, 2017, 03:48:49 AM
Impressive, and it loops nicely. Love the hot air Pharaoh...kind of a comment, though maybe unintended, on all politicians...as well as being a nicely made prop.
Title: Re: Noisy Animation
Post by: dorianvan on April 05, 2017, 02:33:12 PM
That's funny Bobby, hadn't thought of the political viewpoint.