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General => Terragen Discussion => Topic started by: Oshyan on May 15, 2009, 05:05:38 AM

Title: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Oshyan on May 15, 2009, 05:05:38 AM
Hey everyone. I just made a rather detailed post about how to get the most out of TG3 quality settings and I thought it might make a good sticky post for all to read.

First and of greatest importance do *not* assume that the max on all sliders is the best, or is appropriate for all renders. This is particularly true for the Global Illumination sliders. Most people who use GI in practice use values between 2 and 4. For basic scenes 2 is fine in fact.

Now on to the rest of the info about quality settings.

For general detail setup, to know what to change when trying to improve image quality, follow these rules:

Do a test render with general default quality first.

Remember that there are multiple places where detail settings are changed.

Also keep in mind that there are lots more detail settings than before and they affect different aspects of the scene. Never assume that you just need to turn everything up or on for best results. Some settings are only necessary for certain scene types and will just slow down other renders.

If you see noise in your clouds, increase cloud Quality. If you see noise in the atmosphere, either below or above the clouds, or in light rays, increase atmosphere samples.

For atmosphere samples, the default of 16 is good for many situations, especially in normal daylight without "god rays", etc. To reduce noise you may need to increase beyond 16, but I wouldn't go above 64 unless you have lots of rays, in which case you might go as high as 128. Don't go above that though as you get diminishing returns for very much longer render times.

Cloud Quality is usually best left at 1, going above 1 will increase render time considerably, but may be necessary with certain extreme settings and when not using Raytraced Atmosphere. Note the 3 main factors that influence render time are: The *taller* your clouds (higher "depth"), the more *dense* they are, and the more *edge sharpness* they have, the more samples will be needed for good quality, and since samples are adjusted automatically based on Quality, if you leave Quality at 1 but increase any of those 3 cloud settings, your render time will go up while the system tries to maintain quality by increasing samples.

For atmosphere the quality is defined by number of samples and is indicated by the level of noise. For clouds the quality is determined by the Quality value in the cloud layer, which corresponds to an internal number of samples that varies based on other settings in your cloud layer. If you don't see noise in your clouds or atmosphere but want higher "quality" (e.g. edge fidelity, detail), don't increase samples, just increase Detail in the Renderer.

Once you get a good level of noise-free results with clouds and atmosphere at 0.5 detail you can adjust other settings.

If your lighting seems to need more detail or accuracy you can try increasing GI detail. I would try 1 level at a time, go from 2 to 3, then 3 to 4 if it's not enough. If you don't see noticeable differences in these changes then your problem probably lies elsewhere!

If you see jagged edges on areas of high contrast (terrain against the sky for example) or object edges, increase Antialiasing. Note that in the free Technology Preview you can't go above 4. For Terragen 3 licensed versions you can use whatever value you want, but I would not recommend going above 8 or at most 12 in general, and 4-6 should be fine in most cases. Scenes with large amounts of fine vegetation may need more, but values above 16 should never be used unless you really know what you're doing.

Finally, once you have a pretty good-looking scene and all your other detail levels have been adjusted appropriately, if you still feel that the *overall* scene lacks a bit of detail, then you can consider increasing the main Detail setting. But again I would recommend adjusting other detail first until you have a fairly consistent level of quality across the whole render. Even if it's less *ovearll* quality than you want, the main thing is that it be consistent - noise-free clouds, decent surface detail, good lighting quality, etc.

Increase the main Detail setting incrementally - don't just jump to the maximum. Each 0.1 increase will have a big impact on render time as well as quality, but the render time impact is generally greater than the quality impact. 0.5 actually provides pretty good detail for many scenes. 0.7 or 0.8 can be a good detail setting for final renders while still saving time over 1.0. You might even use 0.9 for almost the same detail as 1.0 and less render time.

Don't simply assume that you will always be able to see the difference because 1.0 has more detail than 0.9. TG2 renders *sub-pixel* detail, so it is not necessarily the case that you would see the difference between two high quality render settings (0.9 and 1.0 for example).

That's it for now. I hope that will help give you a better idea of how to get reasonable render times *and* quality.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: neuspadrin on May 15, 2009, 05:08:00 AM
Good idea, should help with some of the complaints by newer members about insane render times when they just type big numbers in ;)
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: choronr on May 15, 2009, 05:39:52 AM
Thanks Oshyan for this information.
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: rcallicotte on May 15, 2009, 04:30:35 PM
Thanks.  More to add to my docs.   ;D
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Aagam on May 15, 2009, 08:53:41 PM
Thanks! Unfortunately, I had to learn all of this the hard way :(
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: AndyWelder on May 15, 2009, 08:56:28 PM
Thank you, Oshyan, I'll add this sticky to my favs.
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: MrHooper on May 18, 2009, 02:34:39 PM
Thanks for the rundown.  There are some good logical workflow ideas there that I wasn't properly following.  Tuning cloud/atmosphere samples before increasing render detail is not a method I used, but will try.  I still have questions about the gi settings, and hope to see more on that.  In particular, what units the "GI Blur" setting uses... meters, or pixels?

Also, thanks for the explanation of GI surface details... I may have bloated a render with that on, where it wasn't needed;)

Andrew
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: gregsandor on May 19, 2009, 05:54:13 AM
11 for GI relative detail and sample quality is really an insane value.

"These go to eleven."

Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Tangled-Universe on May 19, 2009, 08:34:17 PM
11 for GI relative detail and sample quality is really an insane value.

"These go to eleven."



Ghehe, brilliant ;D

I remember a friend of mine who always turns up all the frequencie-ranges of his equalizer. When I say "why don't you just turn up the volume?" he always responds in the same ignorant way ;D
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: DigitalFear on October 14, 2009, 08:27:33 PM
 This is a godsend; you've probably saved many people countless hours :P
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: mcmiller on October 24, 2009, 10:55:07 PM
This is good to know. This info will probably eliminate almost all of the frustration that I've had with TG2 over the last few years.
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Linda McCarthy on December 22, 2009, 02:05:07 AM
Thank you for this valuable information on render settings, Oshyan, and for this awesome update.  WooHoo!!  Linda
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: kasalin on April 28, 2010, 04:44:50 PM
A very detailed and helpful explanation !!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: pmetschan on July 26, 2010, 06:03:26 AM
Oshyan,

I have a situation which I don't think you covered in your post. I am trying to render a planetary map where much of the terrain is very low maybe only a few meters above the Ocean (sphere object with a constant shader) If it was any other render it would appear to me to be a clipping problem. At that altitude it is just not able to accurately discern what is about and what is really below the water level. I have messed with a number of combination's but am still getting very pronounced "speckling" in many of the shallow seas instead of nice tight coastlines. see attached, you can see the areas pre-aliasing and after.
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: pmetschan on July 26, 2010, 10:13:40 PM
Some more detail of the phenomenea. see attached. Render settings are the same in each image only difference is altitude of the camera which is why i think its some kind of clipping tolerance, help?
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Oshyan on July 27, 2010, 03:14:52 AM
I'll look into it Philip. My first guess is it's Detail, Detail Blending, or Displacement Filter related.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Roseb44170 on May 07, 2011, 05:34:55 PM
I also have to thank you for this information.  There has been a T2 contest that I would love to participate in on a more regular basis but the program just operates so slowly on my computer that I almost thought about giving it up.

I have also added your post to my docs so that I can try it out - can't wait to see how well it works!
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: dark_Wizzie on June 04, 2011, 11:08:50 PM
How much would max detail actually take, hypothetically speaking, with today's best hardware?  :P
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Tangled-Universe on June 04, 2011, 11:34:41 PM
I couldn't even hypothesize on what the max detail and other settings would be, let alone its rendertime ;)
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Splus12 on July 24, 2011, 04:30:38 AM
Thanks Oshyan,  everything I read here help me understand this program more.
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: DannyG on March 20, 2012, 11:04:07 PM
Oshyan,
Is there any updates or hints that you can share since this was last updated ? As you already are aware, we are all looking to shave a minute or two here and there
Many thanks in advance
Danny
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Oshyan on March 26, 2012, 02:27:36 AM
It's true that a lot has (potentially) changed since the original thread was written. The fundamentals haven't changed really, but additions like Raytrace Atmosphere and bucket rendering controls can have an effect, to be sure. I will see if I can revisit this, perhaps in the Wiki, some time soon. But it's a tough subject to tackle because things can vary so much. The real intention of this thread was to establish a baseline of sane values as I saw lots of people just cranking up settings, assuming it would make things a lot better, and having huge render times with little or no benefit. When it comes to the finer points of tweaking the renderer for a specific image or sequence, there can be more to it than might be easily covered even in the wiki. But we'll see what can be done...

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: pokoy on May 22, 2012, 11:03:19 AM
Hope I'm not posting questions that might have been answered somewhere else already but this thread seems to be the right one.

I am getting artifacts in volumetric shadows that mostly occur on bucket borders. I suppose it has to do with atmosphere GI that's not getting blended properly between buckets. I tried to increase GI detail and sample quality and have increased GI prepass padding but both didn't help, though I didn't have much time to test them thoroughly. I'm also not sure if it's really related to GI or if it has to do with ray detail, or even with the general image detail settings.
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Matt on May 22, 2012, 09:05:28 PM
It's likely to be the "acceleration cache" in each of the Cloud Layers, on their Quality tabs. Try setting those to "None".

Matt
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: pokoy on May 29, 2012, 08:48:34 AM
Great, thanks for the tip.
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: pokoy on June 12, 2012, 03:44:48 PM
Hope I'm not posting questions that might have been answered somewhere else already but this thread seems to be the right one.

I am getting artifacts in volumetric shadows that mostly occur on bucket borders. I suppose it has to do with atmosphere GI that's not getting blended properly between buckets. I tried to increase GI detail and sample quality and have increased GI prepass padding but both didn't help, though I didn't have much time to test them thoroughly. I'm also not sure if it's really related to GI or if it has to do with ray detail, or even with the general image detail settings.

It's likely to be the "acceleration cache" in each of the Cloud Layers, on their Quality tabs. Try setting those to "None".

Matt


That worked, thanks!
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Clay on March 18, 2015, 10:47:50 PM
Yes these are great directions from Oshyan, was a big help when I just started using Terragen3 a few weeks ago. Here's a sample of What I have managed to create as I'm learning all the bells and whistles.
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Dune on March 19, 2015, 07:40:18 AM
Hi Clay, welcome to the forum. I suggest opening a new post in image sharing with your render, so people can comment and give advise in the appropriate thread. If you want C&C that is.
Title: Re: Render setting recommendations
Post by: Artofgp on July 06, 2017, 12:15:56 AM
Thank you, Oshyan. I will give this advice a try right now.