Blurrier renders

3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 819
edited December 1969 in Carrara Discussion

I figured I would ask, instead of keeping trying to change my angle of view of my monitor...

If I have a character in poser and render, looks good.

Open the PZ3 in Carrara, and render...looks good, but the render is blurrier. Is there a render setting to make it more crisp? My first guess was filter shaprness...but that did nothing. I set object accuracy to 0.5 and antialiasing to good...still nope.

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  • dbuchterdbuchter Posts: 48
    edited December 1969

    3doutlaw said:
    I figured I would ask, instead of keeping trying to change my angle of view of my monitor...

    If I have a character in poser and render, looks good.

    Open the PZ3 in Carrara, and render...looks good, but the render is blurrier. Is there a render setting to make it more crisp? My first guess was filter shaprness...but that did nothing. I set object accuracy to 0.5 and antialiasing to good...still nope.

    Hmm, can you add the render so we can see what you're referring to?

  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 819
    edited December 1969

    Yep, working on that right now...

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,585
    edited December 1969

    Is it an animation or still image? Are you using a compressor?

  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 819
    edited December 1969

    OK, so my lighting in Carrara leaves a little to be desired right now, and I had to reset the face morph, so I lost the expression...but I think this and the next post give you the idea. I tried to make the scenes similar

    This is Poser

    LaraPoser.png
    640 x 480 - 110K
  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 819
    edited December 1969

    This is Carrara

    LaraCarrara.png
    640 x 480 - 156K
  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited January 2013

    Global Illumination always looks "soft" in my opinion, because it tends to reduce contrast.

    AA to Best will look slightly sharper, but at a render time cost

    Set your ambient light to 0... Always... That is the biggest contrast killer.

    *some shader suggestions:
    add a light brown translucency to the hair shader, and a neutral grey translucency to the tank top - will help them both look more touchable and less like "hard clay".

    GI also tends to null out your highlights, so don't be afraid to push highlights on select shaders in your scene, like the metals and the wet parts of her eyes...
    Try putting a VALUE=0-1000 shader in the highlight channel set in the 200 range, control the size of the highlight with the shininess shader (higher values make the highlight sharper/smaller)

    Post edited by holly wetcircuit on
  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,585
    edited December 1969

    So is the Poser render using GI, because it looks like the Carrara render is using it, or at least the Skylight. It might also help to know what compression settings you're using. I also am wondering what your resolution is set to in the Render room? It defaults to 72 dpi which is fine in most cases. I wouldn't lower it, unless you're doing test renders with GI, because it will look fuzzy.

  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 819
    edited December 1969

    OK, I switched carrara to a 3 point light setup, with no GI, still trying things, just read Holly's tips...not sure how to get a soft light yet.

    CarraraLara2.png
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  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,585
    edited December 1969

    3doutlaw said:
    ...not sure how to get a soft light yet.


    You mean for soft shadows?

  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    For her skin, check the tutorial at the link in my sig for "Creating Specular Skin Effects"...
    If you have a specularity map you can substitute the Cellular shader in my tutorial with the spec map

  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 819
    edited December 1969

    Yep, for soft shadows. Its at default 72dpi. Trying your specular thing now holly.

  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 819
    edited December 1969

    Here is with the specular tut suggestion

    CarraraLara3.png
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  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 819
    edited January 2013

    Something crazy goin on with the eyes, but followed a couple other suggestions.

    Is it just me, or is it still blurrier?

    CarraraLara6.png
    640 x 480 - 130K
    Post edited by 3dOutlaw on
  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    3doutlaw said:
    Something crazy goin on with the eyes, but followed a couple other suggestions.

    Is it just me, or is it still blurrier?


    Lookin good to me... Maybe I am not sure what you mean by "blurry".

    Sometimes I render at a much higher (double) res, to PNG, then make my JPGs reduced in Photoshop...

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited December 1969

    3doutlaw said:
    Something crazy goin on with the eyes, but followed a couple other suggestions.

    Is it just me, or is it still blurrier?

    Well, your Poser Image had entirely different light positioning and shadow settings - rather than blur, I think the sharpness comes from the sharp contrast that your Carrara lighting isn't mimicking. I haven't read everybody's posts above, but:
    Be sure you don't have any lights from Poser in your scene. If any came with the import, delete them.
    That stark white (or very light) shadow caster in your Poser scene is a key element to what you seem to be looking for - so place a spot or distant light (just one light for now), and get that aimed properly to get the effect you want. But for now, try to match what you did in Poser. I know that working with lights in Carrara is altogether better... I mean... different than Poser, so you'll just have to use the image for directing you towards the proper angle. This is where a Distant light will simplify your task. I like using Sopt lights because they give me the extra control of distance falloff, which I use constantly.
    Next go for subtle highlights, either using a lot less shadow intensity or none at all, using your Poser image as a reference.

    I really like what you've done in both Poser and Carrara. I actually like the Carrara shots better, except when I'm looking for that stark contrast shown in the first (Poser) image. No doubt... Poser can produce a beautiful render. Carrara should be able to beat it - especially in speed. I believe that one of the default Poser lights is subtractive - which C8 and higher have the ability to produce as well. So if you want to experiment....

    Cool shot. I hope you find this helpful.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,585
    edited December 1969

    I suspect the "blurry" issue is image compression rather than the render. What format are you rendering to? Dart is also right regarding regarding the Poser render Vs. the Carrara render. There are substantial differences in scene set up. The black background for one, the lights for another.


    I'm trying to replicate the render now, so I get a better idea of what's going on. I'll also post a screen cap on how to use soft shadows.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited January 2013

    3doutlaw said:
    OK, I switched carrara to a 3 point light setup, with no GI, still trying things, just read Holly's tips...not sure how to get a soft light yet.

    Softness comes in a few varieties in Carrara, so I'll try to help in this direction using a single Carrara light, the Spot Light.

    Soft Spot part 1 - Shadows
    Many people will tell you to always set your shadow levels to 100%
    You can do this and still get softness. But don't let such suggestions or instructions keep you from dragging that value down some. I use plenty that I set to 33. For light settings aside from brightness, I often find myself using Half, Quarter or Thirds values: 25%, 33%, 50% as a starting point - which is often where they remain.

    Soft Shadows are set in the "Effects" tab toward the top. The light diameter is your softness control. The default is not very soft at .05 ft. or something similar. I like to crank this up to 100 or 150 if it's a spot, or even 3000 for a sun light. Try it at 25 ft. and see the difference. Then try 100 and then 75 or whichever direction you'd like to take your softness. Higher number = softer shadow. EDIT: This setting will change in effect depending upon the distance that the light is - or, in the case of Distant Lights, the distance it's supposed to be. So if you have a streetlight that is 30 ft away from your character, setting this value to 30 ft will give the appropriate default starting point for that soft shadow setting. Please know, however, that too many soft-shadow casting lights can really slow down your render. For this reason, I'll often limit their use for the main figure - and use different softening techniques (not mentioned in this post) for the global scene - if it's needed.

    Soft Spot part 2 - Falloff
    Light angle for the default Spot Light is 45 degrees with 0% Falloff, which is a great default setting - even though I'll seldom ever leave it that way. Falloff is what will create the softness toward the edge of the angle. So for a "Soft" effect, I like to increase the angle and crank up the falloff. But specific shots like yours may benefit from a bit less falloff and angle as well. If I were to make those stark shadows (your brightest light in the Poser shot) using a spot, I would start with the default 45 degrees with a 33% falloff and work from there.

    Light Distance defaults at 400 ft. which will shoot straight past most things in your scene. Most of us lessen this a lot. It's the falloff that provides softness magic here as well. Leaving it at 400 ft and turning the falloff to 90% is still going to nail your character with light, if it's anywhere near her. Instead, try keeping the Spotlight relatively close to your figure - say, within 10 to 15 ft, and set the distance to two or three times that amount and set your falloff to something around 50%. Distance falloff is very neat because it can actually stop the light from reaching your figure - depending upon these settings and where the light is placed. It's really fun to tweak this along with the above mentioned Angular falloff.
    Edit: In the example of your Poser image, distance falloff is entirely unnecessary - as the light should still be strong as it passes the figure. But this setting also plays a big part in helping to soften things up.

    Soft Spot part 3 - Brightness/ Scene ambiance
    Brightness is the final step to get you the softness you really want. between the actual brightness level you set on the slider, and the color you select in the box. For a white light, for example, it's fun to test changes in brightness using the grey-scale of the color box in conjunction with the value slider. Work with this stuff after you've already set your shadows and falloffs - but then go back and tweak those, if you like.

    The final thing I'll say about softness in this post is regarding scene ambient light. You can soften most anything by tweaking this setting - but experimentation is in order. Many folks like to start with a simple small plane and a few Spheres, Cones or Cubes in an otherwise empty scene just to see the effects. If you do this, save off your light rig first, so you can use it for this test.

    Anyways, what scene ambient light does is to fill shadows with color on a global scale. To achieve a similar effect on a local level (just the figure, for example) you can use lights that don't cast shadows. In both situations, I suggest starting with the value set to 15 (15 brightness on a light) and go for a color that is very close to grey-scale - but you can take it into the color as much as you like - and is around half way between white and black on the color triangle. We're going for subtle here. Darker, less saturated colors in combination with low values on the slider will achieve closer to no effect at all, while still helping you soften your shadows. Like Holly explains, I'd set this to 0% to achieve the same, stark shadows of your Poser image. I just wanted to give you some well-rounded help.

    Hope this helps

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,585
    edited January 2013

    Be careful with scene ambient light. As Dart says, it sets it on a global scale, but if it's too bright it tends to wash out and make colors look flat. It can help fill in shadows, but it is indiscriminate in that it will also effect lit areas as well. If you use a strong color, it can also effect the hue of your shaders. Each scene is unique, but I tend to turn down ambient light to zero when I begin to set up my scene. If I feel I need it, I try turning it up just a little at a time. You definitely want to turn it off if you're rendering a scene with GI- At least until you see what it looks like without it.


    Shadow intensity is another thing that you need to use with care. If you set it too low, you'll run into problems. A common one would be if a mouth is open, it will look as if it is lit from within. There are uses for it. I tend to reduce shadow intensity if I'm compositing a 3D image with a photograph or video background.

    Post edited by evilproducer on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 6,942
    edited December 1969

    While we're at it, I should also mention that when loading a MAT pose file onto a figure within Carrara, the specular maps are not automatically placed in the Highlight channel of the shader. I have found that most purchased character products include these, so they really should be in place - but I have to do it myself, which I don't mind doing.

    Not sure, but If you imported your character from a Poser save, it likely has it - maybe not.

    I was taught to multiply the specular map with a value 1-100 slider in the Highlight channel of the shaders. I set the slider value according to how glossy I want the figure, so I usually use something really low, like 4 - 6. Others have differing opinions on that, though.

    Shininess channel directs the spread of light across the figure. So with a good spec map in place, a shininess value of 0 - 5 gives a good, non wet look. Turning this up to 15 - 20 will give a more "shiny" look - especially when a higher value is used in the highlight channel on the spec map.

    Some product makers have a really good naming convention for their product file folders, so finding your specular maps should be simple. They often have an "S" suffix at the end of the name:
    Body_T (color texture map)
    Body_B or D (bump map)
    Body_S (Specular map)

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,585
    edited December 1969

    Soft shadows are set up per light. Select your light and at the top right of your screen you should see it's effects tab. Select it and you will see soft shadows. Click the check box and adjust the light radius. There are no hard and fast rules as to how high to set it, but if it's supposed to be sunlight then you will want to set it into the hundreds of feet. If it's a light bulb or spot light which would tend to be closer and have harder edged shadows I usually start at 5 feet and go up or down depending on the look that I'm going for. If you see banding or other artifacts in the shadows, then up the quality setting.


    Soft shadows will really slow down the renderer if there are a lot of objects with trans-maps or dynamic hair. A little trick to get around this problem is to set up your light how you want it, enable soft shadows, and then use the Restrict Lighting function to select what object (or objects) that you don't want soft shadows on. Make sure it's set to, All objects Except... Now, duplicate the light. (You might want to rename it to help keep things straight). In the control panel for the duplicated light, change change the light restriction to, Only, and then disable soft shadows. Hopefully that made sense.

    Anyway, here's my attempt at mimicking your scene. No GI. Simple studio style light set-up. I parented a ring light set at two feet diameter and 40% brightness to the render camera for a fill light. No blur for me. I think the issue is image compression, and not the renderer.

    Picture_2.png
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    Picture_1.png
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    TR_sample.jpg
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  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 819
    edited December 1969

    Yea, that looks a little more crisp. I am using PNG. What is a good no compressive format? I thought PNG was a good one. Thanks for the tips on the soft shadows, that worked.

    Both scenes are setup the same. In fact I imported the PZ3 scene into Carrara, less the lights and the cameras. I then used a 3 point light.

    The lights in Poser is a point light with quick falloff lighting her, an IBL above right, and a low intensity spotlight rim from back left.

    In carrara I used 3 spots, for now. Similar formation.

    Background OBJ is the same, its the falloff that makes it look black.

    I am gonna play with it a little more and see what effect I can get. I think part of it is that I've been Posering now for the past year, and grown accustomed to the Firefly render look.

  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 819
    edited December 1969

    Oh....and I used Fenric's Shader Doctor for this....which was the point of the experiment. To see how easy to get from Poser to Carrara using it, and getting similar render. I was hoping it took care of the things Dbeck mentioned above. I'll need to check on that.

  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    3doutlaw said:
    Oh....and I used Fenric's Shader Doctor for this....which was the point of the experiment. To see how easy to get from Poser to Carrara using it, and getting similar render. I was hoping it took care of the things Dbeck mentioned above. I'll need to check on that.

    TUTORIAL! TUTORIAL! :cheese:

  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    I was taught to multiply the specular map with a value 1-100 slider in the Highlight channel of the shaders. I set the slider value according to how glossy I want the figure, so I usually use something really low, like 4 - 6. Others have differing opinions on that, though.

    Shininess channel directs the spread of light across the figure. So with a good spec map in place, a shininess value of 0 - 5 gives a good, non wet look. Turning this up to 15 - 20 will give a more "shiny" look - especially when a higher value is used in the highlight channel on the spec map.


    Perfectly said! TUTORIAL TUTORIAL! :coolgrin:

  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    3doutlaw said:
    Yea, that looks a little more crisp. I am using PNG. What is a good no compressive format? I thought PNG was a good one.

    ...

    I am gonna play with it a little more and see what effect I can get. I think part of it is that I've been Posering now for the past year, and grown accustomed to the Firefly render look.


    I use PNG. It's the best in my opinion.

    Yeah, it may be just Carrara and Poser look different.

    Also with your falloff spotlights, you might try making them brighter than 100 since they get dim quickly depending on your angle...

  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 819
    edited December 1969

    OK, so I cheated on the lights, cause it appears...I STINK AT LIGHTING! LOL! I spent some time in the Carrara portrait thread (until it got ugly) and gleaned some tips, and then grabbed the indigone shader and light kit...for the lights. Then I rendered a little larger, and reduced size and "sharpen" once in Irfanview....and I think the results are very comparable. Definitely a different look, but that is expected with a different render engine.

    BTW, Poser uses Firefly, DS uses 3Delight....what does Carrara use? Is it its own render engine?

    CarraraLaraFine.png
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  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited January 2013

    3doutlaw said:
    BTW, Poser uses Firefly, DS uses 3Delight....what does Carrara use? Is it its own render engine?

    Yes. Carrara has its own engine.

    Apology if my shader advice is out of line... :red: ...buuuut.... :sick:

    I think her skin is still looking a bit mannequin/solid. I recommend setting the skin Shininess shaders to zero to help her look softer and wrap her edge lighting a little better.

    I am also a big fan of using a very tight spotlight with full falloff parented to a main subject's head so it illuminates her face. It's straight out of Hollywood, but I think it would help with her eyes.... and also the viewer's eyes -- or rather where they are focused. The only thing I can see in this pic is her bright tanktop straining to contain her helium boobs...

    Here is an example where I used a face spotlight set with a very tight angle. I'm not saying you have to be THIS obvious about it, but imo it helps to offset a character who is all boobs so they still seem like a character.... It draws the attention of the eye around the pic more actively rather than just settling on the brightest circles in the image.

    Doc8kini.png
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    Post edited by holly wetcircuit on
  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,585
    edited December 1969

    3doutlaw said:
    BTW, Poser uses Firefly, DS uses 3Delight....what does Carrara use? Is it its own render engine?

    Yes. Carrara has its own engine.

    Apology if my shader advice is out of line... :red: ...buuuut.... :sick:

    I think her skin is still looking a bit mannequin/solid. I recommend setting the skin Shininess shaders to zero to help her look softer and wrap her edge lighting a little better.

    I am also a big fan of using a very tight spotlight with full falloff parented to a main subject's head so it illuminates her face. It's straight out of Hollywood, but I think it would help with her eyes.... and also the viewer's eyes -- or rather where they are focused. The only thing I can see in this pic is her bright tanktop straining to contain her helium boobs...

    Here is an example where I used a face spotlight set with a very tight angle. I'm not saying you have to be THIS obvious about it, but imo it helps to offset a character who is all boobs so they still seem like a character.... It draws the attention of the eye around the pic more actively rather than just settling on the brightest circles in the image.


    Whereas I would use two very tight spotlights with high falloff parented to the chest! :cheese:

  • 3dOutlaw3dOutlaw Posts: 819
    edited December 1969

    Well played @EP :lol:

    Actually the shininess of the skin is set at 0...I used your specular tut, but I increased the intensity a little to 9%, where you had it at 6%. That is probably the difference you are seeing. I am working on the eyes now. I have also seen in some renders, they put a very close point light, but not sure how I'll tweak it.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,585
    edited January 2013

    Something I'll do sometimes is copy the texture map from the color channel into the glow channel and set the maps brightness to 10% or lower. Helps with the iris and whites of the eye as well. I like to use it to fake SSS.


    It can take sometime to set up, but once I'm done, I then save the shader to my browser for later use.


    Here's an early test of the method. No GI or Skylight.

    Skin-and-Bones-no-GI-copy.jpg
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    Post edited by evilproducer on
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