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Carrara 8.5 Fast Mip Map DEGRADES all texture maps!
Posted: 03 September 2013 11:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Thanks Kakman, I should have thought of that.  Maybe he’ll weigh in and let us know what’s possible.

And besides, he might let us know when this new Skin Doctor might be released.  Although I think he should call it SkinCarrara.  If Vue gets a SkinVue, we should get a SkinCarrara.  smile

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Posted: 03 September 2013 11:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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that title brings up some scary flaying images in my mind! vampire

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Posted: 04 September 2013 03:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Sorry to butt in, but maybe I can shed a tiny beam of light on the subject…

The PURPOSE of Fast Mip Map is to degrade texture maps.  smile 

It’s kinda like the Carrara LOD (?) feature, which generates low rez versions of high rez stuff for a specific purpose. LOD uses low poly stand-in objects for a specific purpose. Likewise, with mip mapped textures it generates low rez “stand-in” versions of the texture in order to speed up rendering. Since you don’t need high rez textures for stuff that is far away from the camera, you substitute the high rez texture with the low rez texture on those objects (depending upon distance), and that allows the renderer to calculate less pixels and therefore speeds it up.

The cost of all of this is increase memory and storage space required for those additional textures that are generated. Don’t recall exactly how much, but I do recall it isn’t nearly as much as I thought. 

So the question becomes, does Carrara use high enough rez textures at a given distance? Well, it’s a tradeoff. If you put the same rez textures at the same distance as a different method, then you ain’t gonna gain much in terms of render speed, and you’ve defeated your whole purpose… smile

So it’s kinda like, by definition, if you do a side by side comparison of mipmapped vs. another method at the same distance, you’d expect that the mipmapped texture might not look as clear. It’s a good thing, and that’s what it’s designed for. Though you hope it’s not too noticeable, but unfortunately with sharp lines as in text it is a bit more obvious. But it’s all a tradeoff….no right answer, just what seems reasonable.

And keep in mind that resolution varies by distance, but since there are only a certain (limited) number of low rez textures generated, it might abruptly switch to a different rez texture as you change distance. And I imagine only the programmers know exactly which resolution texture kicks in at what distance…..

I presume that DAZ decided that the average user was far more interested in render speed than clarity of textures in the renders, and therefore chose that default.

But I do agree that, in terms of settable preferences, Carrara has a whole ton of things that SHOULD BE settable preferences, and this certainly fits the bill. On the other hand, then you’ll need to ask yourself if you REALLY want to give up the rendering speed associated with fast mip map in favor of a (somewhat?/slightly?) clearer render…... 

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Posted: 04 September 2013 05:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Your uv-mapped object is not going to have a 1:1 relationship between pixels in the texture map and final pixels in your rendered image.  As the renderer selects which ones to use, it frequently must decide what to do in two situations: 

1 - when the final pixel corresponds to multiple UV coordinates on the object
2 - when a UV coordinate ends in-between pixels on the texture map

The first situation is a problem when detailed textures are rendered at a distance from the camera: the result all too often will have characteristic “swirls” or “phantom lines” appear known as Moire patterns.  Fast Mip-Map is intended to reduce these by pre-reducing the texture resolution and removing fine details (it isn’t really about render performance).  It can make scenes with a large depth of field look considerably better.  Sparrowhawke has had a plugin shader to do this for a long time now.

Choosing Mip-Map for the default filtering method was not the choice I would have made, but it is hardly unusual: Poser’s default “Quality” texture filtering does the same thing (and has similar undesirable side effects).  Of course, in Poser there are several Python scripts to choose from that fix it.

For objects that are closer to the camera, the second situation comes into play.

Sampling is the same as Poser “None” filtering - it simply chooses the nearest available pixel from the texture map and uses it regardless of how correct or incorrect that may be.  It will give better results than mip-map for intermediate distance objects, but may cause moire patterns in distant objects and a distinct digital-looking blockiness for close-up objects. 

For best close-up results in Carrara, you really want “Gaussian Filtering” which will interpolate between texture-map pixels to get the closest possible result.  (I wouldn’t bother with Box Filtering). 

And yes, I agree that Carrara does need a way to change blocks of texture maps all at once.  I’m already looking at it, I just haven’t yet figured out how to access the parameters of the texture-map shader: it’s not documented and what I’ve seen so far doesn’t quite match how most other things in Carrara seem to work.  I don’t want to hold up my Shader Doctor update - I just finished the release candidate Mac builds - so it’s not going to be bundled in there.

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Posted: 04 September 2013 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Fenric - 04 September 2013 05:56 AM

the result all too often will have characteristic “swirls” or “phantom lines” appear known as Moire patterns.  Fast Mip-Map is intended to reduce these by pre-reducing the texture resolution and removing fine details (it isn’t really about render performance).  It can make scenes with a large depth of field look considerably better.  Sparrowhawke has had a plugin shader to do this for a long time now.

Yep, most good animation packages have Fast Mip-Map or a variation. It helps reduce crawling dots, moire, etc. There’s a DAZ Studio user who always complains about the 3Delight version (tdlmake), but ignores that 3Delight is designed for motion picture work where it’s very much wanted and needed. DAZ probably should’ve made it so it could be switched on in Carrara as some users probably won’t want it since they are under the mistaken idea that everything CG should be sharp as a tack - it shouldn’t be that sharp if you are striving for photo realism.

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Posted: 04 September 2013 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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JoeMamma2000 - 04 September 2013 03:53 AM

Sorry to butt in, but maybe I can shed a tiny beam of light on the subject…

The PURPOSE of Fast Mip Map is to degrade texture maps.  smile 

    Which brings us to my oft repeated question, if that’s the purpose of FastMipMap then why would they EVER sell Elite Skin Maps where everything was set to FastMipMap?    So that to get a quality render you have to go in and change the texture setting for every single body part with a shader????  The Elite Skins are supposed to be the best for high quality work, or at least that is what Daz sells them as.  So why would they deliberately degrade the quality of their high quality textures?

                                                                          Boojum the brown bunny

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Posted: 04 September 2013 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I have a feeling that the answer to this:

boojumbunn - 04 September 2013 10:33 AM
JoeMamma2000 - 04 September 2013 03:53 AM

Sorry to butt in, but maybe I can shed a tiny beam of light on the subject…

The PURPOSE of Fast Mip Map is to degrade texture maps.  smile 

    Which brings us to my oft repeated question, if that’s the purpose of FastMipMap then why would they EVER sell Elite Skin Maps where everything was set to FastMipMap?    So that to get a quality render you have to go in and change the texture setting for every single body part with a shader????  The Elite Skins are supposed to be the best for high quality work, or at least that is what Daz sells them as.  So why would they deliberately degrade the quality of their high quality textures?

                                                                          Boojum the brown bunny

Has a lot to do with this

Kevin Sanderson - 04 September 2013 08:51 AM
Fenric - 04 September 2013 05:56 AM

the result all too often will have characteristic “swirls” or “phantom lines” appear known as Moire patterns.  Fast Mip-Map is intended to reduce these by pre-reducing the texture resolution and removing fine details (it isn’t really about render performance).  It can make scenes with a large depth of field look considerably better.  Sparrowhawke has had a plugin shader to do this for a long time now.

Yep, most good animation packages have Fast Mip-Map or a variation. It helps reduce crawling dots, moire, etc. There’s a DAZ Studio user who always complains about the 3Delight version (tdlmake), but ignores that 3Delight is designed for motion picture work where it’s very much wanted and needed. DAZ probably should’ve made it so it could be switched on in Carrara as some users probably won’t want it since they are under the mistaken idea that everything CG should be sharp as a tack - it shouldn’t be that sharp if you are striving for photo realism.

And that the Fast Mip Map(as it’s introduction into Carrara) utilizes its method to really show off the super details when needed up close, and not dragging down the render times when such high clarity is not necessary. Sort of like reducing or even, perhaps eliminating the urge or need to use blurred reflections - as the Mip Map helps to remove the sharpness.

I remember a time when I used to use unsharp mask for everything! Much like what Kevin says above. I look at a lot of my old ‘sharpened’ images now with agony.

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Posted: 04 September 2013 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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  But it leaves your character look like it’s been chopped up and put back together if you view the whole figure.    You end up with lines between every UV map on the figure.  I don’t agree that you would, by default, set your most photorealistic shaders to a setting that would make it unusable in a full body render.  Instead, you would set it to be photorealistic and then let people change it to fastmipmap if they need speed.

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Posted: 04 September 2013 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Kevin Sanderson - 04 September 2013 08:51 AM
Fenric - 04 September 2013 05:56 AM

the result all too often will have characteristic “swirls” or “phantom lines” appear known as Moire patterns.  Fast Mip-Map is intended to reduce these by pre-reducing the texture resolution and removing fine details (it isn’t really about render performance).  It can make scenes with a large depth of field look considerably better.  Sparrowhawke has had a plugin shader to do this for a long time now.

Yep, most good animation packages have Fast Mip-Map or a variation. It helps reduce crawling dots, moire, etc. There’s a DAZ Studio user who always complains about the 3Delight version (tdlmake), but ignores that 3Delight is designed for motion picture work where it’s very much wanted and needed. DAZ probably should’ve made it so it could be switched on in Carrara as some users probably won’t want it since they are under the mistaken idea that everything CG should be sharp as a tack - it shouldn’t be that sharp if you are striving for photo realism.

Do most of these “good animation packages” that have Fast Mip Map force this upon the user as the default with no way to change it either as a an overall choice or on a scene by scene basis (which I think would be preferred)?

Do these other software packages have to ability to change the texture filtering on an item by item basis (which I think is sorely needed)?

Do these other software packages cause seems to appear in figures when they employ the Fast Mip Map setting?  I do not think that having white seams appear on human figures (on various body areas) in the distance is very photo-realistic.

What if I am not striving for photo realism – which is often the case?  The way it is now I would have to spend hours changing hundreds of shaders to get the effect that I want.

I have not had a whole lot of time to experiment and analyze all the effects that the Fast Mip Map filtering has at this point, but it seems that once I set the Object Accuracy to .5 pixels it eliminates the degradation effect regardless of the distance the object is from the camera (not positive on this one yet).  And an Object Accuracy setting of .5 pixels is used quite often from what I can glean from various postings in this forum.

I think it is all about having a choice on when and where a user might want to utilize various filtering choices without creating a huge time suck to do so.

 

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Posted: 04 September 2013 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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JoeMamma2000 - 04 September 2013 03:53 AM

Sorry to butt in, but maybe I can shed a tiny beam of light on the subject…

But I do agree that, in terms of settable preferences, Carrara has a whole ton of things that SHOULD BE settable preferences, and this certainly fits the bill. On the other hand, then you’ll need to ask yourself if you REALLY want to give up the rendering speed associated with fast mip map in favor of a (somewhat?/slightly?) clearer render…... 

I certainly want to be able to make the choice between quality and speed and If I choose quality I do not want to be penalized by having to spend hours and hours changing hundreds of textures.

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Posted: 04 September 2013 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Fenric - 04 September 2013 05:56 AM

For objects that are closer to the camera, the second situation comes into play.

And yes, I agree that Carrara does need a way to change blocks of texture maps all at once.  I’m already looking at it, I just haven’t yet figured out how to access the parameters of the texture-map shader: it’s not documented and what I’ve seen so far doesn’t quite match how most other things in Carrara seem to work.  I don’t want to hold up my Shader Doctor update - I just finished the release candidate Mac builds - so it’s not going to be bundled in there.

Thank you so very much Fenric for considering to try and provide a workable solution for this.  I still can not fathom why DAZ would have forced the Fast Mip Map Filtering on the Carrara users as a default without an alternative.  And I really can not understand why this change and the effects that it has (and how extremely different it is compared to past versions) wasn’t pointed out in DETAIL.

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Posted: 04 September 2013 02:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Kakman, I’m curious about why this wasn’t noticed by those folks who used the beta. I didn’t so I can’t check on what you are finding. I’m still waiting on a check to arrive so I can buy 8.5 while it’s still on sale.

I agree, you shouldn’t be seeing seems - the purpose is to try to reduce artifacts.  And they probably should have made it an option. (I wouldn’t be surprised there’s some setting or combination we don’t know we should use.) However, in 3Delight it’s default (as tdlmake) with filters provided to adjust the blur/sharpness, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen seems in 3Delight renders.  I’ve only seen complaints about lack of sharpness from folks who don’t change the filter settings in Studio/3Delight. In messiah, it’s an anti-alias option that was added in v5. Other packages have it, too, but I don’t know their specifics.

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Posted: 04 September 2013 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Kevin Sanderson - 04 September 2013 02:39 PM

Kakman, I’m curious about why this wasn’t noticed by those folks who used the beta. I didn’t so I can’t check on what you are finding. I’m still waiting on a check to arrive so I can buy 8.5 while it’s still on sale.

I agree, you shouldn’t be seeing seems - the purpose is to try to reduce artifacts.  And they probably should have made it an option. (I wouldn’t be surprised there’s some setting or combination we don’t know we should use.) However, in 3Delight it’s default (as tdlmake) with filters provided to adjust the blur/sharpness, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen seems in 3Delight renders.  I’ve only seen complaints about lack of sharpness from folks who don’t change the filter settings in Studio/3Delight. In messiah, it’s an anti-alias option that was added in v5. Other packages have it, too, but I don’t know their specifics.

Kevin,

I can only answer for myself regarding the use of the Beta.  I only used the Beta for “playing around with the Genesis items” not for the production of any final work.

In my experience there were so many things that did not work in the Beta that I did not consider the state it was in to be a serious release candidate.

DAZ had stated that they were aware of many of the issues and were fixing them for the C8.5 release.  There were so many issues that I decided to wait for the release candidate and then see what was what.

 

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Posted: 04 September 2013 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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I will point out that a long time complaint with the Texture Filter default, from a significant number of customers, is that Texture Filter blurs the texture and makes it not suitable for closeups. Fast Mip-Map was designed to give you the better resolution for closeups without sacrificing speed, and most of you also care about speed.

The problem with the seam lines showing up goes away, in most cases, by getting a little further and/or a little closer to the subject. (Usually only a nudge.) Carrara doesn’t have an equivalent to shading rate that you have in DS or Poser, and setting that at 1 in either DS or Poser gives you the same results you are seeing in Carrara with Poser/DS Content, and since the content with the issue was designed for those render engines….

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Posted: 04 September 2013 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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  Actually, the problem with the seams gets worse the farther away you get.  they actually get bigger! 

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