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what is considered the absolute best program for the type of work done in poser and daz?
Posted: 28 June 2014 08:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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KaribousBoutique - 25 June 2014 12:46 PM

Poser’s IDL can produce enough realism to satisfy me almost 100% of the time, if that’s my goal.  And Firefly is waaaaaaaaaaaaay faster than anything else.  I’ve done benchmark renders across multiple programs, and (at least on my machine), render times were up to twice as fast in Firefly than anything else.  Having said that, I did those benchmarks before the advent of AoA’s amazing lights, so I’d be willing to bet the playing field has been significantly changed.

As much as I respect AoA, his lights won’t affect GI/IDL speed much - for one, Advanced Ambient only does AO.
The key to the speed of Firefly’s GI is the irradiance caching algorithm - 3Delight does not have a built-in implementation of it, and it seems that the 3Delight developers aren’t planning to put it in (or maybe they are, but in secrecy). Maybe AoA will indeed write one some day =)
It’s possible to get quite fast GI in DS through the point-based algorithm - but since it involves the “scripted renderer”, it largely remains confined to the “techies” rather than “artists”.

Kyoto Kid - 26 June 2014 05:57 PM

I am actually looking forward to the Renderman offer in August.  True, I can only use it for non commercial work, but it will be interesting to experiment with a professional grade production based engine, and maybe it might even help give more insight into how to better optimise the Daz built in version for the best results.

Actually, 3Delight _is_ a professional pro grade engine as well. It is produced by a team called DNA Research, and DAZ3D have nothing to do with “optimising” it per se; the only thing they can do is provide better documentation and maybe more user-friendliness when it comes to tools like Shader Builder and “scripted renderer” - where the true power lies.

I can imagine a viable DS-to-PRMan workflow, though, since DS can already export RIB files that should be importable into the PRMan studio. But there will still be things to re-learn: even though 3Delight is Renderman-compatible, it has certain things that work differently as compared with PRMan.

But PRMan does have irradiance caching =)

And yeah, I still use “PRMan” to refer to “Renderman the engine”, so as to distinguish it from Renderman the standard =)

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Posted: 29 June 2014 12:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Octane has recently made a huge improvement. With the release of Version 2.01.0036 last week, in addition to the great new features in Version 2 (like displacement and hair), now the number of texture maps that can be used is no longer limited. You are just limited by the RAM on your GPU. This change applies to both the Kepler based cards and the older Fermi based cards (Fermi based card limits were 64 RGBA textures, 32 grayscale textures, 4 HDR RGBA textures and 4 HDR grayscale textures, and the Kepler based card limits were 144 RGBA textures, 68 grayscale textures, 10 HDR RGBA textures, and 10 HDR grayscale).

Just testing it, so far I’ve loaded well over 200 texture maps on my Fermi card without any problem (sure beats the heck out of 64 big surprise ). I did run out of Vram (I have 3Gb) when I tried to load a scene with 3 clothed V4s, 3 clothed M4’s, Faveral’s Medieval Docks, and several props. I was able to successfully load the same scene with only 2 V4’s and 2 M4’s - about 240 texture maps, with room to spare. This really makes Octane more competitive to GPU only and Hybrid (GPU+CPU) rendering for larger scenes..

Oh….render speed has also been improved over the last version as well!

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Posted: 29 June 2014 12:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Mustakettu85 - 28 June 2014 08:27 PM

As much as I respect AoA, his lights won’t affect GI/IDL speed much - for one, Advanced Ambient only does AO.
The key to the speed of Firefly’s GI is the irradiance caching algorithm - 3Delight does not have a built-in implementation of it, and it seems that the 3Delight developers aren’t planning to put it in (or maybe they are, but in secrecy). Maybe AoA will indeed write one some day =)
It’s possible to get quite fast GI in DS through the point-based algorithm - but since it involves the “scripted renderer”, it largely remains confined to the “techies” rather than “artists”.

Oh, for sure—I remember Firefly before irradiance caching came into being (P8?  or was it P7?).  Prior to that, I recall saying that Firefly was “neither on fire nor did it fly,” lol. And Firefly’s GI is ACTUAL GI.  Both UE and AoA’s lights are AO.  I could be wrong, but I don’t think you can get true GI in DS without a third-party render engine.  The reason AoA’s advanced ambient lights decrease render speeds is CONTROL.  The lights themselves aren’t lightning fast at high quality settings—but I don’t have to render background items with high-quality AO settings.  Before Poser’s IDL/GI came along, I was a HUGE fan of RDNA’s Advanced AO Editor, which used surface AO nodes instead of AO lights, allowing you the ability to adjust AO quality/settings individually, with a fast and easy python script. 

When I did the benchmark tests, I tried to use equivalent features to generate renders of very good quality.  There was no equivalent to GI in DS, so I think I did original benchmarks with HDRI-AO lights in Poser and UE (with the same HDRI map, only in .tif form) in DS.  I also rendered the scene with a GI dome and specular point in Poser (with IDL, obviously).  On the whole, firefly with AO was 80 - 100% faster than native 3Delight and UE, and IDL/GI in Poser was roughly equivalent to 3Delight with UE.  With AoA’s light controls, I feel I could get the same quality renders in DS at Firefly speeds, simply because I can “cheat” a little, lol.

dustrider - 26 June 2014 07:07 PM

A long render for me with Octane is a couple of hours. A long render for me with Lux is when it goes over 18 hours (I’ve done 70 hour renders). The results in either one are very comparable. It really depends on if you can work within the memory constraints that come with pure GPU rendering. I wouldn’t recommend using a card with less than 2Gb at the bare minimum. 3-4Gb is much better. You can get a card that will do extremely well with Octane for around $200-270 (3-4Gb RAM and 900+ cuda cores),

A LONG render for me with Firefly and GI/IDL is under 10 minutes, lol. The examples I’ve shown below are three of the longest renders I’ve done in Poser, and all had render times on-par with or less than what you’ve described in Octane as a “long render.”  The first image (shown here cropped, reduced in resolution, and jpg compressed) had a 4000 x 4000 resolution and took over an hour because I used maximum overkill on render settings—100% IC, 100% Indirect Light quality, and a minimum shading rate of 0.2. I probably could have reduced the render time with more conservative render settings and gotten near-equivalent results.The second was done in under 20 minutes, with a resolution of roughly 2400 x 1800, and more reasonable quality settings. The third was done back in Poser Pro 2010, and was almost an hour because I used a volumetric atmosphere with a very small step size and DOF (which requires much higher pixel samples.)  All can be seen full-res on my dA page, link in my signature. 

That actually has me wondering—how does Octane do with volumetric atmospheres/fog?  Never had the patience to try with Lux.

I’m certainly not disputing the speed of GPU rendering—I have a really nice graphics card and Octane would undoubtedly be something I’d love to try.  I also know what I spent on my computer and graphics card, and what an Octane license + Plugin would cost.  I haven’t been able to justify the expense.  And THAT’s saying something, lol, because I’ve spent more on 3D programs and content in the last 7 years than I have on my 7-year-old car.  And it’s a nice car.  :-D

I think it’s fair to say you need to have a good grasp of material settings to use any third-party render-engine successfully.  I think my feeling (and it’s just my opinion) is that devoting that same attention to materials in the programs I already own can give me equivalent results in equivalent time.  I might just have to try a little harder and swear a little more, lol.

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Posted: 29 June 2014 02:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Mustakettu85 - 28 June 2014 08:27 PM
KaribousBoutique - 25 June 2014 12:46 PM

Poser’s IDL can produce enough realism to satisfy me almost 100% of the time, if that’s my goal.  And Firefly is waaaaaaaaaaaaay faster than anything else.  I’ve done benchmark renders across multiple programs, and (at least on my machine), render times were up to twice as fast in Firefly than anything else.  Having said that, I did those benchmarks before the advent of AoA’s amazing lights, so I’d be willing to bet the playing field has been significantly changed.

As much as I respect AoA, his lights won’t affect GI/IDL speed much - for one, Advanced Ambient only does AO.
The key to the speed of Firefly’s GI is the irradiance caching algorithm - 3Delight does not have a built-in implementation of it, and it seems that the 3Delight developers aren’t planning to put it in (or maybe they are, but in secrecy). Maybe AoA will indeed write one some day =)
It’s possible to get quite fast GI in DS through the point-based algorithm - but since it involves the “scripted renderer”, it largely remains confined to the “techies” rather than “artists”.

...were there only a standalone version of Firefly like there is for 3Delight.

I have a difficult time working in the Poser UI compared to Daz Studio, of course because I am so used to the latter as I have used it for so many years. Another issue is Genesis not playing as nicely in DSON as it does in its native TriAx weight mapping.  I enjoy character creation and the versatility of the Genesis platform lends itself so elegantly to the process. I am aware of Dawn, but not in a position to make the investment to bring her up to the level of what I am able to currently do with Genesis.

...plus, there is yet to be a male counterpart.

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Posted: 29 June 2014 05:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Mustakettu85 - 28 June 2014 08:27 PM

As much as I respect AoA, his lights won’t affect GI/IDL speed much - for one, Advanced Ambient only does AO.

Agree there, that is also one thing I’d like to see apart from IBL supporting point-based occlusion - at least I didn’t see speed improvements with the AoA lights the last time I tested the render script. The speed improvements of the AoA lights come through other means, which one cannot always go for if quality is really needed. Point-based occlusion is still my favorite means of rendering with UE2 and it really cuts down the render time a lot.

Still, I really like the AoA lights. They cannot be used as replacement for every scenario, but they weren’t designed for that purpose in the first place so that is quite understandable. Nevertheless I would love to have the AoA light scope broadened.

KaribousBoutique - 29 June 2014 12:19 AM

There was no equivalent to GI in DS, so I think I did original benchmarks with HDRI-AO lights in Poser and UE (with the same HDRI map, only in .tif form) in DS.

Not sure when you did do the benchmarks, but DS has got GI for quite some time (via UE2 and other less obvious means) and if you know how to utilise the scripted render in DS4 any IDL/GI mode can be incredibly fast (as in minutes and not hours).

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Posted: 29 June 2014 05:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Renpatsu - 29 June 2014 05:19 AM
KaribousBoutique - 29 June 2014 12:19 AM

There was no equivalent to GI in DS, so I think I did original benchmarks with HDRI-AO lights in Poser and UE (with the same HDRI map, only in .tif form) in DS.

Not sure when you did do the benchmarks, but DS has got GI for quite some time (via UE2 and other less obvious means) and if you know how to utilise the scripted render in DS4 any IDL/GI mode can be incredibly fast (as in minutes and not hours).

It’s not very good - the quality settings were still too low - but this is a scene with a UE2 light in bounce mode and the actual light coming from the ambient colour on the primitive.

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Posted: 29 June 2014 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Richard Haseltine - 29 June 2014 05:40 AM

It’s not very good - the quality settings were still too low - but this is a scene with a UE2 light in bounce mode and the actual light coming from the ambient colour on the primitive.

The GI mode essentially requires other lights in the scene, that is how it is supposed to work. The IDL is different in that regard.

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Posted: 29 June 2014 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Renpatsu - 29 June 2014 05:19 AM
Mustakettu85 - 28 June 2014 08:27 PM

As much as I respect AoA, his lights won’t affect GI/IDL speed much - for one, Advanced Ambient only does AO.

Agree there, that is also one thing I’d like to see apart from IBL supporting point-based occlusion - at least I didn’t see speed improvements with the AoA lights the last time I tested the render script. The speed improvements of the AoA lights come through other means, which one cannot always go for if quality is really needed. Point-based occlusion is still my favorite means of rendering with UE2 and it really cuts down the render time a lot.

I’m familiar with point-based occlusion as a concept, and I knew 3Delight was capable of it, but I guess I guess I didn’t realize UE utilized it.  Can you explain this a little more?  I’m interested.

Renpatsu - 29 June 2014 05:19 AM
KaribousBoutique - 29 June 2014 12:19 AM

There was no equivalent to GI in DS, so I think I did original benchmarks with HDRI-AO lights in Poser and UE (with the same HDRI map, only in .tif form) in DS.

Not sure when you did do the benchmarks, but DS has got GI for quite some time (via UE2 and other less obvious means) and if you know how to utilise the scripted render in DS4 any IDL/GI mode can be incredibly fast (as in minutes and not hours).

It was a while ago, and I really should do them again.  But I’m certain you understand workflow methods that I don’t.  I’ve used scripted rendering with standalone 3Delight, but I have not found appreciable time differences, and I’ve run into lots of bugs.  (And, of course, I’m using the free edition of 3Delight which ignores most of my processing power.)  I also understand that the RIB files can be used in other render engines, but I don’t have access to any of them, so it’s kind-of moot. 

I guess when I was examining the benchmarks, I was only comparing the differences in time between native capabilities.  Scripted rendering isn’t much different than using a third-party render engine, in terms of workflow.  I’d really love to hear how you can optimize UE within DS and get Firefly speeds—it would make me happy.

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Posted: 29 June 2014 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Basically in the “Render Settings” you select “Scripted 3Delight” and then “Point-based Occlusion” as script. Make sure that you disable the “Simple Occlusion Light” in the settings there if you already got an occlusion light in scene (e.g UE2) - otherwise it would essentially be two occlusion lights, which is a bit much. Additionally you have to adjust the “Render Options” -> “Standard” there as these are not copied over from the general render settings. This scripted render renders two passes.

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Posted: 29 June 2014 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Richard Haseltine - 29 June 2014 05:40 AM
Renpatsu - 29 June 2014 05:19 AM
KaribousBoutique - 29 June 2014 12:19 AM

There was no equivalent to GI in DS, so I think I did original benchmarks with HDRI-AO lights in Poser and UE (with the same HDRI map, only in .tif form) in DS.

Not sure when you did do the benchmarks, but DS has got GI for quite some time (via UE2 and other less obvious means) and if you know how to utilise the scripted render in DS4 any IDL/GI mode can be incredibly fast (as in minutes and not hours).

It’s not very good - the quality settings were still too low - but this is a scene with a UE2 light in bounce mode and the actual light coming from the ambient colour on the primitive.

Where there other lights in the scene?  I can’t seem to get anything but a black screen with UE2 in bounce mode unless another light is present.  And yes, I know GI mode was SUPPOSED to be used with other lights, but I’m interested picking it apart for my understanding of it.

Renpatsu - 29 June 2014 11:06 AM

Basically in the “Render Settings” you select “Scripted 3Delight” and then “Point-based Occlusion” as script. Make sure that you disable the “Simple Occlusion Light” in the settings there if you already got an occlusion light in scene (e.g UE2) - otherwise it would essentially be two occlusion lights, which is a bit much. Additionally you have to adjust the “Render Options” -> “Standard” there as these are not copied over from the general render settings. This scripted render renders two passes.

I learned something new today.  Cool.  Thanks!

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Posted: 29 June 2014 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Renpatsu - 29 June 2014 11:06 AM

Basically in the “Render Settings” you select “Scripted 3Delight” and then “Point-based Occlusion” as script. Make sure that you disable the “Simple Occlusion Light” in the settings there if you already got an occlusion light in scene (e.g UE2) - otherwise it would essentially be two occlusion lights, which is a bit much. Additionally you have to adjust the “Render Options” -> “Standard” there as these are not copied over from the general render settings. This scripted render renders two passes.

...just ran a test on a scene that involves UE using the settings as they are shown above. In comparing the original rendered scene and the scripted one:

Colour balance is different
Primary light is too “hot” (did remember to turn off the extra occlusion light)
Shaders in some cases appear “mottled” or “splotchy”.
No shadowing on undersides of items
No depth effect rendering though AoA Fog Camera.

So yes, there are some quality issues.

Render time 9 min 20 sec. Original render time 3 hours and about 40 min.

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Posted: 29 June 2014 03:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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You can configure the point cloud of course. The occlusion shadow of the point cloud is less dominant than the regular one, but I basically render exclusively through point cloud when I am using UE2 and am not seeing quality reductions really. Hollywood doesn’t mind point clouds either.

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Posted: 29 June 2014 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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I’m wondering if this should get split into another thread…?  Not sure if I’ve wandered far from the original topic or not, but I’m really interested and have more questions for those who have a better understanding of this than I am. Because I’m now uber-excited (pun intended) about something extremely cool in DS that I didn’t fully grasp before now.

I guess it’s still relevant to the OP, because it unveils some very good native functionality of both Poser and DS that can give amazing quality with native render engines…

DISCLAIMER:  I know the lighting and cameras aren’t perfectly the same.  I didn’t want to work too hard, this was just for education’s sake.  So, I restarted DS and I was able to get GI to work.  (No idea what was wrong before the restart, but it’s fixed!)  I used a prop that had native material settings for Poser and DS—Aslan Court 1, I think.  I then used the GI Zone from RDNA to generate ambient light.  (It’s just a big vaguely-theater-shaped container with panels that have different material zones.  Changing the color and ambient value of these zones essentially produces mesh lights. For the purpose of this test, I used all white ambient colors and the Zones on the right side (which, as you look at it illuminate the left side of the image) were stronger, giving the impression of directional light.  In Poser, I’ve done this a million times—I added a specular-only distant light and a very low intensity (under 10%) diffuse IBL with no image, just white in color.  The first render was the Poser/Firefly render, which took 59 seconds. I used 100% Indirect Light quality and a minimum shading rate of 0.5.  I set the irradiance caching (a feature that, as Mustakettu85 pointed out, 3Delight doesn’t have—to 40.

The second and third renders were done in DS.  I used the GI-Zone figure, but (obviously) changed the materials to appropriate DS shaders—nothing fancy, everything black and opaque with the same variation in ambient intensities.  Not knowing any other equivalent to Poser’s diffuse IBL, I added an AoA ambient light with no occlusion and set it to a very low number.  I also added a specular-only light, as in Poser.  With some fiddling around between Indirect Light Strength, Max Trace, Occlusion Strength and the ambient values on the GI Zone, I was able to get the second render.  The only thing I don’t like about it is that, no matter what I could think of trying, it still looked “occlusion-y.”  Nothing I did changed the intense shadows.Maybe the calculation of GI in 3Delight does this?  (Input here would be appreciated.) Took 2 minutes and 37 seconds, probably because I had to have the shading rate at 0.2 to get the same quality.  Greater values were noticeably grainy.

The third render used scripted 3Delight and point-based occlusion.  Had to go back and change some of the UE values (indirect light strength needed to be dialed way down)  Was able to drop shading rate (okay, increase the number, but decrease the quality) a ton and it still gave gorgeous results. And, best thing? 1 minute, 18 seconds.  Down side?  I don’t see the same level of directionality in light (brighter on the left) that I did in the other two.  And the color temperature is warmer. 

Feedback on this would be appreciated.  I’m especially interested in knowing what’s going on behind the render-engine curtain in 3Delight for the DS renders…

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Posted: 29 June 2014 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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My render just used the spehere, with Ambient and Diffuse set to white and Ambient strength at 100% as I recall, to provide the “light”.

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Posted: 30 June 2014 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Renpatsu - 29 June 2014 05:19 AM

Still, I really like the AoA lights. They cannot be used as replacement for every scenario, but they weren’t designed for that purpose in the first place so that is quite understandable. Nevertheless I would love to have the AoA light scope broadened.

Me too! I’d love to have an area light with the selective illumination control. Even though the best thing would be - finally - a fully fledged illumination control panel, independent of light shader used. A Renderman-compliant renderer has this by default, through RiIlluminate - http://renderman.pixar.com/resources/current/rps/attributes.html#riilluminate - it’s just that we do not have the controls to set these attributes in DS. I am currently trying to come up with a reliable algorithm for the “scripted renderer” (which will certainly involve that cumbersome “flagging”), but of course, it would be much nicer to have this as a pretty and user-friendly plugin. Unless there is something about the internal scene structure that prevents it?

—-

KaribousBoutique - 29 June 2014 10:46 AM

I’ve used scripted rendering with standalone 3Delight, but I have not found appreciable time differences, and I’ve run into lots of bugs.  (And, of course, I’m using the free edition of 3Delight which ignores most of my processing power.)

But the built-in 3Delight should use all the cores, no? It’s the standalone that is quad-core limited now (used to be dual-core). And the “scripted rendering” is only meaningful within DS. And, well, it’s all about the script. =) You certainly don’t need it unless you are about to access options you normally cannot.

KaribousBoutique - 29 June 2014 04:21 PM

I added an AoA ambient light with no occlusion and set it to a very low number.  I also added a specular-only light, as in Poser.  With some fiddling around between Indirect Light Strength, Max Trace, Occlusion Strength and the ambient values on the GI Zone, I was able to get the second render..

Just checking - you do realise that to get GI/IDL in DS, you need a shader that will explicitly do it? AoA’s lights will not colour-bleed or help with GI, whatever other gimmicks we use. And obviously a Poser prop can have a billion sliders on it, but they are all meaningless in DS - since it does not come with a shader.

So with an AoA light, you will _only_ get AO.

KaribousBoutique - 29 June 2014 04:21 PM

Had to go back and change some of the UE values (indirect light strength needed to be dialed way down)

UE2 will do GI or IDL. These are different modes in it! IDL is colour-bleed with an environment light. It’s more boring than true GI. Point-cloud is the most fun with true GI. I am linking to an older post of mine below in the reply to Kyoto Kid… check out the settings. Might be a good starting point.

As for UE2 per se… it is a _slow_ shader all in all, when used with raytracing. It’s too much of a Swiss army knife to be really fast, and I believe some of its code is fairly old (since it’s using MaxError instead of MaxVariation). I’d say I get gains over UE2 even with raytraced AO when using my own dead simple shaders.

BUT. UE2 must have been rewritten in part to accept the point-cloud. It is guaranteed to work with it. As for any other light shader, including AoA’s one - I am not that sure. There has to be a line in the code that points the shader to the point-cloud, otherwise it will not even know it’s there, and so nothing will become faster.

So, for the point-cloud based GI, - UE2 is THE one. In “Bounce Light (GI)” mode.

But you NEED a non-spec-only light for anything to bounce. I’m not sure if a uniform ambient one (AoA’s sans AO) will do - GI does not need ambient lights (GI emulates real world light bounces, and ambient is but a way to fake it - maybe this is why you lost the directionality). So you may want to apply an area light shader to the mesh light zones of your Poser prop (and delete the AoA’s ambient).

KaribousBoutique - 29 June 2014 04:21 PM

  I’m especially interested in knowing what’s going on behind the render-engine curtain in 3Delight for the DS renders…

You _really_ want to know? Like, down to the shadeops involved? =) I probably could tell you, but I don’t know if anyone else is really interested here… so maybe you could PM me on dA =)

—-

Kyoto Kid - 29 June 2014 02:02 PM

So yes, there are some quality issues.

 

It’s all about getting everything right. You may want to read what I wrote about my Cornell box test here: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthread/21611/P270/#529199 - scroll down a bit. There’s also a screenshot of all the settings involved: render settings, UE2 settings and area light settings.

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