Shader Questions

GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
edited December 1969 in The Commons

Can anyone go over quick comparison of Elite Human Surface Shader, UberSurface/UberSurface2, pwSurface2...

I noticed when applying UberSurface to one model, using UberSurface drastically improved it yet on Tamesis the HSS was better. How do these translate if rendering in Lux vs 3DLight?

Finally, have had trouble getting pwSurface to work.. I select surface and ctl+click, double click, etc... and nada, it doesn't change the shader from whatever it is set to. Any idea what I am doing wrong?

ty

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Comments

  • KhoryKhory Posts: 2,538
    edited December 1969

    Can anyone go over quick comparison of Elite Human Surface Shader, UberSurface/UberSurface2, pwSurface2…

    Ubershader is basically the EHSS with a couple of small additional abilities. Uber2 adds a layer on top of the layer already there that has its own bump/displacement/transparency etc. It also adds a couple of other settings as well I think. Have pw but never use it so no help there.

    I noticed when applying UberSurface to one model, using UberSurface drastically improved it yet on Tamesis the HSS was better. How do these translate if rendering in Lux vs 3DLight?

    I suspect that differences are at least partially due to how the original settings were set up. They do translate in to lux to a point but lux handles different types of surfaces differently in many cases. In other words most of the information goes to lux but some of it will not be used.

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited December 1969

    Ty Khory,

    This is basically what I had understood. What I don't understand is why applying Ubershader would cause Tamesis to decrease in quality when applying as it uses HSS to start. I'm also baffled why pwSurface didn't work. I might have to reinstall. My understanding at one time was that pwSurface had some features Uber didn't but I'm grasping at straws on it and can't find my notes

  • KhoryKhory Posts: 2,538
    edited December 1969

    I could be wrong but I suspect that when you add the uber to it that it is nuking some of the settings. Uber2 actually has a choice to apply it without doing that.

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited December 1969

    Thanks, I'll have to try it. I have U2 but not installed yet.

    If anyone has compared Uber and pw would love to hear what they've found.

    On a separate but related note, am interested in people's take on UberEnvironment2 vs LDP, what their experiences have been.

  • KhoryKhory Posts: 2,538
    edited December 1969

    If you have uber 2 then just cut to the chase and install it. It is far superior if you want to fiddle with shader presets and being able to upgrade from uber 1 without blowing the settings is wonderful.

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited September 2012

    Well Mattymanx was mentioning in another thread about pwSurface's ability to control AO and quality per surface. What I'm wondering is if one can use Uber2 on some surfaces and pwSurface on others to cut down on render time. Do they play nice together?

    I agree that the ability to upgrade to Uber2 and extend functionality without blowing all the settings out is a definite plus and am thinking that's the best starting point.

    Post edited by Gedd on
  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 7,272
    edited December 1969

    Thinking back to some of the discussion on the old forums, on the SSS (subsurface scattering) topic, it comes down to HOW the various items are implemented in the two 'families' Uber does them one way and pwSurface another. Supposedly they arrive at the same or similar endpoints. Also there can be a speed factor involved.

    The two different approaches can, under certain conditions, vary vastly in how fast the render goes.

  • RenpatsuRenpatsu Posts: 793
    edited December 1969

    In principle for the regular use both UberSurface2 and pwSurface2 are similar with regards to the basics, like mjc1016 already said, just reach the end result in a different way.

    With regards to the ambient occlusion (AO), pwSurface2 is indeed able to do AO on surface basis when using regular non-AO lights which can come in handy depending on how much occlusion you would like to have in your scene and which lights you like to use. However, with UberSurface2 you can for example override the UE2 AO setting on a per surface basis as well (like you can with other Uber shaders as well).

    For typical use, e.g. as skin shader I am using pwSurface2 more often than not. But on some occasions the UberSurface2 shader is simply better, as UberSurface2 got an almost complete 2nd layer (wrt. diffuse, specular, etc.) included in the shader. This allows for example to have a "wood material" as 1st layer plus a "paint material" as 2nd layer (with three blend choices). Especially if the characteristics of the two layers need to be distinctly different this can be a pain to achieve with other shaders.

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited September 2012

    Thanks for clarifying this Renpatsu, I saw the Ambient Active on/off feature in UberSurface, UberSurface2 (x2), and HSS so was wondering about that as it is often listed as one of pwSurfaces main advantages. If that's the case, why do you use pw2, you don't use UberEnvironment I take it?

    Post edited by Gedd on
  • RenpatsuRenpatsu Posts: 793
    edited December 1969

    I am probably more used to pwSurface2 as the shader is older than UberSurface2 and I got it for a longer time due to that. So far at least I am able to achieve slightly better results with pwSurface2 especially when it comes to skin and the likes - just might be because I am not fully used to UberSurface2 yet.

    So usually I am taking a pick based on the material types/properties needed. It does not matter which lights I am using and usually I am using an UE2 light at least for some filling, if not as main light source. I just need to watch that I am not suddenly doing two AO passes then, which would result in abysmal render times :)

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited December 1969

    Ty, that was very helpful :)

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited September 2012

    Ok, I have been playing with this quite a bit.. It seems there are some issues with upgrading from HSS to UberSurface2. Looking at the two images we can see that the 'upgraded' UberSurface has lost a lot of the texture from the HSS. Now this is after doing an 'Upgrade' where the map settings were ignored (left the same.)

    In the process of testing this I went through all of the settings to see which were different/same and any that were different I attempted to reset back to the original settings. The spreadsheet shows surfaces with different settings. None of them recovered the lost texture when reset. I am left with the impression that although the two shaders both came from Omnifreaker, they are in fact not wired the same, meaning that UberSurface2 has fundamental differences in it's coding that are in at least this case detrimental.

    I specifically chose Tamisis because the textures are particularly suited for this test it seems. Also, this was tested under the default lights, UberEnvironment (shown) and Photo Studio 3, various settings. All show the same results.

    I specifically did not alter the textures or surface settings, other then the surface settings that were different between the two, to avoid contaminating the test.

    Tamisis_Headshot,_UberSurfac2_Upgrade,_UE2_4xHi.jpg
    800 x 800 - 74K
    Tamisis_Headshot,_Default_HSS,_UE2_4xHi.jpg
    800 x 800 - 88K
    HSS_vs_US2.jpg
    728 x 487 - 55K
    Post edited by Gedd on
  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited September 2012

    On a side note, I really like the Tamisis character. It seems to be a high quality skin :)

    And, I appreciate everyone's help so far, I'm just frustrated that I'm not getting the results I expected. Szark had an image up where he used US2's 2nd layer to produce natural looking veins.. I don't have the link atm but it was very interesting and produced nice results.

    Post edited by Gedd on
  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited September 2012

    Tamisis Head, HSS Default, UE2 IDL-directional. 6'30"

    This is more what I had in mind as a starting point for UberSurface2, so that I could play with the features beyond this point...

    Tamisis_Head,_HSS_Default,_UE2_IDL-directional.jpg
    800 x 600 - 58K
    Post edited by Gedd on
  • Richard HaseltineRichard Haseltine Posts: 19,413
    edited December 1969

    The ctrl-click options keep the maps, butt hey don't preserve any other settings.

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited September 2012

    Gedd said:
    ...In the process of testing this I went through all of the settings to see which were different/same ...

    Thank you for the clarification Richard. The control click was simply a starting point. I also tried 'update' with/without control click etc etc etc

    I spent hours going through the settings one by one.. using a spreadsheat, laying them out... testing each setting...

    It wouldn't have taken quite as long but unfortunately rendering between setting changes is not instantaneous.

    At this point I'm wondering if anyone else has done a thorough test with a detailed texture like Tamesis, where the freckles and subtle skin textures are getting blown out when trying to convert to US2... It appears to point to a significant limitation, flaw even, in the shader.

    Post edited by Gedd on
  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,765
    edited September 2012

    Gedd said:
    Ok, I have been playing with this quite a bit.. It seems there are some issues with upgrading from HSS to UberSurface2. Looking at the two images we can see that the 'upgraded' UberSurface has lost a lot of the texture from the HSS. Now this is after doing an 'Upgrade' where the map settings were ignored (left the same.)

    In the process of testing this I went through all of the settings to see which were different/same and any that were different I attempted to reset back to the original settings. The spreadsheet shows surfaces with different settings. None of them recovered the lost texture when reset. I am left with the impression that although the two shader both came from Omnifreaker, they are in fact not wired the same, meaning that UberSurface2 has fundamental differences in it's coding that are in at least this case detrimental.

    I specifically chose Tamisis because the textures are particularly suited for this test it seems. Also, this was tested under the default lights, UberEnvironment (shown) and Photo Studio 3, various settings. All show the same results.

    I specifically did not alter the textures or surface settings, other then the surface settings that were different between the two, to avoid contaminating the test.

    What I noticed straight away was Scatter and Absorption colour set to White. These need to be adjusted. UBS2 has some skin presets you can try to show what type of colours go where and at what settings. I am still unsure what a lot of these functions do exactly. The SSS main colour channel for UBS2 stays White. What colour was SSS set to with HSS? Use that colour in the SSS Scatter channel.

    Also make sure Translucency is turned off for now.

    Also try turning down the Diffuse strength to 90 - 80% UBS2 uses light some much better some adjustment is often required.

    Layer 2 is turned off so that is not causing any issue here.

    Apart from that these advanced shader like UBS2 takes a lot of adjusting. If you really want to get a handle on things can I suggest taking a few days out and try the following exercise.

    Load Figure and skin texture maps, apply HSS, Use the UBS2 HSS update Preset, no need to hold CTRL down. The remove all the textures and make the figure a med 128,128,128 grey. Load lights and then turn all the different channels off (SSS, Bump, Displacement etc). The do a render. The turn on one channel and render to see the results. Turn that channel off and turn on the next, render and so on. If you change the colour of the effect/channel you are testing to a serious bright colour then you will see the results a lot more clearly. Yes this is very time consuming but it really does help.

    Also Trace Displacement in UBS2 is down the bottom and needs to be turned on if you use Displaceemnt maps.

    Post edited by Szark on
  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited December 1969

    Thanks Szark...

    I tried all of the skin presets (and some of the other presets as well,) which supposedly only adjust the SSS. These didn't help unfortunately. I also tried changing the scatter and absorption colors, they also did not help in recovering the lost texture. Turning down the difuse channel is a good idea, however I tried that also. Translucency is set to exactly what it was in HSS so not sure how that would effect it. As for testing without a texture, it defeats the whole purpose of this exercise. I am specifically trying to maintain detail in a detailed texture.

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,765
    edited December 1969

    If I had this set I would ask you to send me the light set up and skin settings so I could try myself. If I get time I will do some testing of my own.

    The excercise is to help with understanding what each effect looks like, using a mid grey figure with no textures helps in this regard but as you say it doesn't help with losing the detail. Have you tried adjusting the lights?

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,765
    edited September 2012

    Translucency if set to high or bright colour will make the skin sort of glow. If you have all round lighting and translucency too high then you will lose detail as the skin will be too bright.

    Post edited by Szark on
  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited September 2012

    Szark said:
    .. Have you tried adjusting the lights?

    Used the default lights, UberSurface as indicated, all of Inane Glory's Photo Studio 3 Presets as they were. I was pretty thorough about testing various lighting configurations with the same results, even though lighting itself shouldn't be an issue in this case. Spend a day testing before/after with the same surface settings, same lighting rig, same pose, camera position.. just swapping out HSS for US2.

    Post edited by Gedd on
  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited December 1969

    Szark said:
    Translucency if set to high or bright colour will make the skin sort of glow. If you have all round lighting and translucency too high then you will lose detail as the skin will be too bright.

    Thanks, I've gotten that glow in other situations.. I'll have to play with this setting next time I get that :)

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited December 1969

    Szark said:
    If I get time I will do some testing of my own.

    The main issue in testing this is to get a skin that has detail in the texture, freckles, subtle surface textural differences, etc.

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,765
    edited December 1969

    Yeah I am with you on losing the freckles (details) etc. I think to best why to approch is keep the textures in place and turn of all the channels then render, turn on a channel and render, turn on the next and render. It might show which channel is fussing with things.

    It might help if you took some screens of all Layer one's settings and posted them here.

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited December 1969

    Full settings:

    Full_Settings.jpg
    550 x 1124 - 170K
  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,765
    edited December 1969

    I can see some adjustment needed already but I am in the middle of cooking our evening meal so when I finish I will post what I think needs adjusting. :) No Promises that it will work but some setting are why too high which will give you problems. Be back soon.

  • RenpatsuRenpatsu Posts: 793
    edited December 1969

    Hmm, this looks a bit odd.

    What I typically do when I try to convert a HSS and/or UberSurface materials is to use the "!UberSurface2 Upgrade" script without pressing CTRL (nor CMD on Mac) - it preserves the original textures anyway. Don't use the "!UberSurface2 Base" script for such materials, the starting point there is much less useful.

    For conversion I only select the surfaces from 1_Lip to 3_Toenail, as when you e.g. select other surface zones additionally, it might not convert all of them.

    I only got few HSS characters unfortunately, a first test with the Stephanie 4 base material shows no immediate visual difference after using the upgrade script here.

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited December 1969

    Renpatsu said:
    .. use the "!UberSurface2 Upgrade"..

    Yes, I started and ended with this. I simply went through all of the other options also.

    Renpatsu said:
    For conversion I only select the surfaces from 1_Lip to 3_Toenail, as when you e.g. select other surface zones additionally, it might not convert all of them.

    This is a single surface, the face. I did do all of the skin textures, specifically I selected all of the textures labeled 'omHumanSurface' only... but in the end for troubleshooting purposes went back to just the face as it had the detail most noticeable.

    I only got few HSS characters unfortunately, a first test with the Stephanie 4 base material shows no immediate visual difference after using the upgrade script here.

    The devil is in the details ;)

    Actually, it is not just about converting HSS, but in understanding what is going on in general with loosing detail in US2. Whatever is causing this would cause the same results with any detailed texture I believe. I don't want to try creating something from scratch and run into this either.

  • RenpatsuRenpatsu Posts: 793
    edited September 2012

    Well, quite a few material settings look definitely odd on your side .. you got a bunch of settings at e.g. 100% which I would not expect to be, but it is hard to tell as I don't got the character in question and some vendors got very odd ideas about surface settings - cannot tell if that is the case here though.

    Like Szark suggested, try to turn on and off certain sections, like SSS, Velvet etc, even Specular (which looks very odd value wise, almost Poser material like) - just to identify the root cause in this case.

    Edit to add: Almost all of those 100% setting issues may push UberSurface2 over the edge, there are really plentiful settings there which are way too extreme.

    Post edited by Renpatsu on
  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,765
    edited September 2012

    Here you go try this for starters Gedd.

    Everything looks good until we get to Velvet. In my experience 100% is far too strong 20% is probably a good starting point and Fall Off of about 15%. Velvet is used to simulate fine hairs we have on our bodies.

    Subsurface Scattering; US2 does this differently from HSS.

    Subsurface Colour; US2 255,255,255 White

    Subsurface Refraction; I set to 1.39 given that is what IOR real skin is. But I am not 100% sure on this as we have an IOR setting toward the top of the settings. I have set both to 1.39 but I have not seen any noticeable difference.

    Subsurface Scale; Is how thick the skin is IMHO 4 is too thick I always set this to 1.

    Subsurface Group; Is used for grouping SSS effects so if you want to use different SSS settings on the Ears fpr example then you can assign a different number so the render engine will treat that area differently than the other group and render accordingly.

    Subsurface Shading Rate; is ok at 32 for most images. If using IDL then think about increasing if you get speckling even with the Advanced Render Shading Rate is to .2 or lower.

    Subsurface Scatter Colour; This is where we put the SSS colour when it comes to US2. So in this case it would be 116,44,29 (I think that is what the HSS colour is as I can hardly see the image is too small and I saved it to my Computer too. :) ).

    Subsurface Scatter Strength; is something I am still trying to understand. Hence why I suggested using one of the Skin presets that come with US2 to see what he set them to. You can always Undo. :)

    Subsurface Scatter Absorption; Colour and Strength same advice as above. One of the default colours with the presets is a dark yellow/orange. I think this is what colour light gets when absorbed in to the skin, what is left over from the light getting scattered back out though the red blood in our skin.

    Translucency; Is why too high at 100%. Try 15% to start with.

    Hope this helps

    Post edited by Szark on
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