Iray Manual (Render Settings Explained) ?

PDSmithPDSmith Posts: 705
edited December 1969 in The Commons

Will there be a manual? An honest to god manual that explains how to use the Iray Render settings?

Not all buried in forums or ‘Look what you can do’ streams and stream of kindergarten show and tell.

But done in a manner that explains it? In plain English, no acronyms, no geek speak jargon.

I’ve done a few tutorials explaining your products and made it simple, so anyone, from any back ground can come in and understand it.

DAZ, why can’t you? Your engineers know their product, why can’t they make the manual to go with it?

-Paul

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Comments

  • PDSmithPDSmith Posts: 705
    edited December 1969

    chohole said:

    I saw the second link and reason I asked. it doesn't explain things like Response threshold, DrawNode Avatar, Pixel Filter Radius. or reason for the Default Alpha LPE (what is it)? A manual would explain these.

    These are the things I'm looking to have explained, if one person is asking, what's to say others aren't also wondering too?

    And that user guide for the first link is truthfully outdated and bland.

    Thank you, but it was insufficient.

    -Paul

  • Male-M3diaMale-M3dia Posts: 3,549
    edited December 1969

    PDSmith said:

    I saw the second link and reason I asked. it doesn't explain things like Response threshold, DrawNode Avatar, Pixel Filter Radius. or reason for the Default Alpha LPE (what is it)? A manual would explain these.

    These are the things I'm looking to have explained, if one person is asking, what's to say others aren't also wondering too?

    And that user guide for the first link is truthfully outdated and bland.

    Thank you, but it was insufficient.

    -Paul

    You'll probably have to do some searching for it. This stuff isn't on Nvidia's site and they made the renderer.

  • The Blurst of TimesThe Blurst of Times Posts: 2,071
    edited May 2015

    There's also the Iray thing in there.

    http://docs.daz3d.com/doku.php/public/software/dazstudio/4/referenceguide/interface/panes/render_settings/engine/nvidia_iray/start

    I'm guessing you've seen the content, though. I haven't really read through it. I know what I need to get things done in Iray.

    Having done the beta thing (and still using the 4.8 beta due to issues with the release), I guess I'm used to experimenting. Most things are subtle tweaks of what I know. Of the experimentation process, New users probably aren't going to be so enthusiastic, in general.

    Edit: Ha, most of that link has entries with no information. Well, it's a start, anyway.

    Post edited by The Blurst of Times on
  • PDSmithPDSmith Posts: 705
    edited December 1969

    You'll probably have to do some searching for it. This stuff isn't on Nvidia's site and they made the renderer.


    Not to sound sarcastic, but what you are saying is DAZ, as a successful company rushed out, integrated a little known, an unbiased render engine into their established and highly successful product and through it on the masses and have little to no understanding how it works? And hoped for the best?

    I work in an industry that would get people killed. You don't hope for the best. You know what you are getting. To say otherwise is incredibly inept.

    Studio 4.6's Render tab change shows DAZ knew well in advance of this change and what they planned. I figured it would have been Octane that was going to be integrated, the layout was all to similar.

    The DAZ engineers had to know how the code and engine worked to integrate into Studio for a decent interface. Too many variables were in play not to know.

    Again, a manual explaining how to use Iray, should have been on their minds, not the show and tell link that was provided. I'd think you, for as long as you've been around DAZ would grow weary of the continued changes and having to dig and learn on your own with each new update.

    Wouldn't it be nice to have a manual/note pad reference handy of what all those terms mean and how to use them?

    -Paul

  • PDSmithPDSmith Posts: 705
    edited December 1969

    There's also the Iray thing in there.

    http://docs.daz3d.com/doku.php/public/software/dazstudio/4/referenceguide/interface/panes/render_settings/engine/nvidia_iray/start

    I'm guessing you've seen the content, though. I haven't really read through it. I know what I need to get things done in Iray.

    Having done the beta thing (and still using the 4.8 beta due to issues with the release), I guess I'm used to experimenting. Most things are subtle tweaks of what I know. Of the experimentation process, New users probably aren't going to be so enthusiastic, in general.

    Edit: Ha, most of that link has entries with no information. Well, it's a start, anyway.

    I'll be all over that like white on rice...once it's done.

  • Male-M3diaMale-M3dia Posts: 3,549
    edited May 2015

    PDSmith said:


    Not to sound sarcastic, but what you are saying is DAZ, as a successful company rushed out, integrated a little known, an unbiased render engine into their established and highly successful product and through it on the masses and have little to no understanding how it works? And hoped for the best?

    I work in an industry that would get people killed. You don't hope for the best. You know what you are getting. To say otherwise is incredibly inept.

    Studio 4.6's Render tab change shows DAZ knew well in advance of this change and what they planned. I figured it would have been Octane that was going to be integrated, the layout was all to similar.

    The DAZ engineers had to know how the code and engine worked to integrate into Studio for a decent interface. Too many variables were in play not to know.

    Again, a manual explaining how to use Iray, should have been on their minds, not the show and tell link that was provided. I'd think you, for as long as you've been around DAZ would grow weary of the continued changes and having to dig and learn on your own with each new update.

    Wouldn't it be nice to have a manual/note pad reference handy of what all those terms mean and how to use them?

    -Paul

    It would be nice to have one. 3dsmax and maya have iray integration too. Neither have manuals and you're paying the software. I think right now we accumulating a lot more information that could be written in a manual by the threads stickied at the top.

    Post edited by Male-M3dia on
  • Male-M3diaMale-M3dia Posts: 3,549
    edited May 2015

    I would also note that what DAZ Studio is doing with Iray is a bit unique as we are generally rendering people, not architecture and vehicles so I think everyone is learning this as we go along; so looking through the threads at what people are doing is going to have a lot more value than what parameters mean in the wiki as we all try to find the best skin settings for renders.

    Post edited by Male-M3dia on
  • JimbowJimbow Posts: 556
    edited December 1969

    PDSmith said:
    I'll be all over that like white on rice...once it's done.

    I was one of the early Mental Ray users and you just had to get on with it even after paying thousands of GBP for the 3D app. Iray's free, which is more than you can say for most renderers worth their salt. Get stuck in. The end users tend to come up with the neat ways of using renderers and shaders, anyway.

  • AJ2112AJ2112 Posts: 1,416
    edited May 2015

    Rofl - I agree with Paul 100%, but..... Amazing how much I learned on my own past 2 years, off/on. I have lot's of complaint's pertaining to learning curve of Daz studio, but on a positive perspective, Daz has provide millions of people an opportunity to discover 3D free. 2 years ago, I had no idea what 3D art was or how to create. I learned alot asking questions, reading questions/answer's from other 3D members, and lot's of experimenting.

    If an individual truly desires to learn 3D, there are thousands of schools, that will be happy to take individual's money to teach em. There are several schools in my area.

    I have alway's felt, Daz forum lacks interaction between members. And this is where I agree with Paul 100%, lot's of veteran 3D artist and vendors at DS forum, but rarely interact with members, other then to show off renders or sell products. And sadly, no members can contact vendors at DS store, with question pertaining to product they purchased, like other 3D stores.

    Truth is, best way to learn 3D professionally, is attending a 3D school.

    PDSmith said:
    Not all buried in forums or ‘Look what you can do’ streams and stream of kindergarten show and tell. But done in a manner that explains it?
    Post edited by AJ2112 on
  • WilmapWilmap Posts: 2,915
    edited December 1969

    From someone who hasn't really got a clue on how to use iray properly, I would welcome a manual explaining exactly how to use it.

    All very well giving lists to threads with help, but you have to look through the lot to find out what you want!

  • Cris PalominoCris Palomino Posts: 8,782
    edited December 1969

    We have made a thread pointing to important, long-running Iray threads here, including the DS thread started by DAZ themselves. You might want to ask in there in case the DAZ guys miss your thread here. This is one of the reasons we keep trying to cut down on unique threads, it's difficult to keep up with so many and then you have to remember which one contained what tidbit.

  • nightwolf1982nightwolf1982 Posts: 1,089
    edited December 1969

    Throwing my two cents in, while a manual would be informative, what we really need are tutorials that show how to use the settings. Knowing what Dome is vs. Scene Only is all well and good, but what are they used for? I have a vague understanding of what F-stop is, but how do I use it to improve my renders? I don't want to dig through a 30 page or even 100 page thread on the off chance something I'm curious about or needing an explanation for MIGHT be explained. And while I can always ask about things, it might take days to get a response that might not really help me, if I get one at all.

    Rendo has a great ongoing tutorial series that actually explains how to use different tools and settings in Poser, with clear examples that are easily followed. We need something similar for DS, that isn't "click on this icon in the smart content pane".

  • DrNewcensteinDrNewcenstein Posts: 684
    edited December 1969

    I figured out years ago that rather than dig through trainwreck threads and a dozen or more stickied posts full of "Wow, thanks!" and 'Great thread! Should be stickied!" , I Googled the terminology for the definition of a given concept, then on to how it related to what I was doing. While it wasn't as good as having a manual where the only content was in regards to the subject (i.e. not a public thread), it did give me plenty to think about, in a contemplative meditation sense.

    Other things, however, still elude me, even with a manual. Maybe it's not explained in terms I can associate with, or care to. I dunno.

    It took me 10+ years to come to terms with what Poser's Hair Room was trying to accomplish, and I only "got it" back in October of last year. I started writing a tutorial on the hows and whys and wherefores of it, but it quickly escalated into a series of tutorials because it cannot be confined to just one. I don't know everything about it, but I learned enough to know that a "quick and dirty" tutorial will not be enough to get anything out of it.


    And then there's good old fashioned context clues, where the name of the parameter hints at its purpose:

    Response threshold - Break this down into its two halves; "response" and "threshold".
    Response is of course similar to reaction, and typically Threshold relates to a time-frame, or a window. Being musically-minded as I am, these I can associate with a Compressor or Delay effect, where the Response Threshold is how much the "window" of a given parameter is open, or when it opens, and/or the duration it remains open. For something like a camera, even a simulated one like a rendering engine, and knowing it pertains to some aspect of a light-physics-based rendering engine, I'd assume that this in some way dealt with how long it had to react to the amount of light in a scene before it said "time's up".

    But, that's just me, as I haven't dug into the various parameters of Iray yet, so I don't know exactly what this parameter is attached to - the lights, the camera, or what.


    LPE is Light Path Expression - I did sneak a peek earlier at Nvidia's site (while also reading a dozen other sites about a dozen different things so my head may be scrambled) and if I understand what I read, it calculates the Path that Light travels from the object being illuminated back to the Light Source. In other words, you've got a sniper's laser dot on you, and you track it back to the gun it's mounted on, but you do it "Batman style" - all in your head using calculations of some particular level (Power, Exponent, etc).
    Again, I'm not familiar with the exact implementation in DS, but a basic understanding of the underlying concept should be enough to get started on. It's the floating debris of a shipwreck one can latch onto to stay afloat, at least.

    The reasoning behind a Default Alpha LPE would be, in my best guess, to give you a point of reference to begin tweaking. A center-point average that will yield results, regardless of whether those results are acceptable or not. And I can only assume that Alpha in this case aligns with the standard definition relating to graphics, which relates to an Alpha Channel (typically relating to transparency).
    Or, it could be that Alpha in this case is defined as "the first" or "starting point". For a physically-based light rendering engine, this actually makes more sense to me than the transparency link.

    Ergo, we can presume that Default Alpha Light Path Expression is a calculation of the path that the initial ray of light would travel from the source to whatever it shines on in the scene, though this calculation is done in reverse, starting at the end point/scene target and working its way back to the source, presumably to determine how much illumination said scene target should receive, stated in a number (Expression) based on a formula for the Lux value of the source.
    One could then extrapolate it to include the light-diffusion properties of the target, reflectivity, environment (fog, haze, etc), but that's probably wishful thinking.

    Pixel Filter Radius and DrawNode Avatar are broad subjects for me, and could be any one of a dozen things in my head, not to mention what they do exactly in this context.

    How big the pixel filter is? But what does the filter filter? How is it filtering pixels? Does it decide which pixels are exposed or obscured?

    DrawNode Avatar could be a placeholder dummy for the engine (the end-point of the light ray so the light knows where to stop, otherwise it would cast infinitely like a high-powered laser).

    So yeah, Google is a better friend to you than some random internet people, that's for sure :D

  • tl155180tl155180 Posts: 990
    edited December 1969

    We have made a thread pointing to important, long-running Iray threads here, including the DS thread started by DAZ themselves. You might want to ask in there in case the DAZ guys miss your thread here. This is one of the reasons we keep trying to cut down on unique threads, it's difficult to keep up with so many and then you have to remember which one contained what tidbit.

    Cris, while those threads can be very useful they are an absolute pain in the proverbial to dig through in order to find the randomly distributed gold nuggets. Particularly the 'Show us your Iray Renders' threads. There's just too much waffle and praise going on around the actual tips and tricks (some of said waffle I'm responsible for, I know) and many aren't explained particularly well for newcomers.

    Has anyone at Daz ever thought about taking the information contained in those threads and condensing it into a handy, well explained user guide?

    Relying on your more experienced users to teach your inexperienced users how to use your own (or Daz's) product is a bit lazy.

  • Richard HaseltineRichard Haseltine Posts: 72,643
    edited December 1969

    Alpha, in this case, is the mask that's generated when you save an image without a backdrop. Light Path Expressions are nVidia's system for render passes - the ability to render just the interaction of certain objects with certain lights - so that you can combine several passes with different blend modes and opacities to vary the look of the render without redoing it (the Canvasses, which are used fro LPEs, also give you things like normal and material ID renders which are also useful for post-work).

  • nightwolf1982nightwolf1982 Posts: 1,089
    edited December 1969

    Newc, you just illustrated perfectly EXACTLY why we need a manual or tutorial series. All of your explanations are, at best, rationalizations or guesses. Which is what EVERYONE is working from. Of course we can look up terminology and make rational, educated guesses as to how they apply to DS or how settings MIGHT work, but the whole point is we shouldn't HAVE to.

    I don't want to be sitting, poring through hours of research just to understand some setting in the program, I want to create ART.

  • tl155180tl155180 Posts: 990
    edited June 2015

    Alpha, in this case, is the mask that's generated when you save an image without a backdrop. Light Path Expressions are nVidia's system for render passes - the ability to render just the interaction of certain objects with certain lights - so that you can combine several passes with different blend modes and opacities to vary the look of the render without redoing it (the Canvasses, which are used fro LPEs, also give you things like normal and material ID renders which are also useful for post-work).

    This is great info Richard, but most people are never going to stumble upon this post. Surely theres a better way to centralise all of these useful Iray tidbits rather than dispersing them throughout several different forum threads?

    I mean, the forum is very useful and all and people are very kind and helpful but at the end of the day trying to find an answer here can be like searching for a needle in a haystack (even with the search function). Just look at how many different times people have asked the same question about using skydomes in Iray.

    A dedicated "Iray Tips & Tricks" document compiled by Daz and only editable by Daz employees (to avoid all the user waffle) from all of the useful info contained on the forum would be soooo helpful to everyone. :)

    Edit: Honestly, I find I have to spend so much time here on the forums that I rarely get any actual rendering done! LOL

    Post edited by tl155180 on
  • JennKJennK Posts: 834
    edited December 1969

    Something central would be nice. I am having a hard time with Iray as it is and can never seem to find what I need in the threads probably because I am using the wrong term or not phrasing my query right in the search.

    I Would rather render than spend all my time looking through forum posts. But I can be lazy that way.

  • DrNewcensteinDrNewcenstein Posts: 684
    edited December 1969

    Newc, you just illustrated perfectly EXACTLY why we need a manual or tutorial series. All of your explanations are, at best, rationalizations or guesses. Which is what EVERYONE is working from. Of course we can look up terminology and make rational, educated guesses as to how they apply to DS or how settings MIGHT work, but the whole point is we shouldn't HAVE to.

    I don't want to be sitting, poring through hours of research just to understand some setting in the program, I want to create ART.

    Glad I could help :D :lol:

    Hopefully that'll spur someone into gathering all the gold into one pile and composing The Ultimate Guide To Iray Thread, which can be posted all in one go and stickied by an Admin.


    And pick up a cheap underpowered laptop. Those are great for surfing while you wait for your artbox to render.

  • BlazeMystEraBlazeMystEra Posts: 464
    edited June 2015

    Dreamlight has some nifty Video Tutorials on Iray over on their own shop... usually it doesn't take to much time for these tuts to show up in their daz-store (http://www.daz3d.com/dreamlight) too... if you want to look into the tutorials (what they are about) before they show up here, you could look them up here http://basic3dtraining.com/product-category/dazstudioiray/

    carefull though... some pics there are not exactly fully clothed ;)

    Post edited by BlazeMystEra on
  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 33,604
    edited June 2015

    Newc said:
    Newc, you just illustrated perfectly EXACTLY why we need a manual or tutorial series. All of your explanations are, at best, rationalizations or guesses. Which is what EVERYONE is working from. Of course we can look up terminology and make rational, educated guesses as to how they apply to DS or how settings MIGHT work, but the whole point is we shouldn't HAVE to.

    I don't want to be sitting, poring through hours of research just to understand some setting in the program, I want to create ART.

    Glad I could help :D :lol:

    Hopefully that'll spur someone into gathering all the gold into one pile and composing The Ultimate Guide To Iray Thread, which can be posted all in one go and stickied by an Admin.

    Are you Volunteering?

    Post edited by Chohole on
  • tl155180tl155180 Posts: 990
    edited June 2015

    chohole said:
    Newc said:
    Newc, you just illustrated perfectly EXACTLY why we need a manual or tutorial series. All of your explanations are, at best, rationalizations or guesses. Which is what EVERYONE is working from. Of course we can look up terminology and make rational, educated guesses as to how they apply to DS or how settings MIGHT work, but the whole point is we shouldn't HAVE to.

    I don't want to be sitting, poring through hours of research just to understand some setting in the program, I want to create ART.

    Glad I could help :D :lol:

    Hopefully that'll spur someone into gathering all the gold into one pile and composing The Ultimate Guide To Iray Thread, which can be posted all in one go and stickied by an Admin.

    Are you Volunteering?

    This is the point though isn't it. If its left up to users to gather this info together and explain it to other users, rather than the company doing it, then you'll end up with some half-truths and guess-work thrown in for good measure and people contradicting it. Whereas if a bonafide Daz employee did it they could sift that stuff out.

    I did consider volunteering to do this myself, but I understand so little of what I read here that I'd need an expert to explain it all to me as I wrote it down, which would render my part in it pointless lol :)

    Edit: It would be better if it was a thread that only the original author could contribute to as well. Otherwise it would start to get bogged down with random comments.

    Post edited by tl155180 on
  • shadowhawk1shadowhawk1 Posts: 1,981
    edited December 1969

    The question I would still like to know is what is the issue with creating a manual? Other 3D programs have them with their product, it would be nice for those of us that have struggled for a while to understand multiple programs to have something they could either kill a truckload of trees to print out or have in pdf form to fall back on?.

  • KhoryKhory Posts: 3,848
    edited December 1969

    I think it is less and less common to see text documentation for anything these days. Especially early on in a programs life. It is hardly a new trend. Heck, when I was first starting the only way to get documentation for Blender was to buy a 40$ book and there was next to nothing on line about it at the time. Now there is good on line documentation for Blender but that took years. Most programs I have wanted to learn recently have had video tutorials to "get you started" and everything after that was user created. If your lucky there are a few pages of on line text documentation but nothing that would pass for really robust documentation. I suppose you could spend scads of hours running from company to company demanding that they have proper documentation but I'm guessing that for the most part it will happen when it happens and a large part of it is going to be user driven no matter how many times you petition the companies for something else.

    DAZ creating documentation for Iray is heavily dependent on nvidia since it is their baby and DAZ has to follow and not lead as far as Iray goes.

  • The Blurst of TimesThe Blurst of Times Posts: 2,071
    edited December 1969

    If there were a wiki we could dump stuff into, that would be awesome.

  • shadowhawk1shadowhawk1 Posts: 1,981
    edited December 1969

    Khory said:
    I think it is less and less common to see text documentation for anything these days. Especially early on in a programs life. It is hardly a new trend. Heck, when I was first starting the only way to get documentation for Blender was to buy a 40$ book and there was next to nothing on line about it at the time. Now there is good on line documentation for Blender but that took years. Most programs I have wanted to learn recently have had video tutorials to "get you started" and everything after that was user created. If your lucky there are a few pages of on line text documentation but nothing that would pass for really robust documentation. I suppose you could spend scads of hours running from company to company demanding that they have proper documentation but I'm guessing that for the most part it will happen when it happens and a large part of it is going to be user driven no matter how many times you petition the companies for something else.

    DAZ creating documentation for Iray is heavily dependent on nvidia since it is their baby and DAZ has to follow and not lead as far as Iray goes.

    To me, this is the largest problem with a lot of companies now days. They create a program and provide little to no information on how to best utilize it and ..... I think I am going to just let this go and stop here. This is only going to end up very ugly for me if I continue.

  • PDSmithPDSmith Posts: 705
    edited December 1969

    chohole said:

    Are you Volunteering?

    Chohole, this was my point for this whole thread. I work in an industry where Engineers take what they make, and turn around and work side by side with technical engineers to make a manual that covers what exactly what it is they have and how to use it.

    Asking the masses to make what DAZ's programers/engineers know better than the rest us shouldn't be part of the process.

    Sure Iray has some features that with some futzing present some interesting results, but as some others have said, the treads are laden down with accolades, and random information and rarely get to the point of what one feature does or how it effects a said render.

    It's too busy.

    I don't see links via a google search of the DAZ forum that explains what most of the new features do...Yet DAZ knew this was coming for some time.

    Lets back up and and even ignore Iray for a bit. We have features upon features that are going to waste and not being utilized by most people in Studio...Remember, not everyone even bothers to come to the forums.

    Reading threads upon threads isn't the high point of working with Studio. For many, they won't even bother, because of the stigma of what forums have been reduced to all over the internet. Yes DAZ is different, but the stigma stands.

    So with something like Reality's R.U.G. or Octane's manual, or even Poser's Manual, all of these show immediate impact upon their use. They serve a purpose.

    The end point here is...DAZ might very well gain simpler learning curve, because it isn't going to get any easier with future changes, and the direct impact of a reference tool/manual and what people do with Studio will obviously encourage more people to use the product.

    Because isn't that what it all boils down too?

    Manual + Studio = More users = More people coming to spend $$$.

    -Paul

  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 33,604
    edited December 1969

    I must admit that my comment was a bit flippant, and meant as a joke. However I do think it would be good if someone had the time to extract some of the helpful hints and tips that have been posted.
    I have learned far more over the years from people on forums than I ever learned from manuals. I have old manuals which are almost pristine, having never been read.

  • tl155180tl155180 Posts: 990
    edited June 2015

    chohole said:
    I must admit that my comment was a bit flippant, and meant as a joke. However I do think it would be good if someone had the time to extract some of the helpful hints and tips that have been posted.
    I have learned far more over the years from people on forums than I ever learned from manuals. I have old manuals which are almost pristine, having never been read.

    I would agree with you, chohole, that sometimes a manual can be a bit of a 'stale' read (for want of a better word). I, too, have learnt most of what I know about Daz from the very helpful people here on the forums.

    However, in most cases I had to wade through hundreds and hundreds of posts that were nothing but "accolades and random information", as Paul so aptly puts it, in order to find the few helpful comments I needed. This is extremely time consuming and ultimately incredibly unrewarding. I'm also sure that I've missed a tonne of posts that would potentially be helpful to me simply because I've never been lucky enough to stumble upon them (obviously no-one has the time to read everything thats posted here). It is an incredibly inefficient way to learn a piece of software.

    I'll give you an example of this. My brother (a computing expert, as far as I'm concerned) has seen me using Daz Studio and is very interested in its results. However, he sees how complicated it is and how much I'm struggling with trying to figure it out and it has put him off ever trying it. So there is a potential customer lost. I'm sure many other people have started using DS as well only to find the lack of information frustrating and ultimately end up giving up.

    Teaching your customers how to use your product (this is not directed at you chohole) so that they don't get frustrated with it and give up is a very basic principle of marketing. I don't think Daz understand quite how much money this is potentially losing them.

    The Blurst of Times suggested a wiki for people to contribute to. I think this is an excellent idea, so long as someone at Daz keeps an eye on it. Its how I learnt Skyrim modding and it was easy to follow and look up what I wanted. Expert users would still be able to contribute to it, but it would filter out all of the unnecessary waffle without being too much work for Daz. This would be a compromise - obviously a fully realised manual would be the gold standard.

    Edit: I'm not trying to put down the contribution of the forum - as a tool for asking and answering questions and sharing ideas its great. I'm just saying that it shouldn't be the primary source of information.

    Post edited by tl155180 on
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