#59: SHADOWS & LIGHT (Vue)
#58: ADVANCED DIRT MAPPING (Vue)
#57: SSS IN VUE 9, AND THE "SPECKLE" PROBLEM
#56: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL OF ART
#55: FIXING POSER CLOTHING
#54: MAKING "FOREST WAR - GOBLIN SHAMAN"
#53: MAKING A STUDIO RENDER FOR VUE
(and other apps)
#49: NEBULA MKIII (Vue)
#48: RENDER SETTINGS FOR VUE (Vue)
#47: POSTWORK - MAKING A RENDER INTENSE (Any)
#46: MAKING RIVERS THAT FOLLOW TERRAIN HEIGHTS (Vue or Bryce)

RENDER SETTINGS FOR VUE

General guidelines for rendering with Vue :)

Optimizing renders for quality AND speed is tricky, there's lots of variables, and everyone has favourite strategies. Also, some scenes require different tweaks due to peculiarities of that specific scene, so no "One" setting is perfect!

The range of standard settings Vue comes with are ok-ish, but not perfect. It's best to use "User settings" make and save settings for yourself. This is my own fave from more trial and error tests, lots of errors... :p

Note, this is for large stills at high quality. It's not the maximum quality, and it's not perfect for animation, and it's NOT perfect for every scene!!


My general use settings after some tests in the previous week, at the start of this test, today (30-07-2009)
  1. You do NOT need blurred reflections or transparency for most renders, so turn 'em off. Unless maybe you have a close up of a very reflective surface dominating the scene, ti's a waste, and blurred reflections on materials is a huge waste of render time, just use a bump map or dispalcement instead if you want blurry reflections, unless you have special reasons.
  2. Depth of field. Are you using this? if not, turn it off. You can easily render Depth of Field masks out anyway much faster, using black and white materials for the entire scene's materials to cut render times.
  3. Are you using motion blur, including wind on plants? if not, turn off Enable Motion Blur. Likewise turn off Optimize Volumetric Lights, unless you find it's needed.
  4. Optimize last render pass, turn off
  5. You don't need physically accurate caustics on most scenes so turn 'em off. Underwater where waves throw light caustics down below, or with glass objects refracting light onto another surface is where you want such turned on. Say , some jars of perfume on a sun-lit table they'd throw caustics onto the table, that's when you'd want this turned on.
  6. Advanced Effects Quality normally you never need this higher than 50%
  7. DPI, forget what folk go on about printing, in digital renders you never need to mess with this, leave it at 72 DPI. For print, the rule of thumb is, you need 300 pixels for each inch of high quality printed image. You can always enlarge a large render to a bigger size in Photoshop etc, provided it's of large enough initial size to prevent "pixelization", for print use. My renders at 1680x1050 can print up to 30" x 20" and most lay folk won't see the difference.
  8. You generally don't need texture antialising except in Animations, where turning that on and having it about 33% helps. So turn it off unless needed.
  9. In the Anti-Aliasing options, Systematic provides very high quality but is extremely slow, so turn it off unless you find it's needed. Set Subrays per pixels ot minimum of 1 and maximum of 8, with "regular sub pizel sampling" turned on. This gives plenty of rays to get quality, some renders htough you may need to increase that to 6 and 24. Quality threshold 90%
  10. Additonally, please note an important issue I raised in another tutorial! If you are using several glass or similar transparent materials (including water in transparent containers), you must edit the "Trace Reflections Trace Transparency Tab"!
    this is because it sets a limit on the number of ray traces through transparent materials, so, if too few, several sheets of glass in front of each otehr will look odd, but a single sheet should look jsut fine. So, normally, you don't need to edit this.

SOME RENDER COMPARISONS

Note: render times are kinda of slow anyway because the scene this is taken from, is inside a massive volumetric material object enclosing much of the scene, which severely slows things down, which is which I chose it for testing! ;)
I'm also using it, because the almost vertical wooden plank texture causes bad anti-alias problems, look at the "jaggies" near the mast on the left of the first pics.

This scene has a Standard Atmosphere, with Standard Light rig, Soft shadows on Sun (2 degrees). No haze or fog at all (a peculiar outer space setting). Render size 1680 x 1050. Those of course impact render settings.

#1
Rendered at the "Final" setting, 4 minutes time taken.

 

#2
Rendered at the "Superior" setting, 5 minutes time taken. Antialiasing very slighlyl better than with my settings as seen in
#3
Rendered at the "Ultra" setting, 8 minutes time taken.
Somewhat better than #2 but not much.
#4
Rendered with my settings above, 4 minutes taken. You can notice a slight but definate improvement.
#5
This is at 90%Object Anti-Alias Quality Threshold .
Now I'm tweaking to get maximum effciency from now on in this series, so I lower the minimum # of subrays
Thus, 4 minimum (rather than 6 in render above), 24 maximum subrays so slightly less rays
7 mins to render! better than before!
#6
This is at 95% Anti-Alias Quality Threshold
4 minimum, 24 max subray
12 mins to render! much better. Very good!
#7
This is at 99% Anti-Alias Quality Threshold
4minimum, 24 max subrays so slightly less rays, 35 mins to render! Extremely good.
#8
This is what you get when you crank the Object Anti-Aliasing Quality Threshold to 100%! massively better looking than my 1st test, and better than 95%
but render time is 58 minutes for this little bit!! 4 times as long as 95% took, wow! But why is it almost twice as long as 995%?!?!
1% seems to make a huge difference to this final render time, lol

Rendered at the "Ultra" setting, 8 minutes to render
Somewhat better than #2 but not much.
This is at Advanced Effects Quality 50%, Object Anti-Alias Quality Threshold at 90% .
Subrays 4 minimum, 24 maximum subrays so slightly less rays
7 mins to render
Conclusion: Ultra quality took longer, but isn't as good, the difference isn't huge but it is noticeable. Custom settings were also faster to render. Therefor, custom setting here, are better than Ultra.

Image rendered at "Final", took 4 minutes.
Image rendered at Object Anti-Aliasing Quality Threshold to 100%, 4 minimum rays 24 maximum rays, 58 minutes.
Conclusion: image quality is massively improved by increasing Anti-Aliasing Quality Threshold above 90%.
IMHO for maximum smoothness of say, a portrait person's skin, you'd want 99%. But where surfaces look better rough, say landscapes, large objects like buildings, non-perfect vehicles, 90% is the best compromise speed vs time. Also, too smooth actually looks bad IMHO.

Object Anti-Aliasing Quality Threshold 60%
Minimum rays 4, Maximum 24
Time 4 mins
Object Anti-Aliasing Quality Threshold 60%
Minimum rays 4, Maximum 64
Time 4 mins
Conclusion: increasing maximum number of rays had no significant effect. There must therefore be enough maximum rays at 24 for this scene to render well.

Object Anti-Aliasing Quality Threshold 60%
Minimum rays 4, Maximum 24
Time 4 mins
Object Anti-Aliasing Quality Threshold 60%
Minimum rays 24, Maximum 24
Time 7 mins
Conclusion: increasing minimum number of rays had no significant effect.

Object Anti-Aliasing Quality Threshold 60%
Minimum rays 4, Maximum 24
Time 4 mins
Object Anti-Aliasing Quality Threshold 60%
Minimum rays 4, Maximum16
Time 4 mins
Object Anti-Aliasing Quality Threshold 60%
Minimum rays 4, Maximum 24
Time 4 mins
Object Anti-Aliasing Quality Threshold 60%
Minimum rays 4, Maximum 8
Time 4 mins
Conclusion: No difference between maximum 8 and 24 subrays, even when checked in Photoshop, for this image, miminum 4, maximum 8 subrays is sufficient!
Also, since render time is same, approximately, it's the minimum number of rays that's setting the bottom limit to render speed!

95% Anti-Alias Quality Threshold
4 minimum, 24 max subray
12 minute render time
95% Anti-Alias Quality Threshold
1 minimum, 8 max subray
8 minute render time
95% Anti-Alias Quality Threshold
1 minimum, 8 max subray
8 minute render time
Ultra default setting

Conclusion: using 1 minimum ray maximum 8 rays, vs 4 minimum max 24 subrays, makes no noticeable difference, and cuts time at 95% AntiAlias Quality Threshold by 1/3rd

Custom setting is much better than Ultra setting at same time to render.

Therefor, this is the best mix of speed versus quality for this render!

IDEAL RENDER SETTINGS FOR THIS IMAGE
For a "general purpose" higher quality render setting than this, I'd increase maximum subrays to 16 and Quality Threshold to 99%, but for most work, this is a good "standard" :)

NOTE:

Indoor renders with lots of radiosity bounces, reflections, caustics etc, animations, and different render sizes may well of course require different settings for best effciency :)


Another comparison, this with a more normal scene, radiosity, plants, spectral sky, same image size 1680x1050.
Superior Setting, render time 8 mins
50% advanced effects Quality, Object AntiAliasing, minimum 1 maximum 8 subrays, 95% quality thresshold, render time 15 minutes
Conclusion: the custom settings are better, not hugely, but definately noticeable when compared in Photoshop.

Paula Sanders worked away on similar tests for her own renders and found other interesting tweaks and info :)

http://www.perpetualvisions.com/new-articles/render-settings/renders.html

Note that she found that if you use texture antialiasing, keep it as 75% or so, because render times lengthen when it's used at lower settings! You'd expect the opposite, but hey, life, or art, is rarely so simple, eh? ;)

Thanks to Paula for her work! :)

I hope you find this of use! :)

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All original art, writing on this site, copyright of Steven James, "Silverblade the Enchanter" ©2012