(dx11) Too dark shadows, is there any solution?

Discussion in 'Technical & Support' started by Goibaka, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Tuttle

    Tuttle Technical Art Director - Env Lead

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    If you implement properly the Image Based Ambient Lighting (IBLA), and you add proper convex hulls around your track, you'll manage to get better ambient light/color in the occluded areas, like those you posted, or tunnels, garages, under trees etc... It's important to find the better spot for the global probe, and then produce hulls around the track, where you need them.

    Place your global Probe in a place where you have a good overall view of the track, not too close to occluded areas. Always better to place the global probe on top of tarmac, with all the grass around. After that, try producing small convex hulls, and place them in the "hot" corners, those that will receive longest shadows from the mountains. Give them proper Influence Ranges, so that they will mix smoothly while you drive around. Place those hulls in the middle of the tarmac, center-line, something like 1 or 2mt above the ground.

    You can use the IBLA "debug" tools you have on mod dev, to preview every single hull, and see how they are working, and where you need to change/improve.
     
  2. KittX

    KittX Registered

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    Sorry Tuttle, but it's not like that in real life. The ground/objects in shadows (especially under big shadows you can see this effect) still receive ambient light from everything around, and especially sky. That's why shadows on a sunny day are slightly blue. Also shadows from small objects are darker than from bigger, more faraway objects, because there's more umbra, i.e. object that blocks the Sun is less scattered... I believe air scatters shadows big time too (more precisely - the distance between object that casts shadow and object in that shadow, the more it is filled with air (the more distance between them) the more scattered/less dense shadow will be), so that's why objects in shadow from something big and less close, reflect more ambient color than objects, say, under light post. And daytime is the most noticeable time for that, maybe because of polarization effect of the atmosphere, maybe the air in daytime still have some polarization effects even between objects in shadow and objects that cast that shadow. I've tried to google this but haven't found some detailed explanation so far yet. But when you're walking under skyscrapers, everything don't appear black. (except if you're walking by jazz club... the music appears black too, and this is beautiful)
    And some other games are doing that. Not sure if the differenciation of the shadows like that is possible in rF2, but still maybe if it possible to make shadows a touch brighter, it's worthy compromise. Even the trees (and this btw is wrong in every racing game) have shadows more like shadows from moonlight, than a sunlight. Only trunk part should be dark and sharp, the higher parts of the tree have more scattered and brighter shadow IRL.

    Source: years of nature- and astrophotography hobby.
    And sorry if my message sounds like i'm trying to teach something, English is not my native language. I'm just a bit frustrated about shadows in racing sims in general.

    Upd: I've just wanted to see the example of daytime under skyscrapers, so I've googled up Adelaide, well, because there's more chance to see sunny weather :p

    https://www.google.com/maps/@-34.9278475,138.6022559,3a,75y,340.43h,93.59t/data=!3m9!1e1!3m7!1sMuyv5WHT55vyOvbsreSsdg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!9m2!1b1!2i23?hl=en

    Obviously, Google taken these panorama shots with auto white balance, and auto exposure, so in the area under sunlight the shadows appear darker than they are, but still on this image you can see how scattered the shadows are from the trees and from those distant buildings (near red building) and how darker and sharper the shadows from the cars, cones, etc.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  3. filippu

    filippu Registered

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    "If you keep saying that I'm doing things wrong, I'll lock the thread".
     
  4. d0nd33

    d0nd33 Registered

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    I think you're looking for this?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffuse_sky_radiation

    I think of all games I ever played, CryEngine is the one that got it better.
    http://docs.cryengine.com/display/SDKDOC2/Lighting+Levels+using+Physically+Based+Shading

    And, if I'm not mistaken, Unreal Engine has the reflections I like the most, especially useful with bright painted objects in sunlight. For example, a bright yellow car producing yellow light when under direct light from the Sun.

    F.E.A.R. (PC version, 2005), that I played a lot, had some sort of soft shadows:
    [​IMG]
    But the final version did not look that good.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  5. KittX

    KittX Registered

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    Thanks, yes, this is something like I've been looking for. Honestly, the Unreal reflections are very overdone in any game I've seen, it's really too far on the other end of this.
    I guess IBL is meant to help with this shading too, but the shadows themselves are stil very dark, too dark imo. I'd compromise darkness of shadow from cones in order to have better bigger shadows.

    By the way, nowadays (noticed that at least for several recent builds, maybe that issue existed earlier as well), there are shadows from direct sunlight even in fully cloudy + rainy weather. That's something that doesn't happen IRL too, in exception of rare summer thunderstorms, when the weather changes so rapildy that it's still possible to have occasional sunlight and bits of clear sky, with heavy raining at the same time. In more common rainy circumstances, the shadows should look just like AO... So if track has AO/vertex shadows that should be enough.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  6. enduser

    enduser Registered

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    I m not a photographer but i i m just looking outside my window 15.30 shadow of a white cement wall roughly the size of that joesville wall, sun is shinning but i see nothing dark, nothing blueish and moreover nothing dark-blueish, unlike joesville 15.30, its that simple for me. : )

    People make dx profiles to get 1/10 of the results and we cant mess around with the hdp profile a little bit?! Its not even physics.
    Also some ask for camera filters fx presets, eg. for historic locations/cars and that nostalgia effect that such filters can help with, so why not?

    I also can't see how's adding bits of lighting here and there more realistic than a global solution, then since its an engine feature why patch things everytime i dont see the point in this case it should be engine 1st > finishing touches after imho.

    dont want to confront anyone its just the way i feel about it honest communication might be more useful, pls dont take this the wrong way

    The graphics overall are top notch for me, clear and sharp, not even the bigger companies have that in racing sim and in general

    ps u have a guide for that, adding "realistic" and "overcast" dynamic profiles inside the location main folder, so i m given the impression u support this or was it just ISI?
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  7. tpw

    tpw Registered

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    I think the issue of the overly dark shadows has moved beyond aesthetics, it’s actually negatively affecting gameplay. I’ve crashed out at various places (eg the first turn at interlagos) because I can’t actually see the road and corner properly in the pitch black shadows during the day.
     
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  8. Lazza

    Lazza Registered

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    @filippu I think you're misunderstanding, but devmode having the option to change those values is also misleading. They should be removed so modders don't think it's actually something they can change for certain content. So Tuttle sees discussion of those values as hacking (for final content) when the modders just think it's a value they might be able to change 'legally' somewhere.

    @enduser The profiles were in the game for a year or two, and were then abandoned and removed. Any remnants you're seeing don't do anything, and any guides you see are outdated. Again they should probably be removed.

    Here's a photo for comparison to the screenshots in the first post:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/lamouroux/6281508706/

    You can probably find some examples either way, and to some extent it becomes subjective. At that point our monitor calibration is probably having as much effect as anything else. We can certainly say that the shadowed areas aren't receiving no light, or they'd be black.

    @Tuttle Do we miss some reflection from distant objects? When I played with IBLA probes in devmode what they picked up didn't seem to change with current lighting (so an object might not be lit more even though a facing surface had more direct sunlight at that time and should have provided stronger reflected light), but I might not have been doing it correctly. I just assumed it was a limitation in keeping performance up.
     
  9. enduser

    enduser Registered

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    I crash too, (all the time actually) u lose ur braking points and apexes more easily when u cant see them, u have to know the track really well and/or re adjust your visual references when to brake, but that may be an actual challenge (switching side for a moment! no strong bias here) in real locations, as an actual driver's comment on steam says for Monza, the flickering tree shadows on the tarmac tire your eyes during a race.
    Still i think its like watching through a camera in front of your eyes while driving, i think its be more challenging for no good reason, plus they look ugly, too sharp and out of place from the rest of the image while driving so i just turn them off, not all of us run on 1080ti and full post fx!

    Shadows may look pitch black on yt (eg. Sonoma raceway in California) but its a camera / compressed lossy format and even then something's off in rf2 because white pit wall (US style tracks like joesville) looks brighter.
    But that's something for photography experts , if there's contrast enhancement which makes shadows darker then they actually are so correct me if i m wrong.

    Lets say atm they are better suited for the sunset to make a nice transition effect for the endurance racers (i dont play endurance), if thats true then a transition A to B, from a brighter day shadow to a slightly darker one in late afternoon is needed to fine tune the day cycle, just a thought.
     
  10. TTM

    TTM Registered

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    Is there coming any changes to shadows? All shadows are still too dark and sharp/detailed compared to real life shadows. New shaders etc are now almost ready, so in my opinion it’s good time to fix shadows too.

    Here is good article about shadows and color of it..
    http://www.mclelun.com/2015/10/what-is-shadow-color.html
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
  11. ThomasJohansen

    ThomasJohansen Registered

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    Monza 2014 could really need a shadow adjustment.
     
  12. mantasisg

    mantasisg Registered

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    It had. With recent rF2 graphics update lighting changed in rf2, and now shadows in modern Monza mod are alright.
     
  13. ThomasJohansen

    ThomasJohansen Registered

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    Hmm, am I using the wrong monza then?
    Monza 2014 1.96 from steam....
    time of day 12.30, sunny
    20200902233022_1.jpg 20200902233031_1.jpg 20200902233056_1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
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  14. TTM

    TTM Registered

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    Yes, shadows really needs some adjustments.

    Even on Loch Drummond and preview shots of updated Nordschleife, you can see that all shadows are too dark and detailed. Maybe there is changes coming, but a little bit more brightness and blur will make them look more realistic.
     
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  15. mantasisg

    mantasisg Registered

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    I was big advocate of an argument that shadows were too dark before, especially at some tracks including this Monza and Nords by S397.

    Now they are much closer to truth IMO. If they are still too dark, IMO not very much.

    Worth to consider the exposure effects. Afaik exposure is not yet enabled in onboard view, but it is enabled in all other cams. In these Monza screenshots above shadows doesn't look much too dark IMO, considering sun is shining very bright, and the contrast should naturaly be higher between sun+ambient lighting, and only ambient (in shadows). Perhaps if exposure effects would be enabled for onboard view in dominant shadowed area view would brighten up shadows by some, and highlight sun lit surfaces more, as it is supposed to be. I wonder why onboard exposure effects aren't enabled yet.

    One more thing to consider is the ambient colour shading set by the modelers, that strongly affects shadows appearance, and I don't think that diffuse colour has to be pure white, and ambient pure black, definitely not.

    @TTM Yes I'd wish for some blur for shadows edges, but isn't it called "soft shadows" then ? And I think it is hard on performance. Well maybe with RTX3080 :D

    [​IMG]

    I also think these shadows are slightly on the darkish side. However they looks kinda good on proper monitor which I am using now, they surely look too dark in my tablet screen. Also taking in account that for this view there would be exposure effects enabled, and I suppose looking towards direction of the sunlight, it would cause shadowed areas to appear more dark.

    IMO they look alright, IMO perhaps "dark sides" of trees are slightly too dark, but thats not shadow related, but shader settings related.
     
  16. TTM

    TTM Registered

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    Shadows are fine on Automobilista, so i presume that it's not quite difficult to add same look/color to rF2. I'm not a programmer, so i don't know how many things affects to shadows etc. ..Otherwise i'm happy with updates to gfx engine, so keep it up S397. :)
     
  17. mantasisg

    mantasisg Registered

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    I think the essence of programmer is coding, logic and math, not necessarily being expert of everything existing :D
     
  18. ThomasJohansen

    ThomasJohansen Registered

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    my fix at the moment is to adjusting Nvidia screen output, when racing Monza in sunny conditions to
    brightness +42%
    contrast +50%
    Gamma +1.53
    Digital vibrant +55%

    This gives lighter shadows which makes it more visible to see the road ahead.
    But its with cost of washout colors, so this is only a momentary workaround
     
  19. mantasisg

    mantasisg Registered

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    So your aim is realism, or having better visibility of details ?

    I can't say for sure how much too dark the shadows are if they are too dark (surely not too bright). But certainly shadows has to be rather hard in bright sunny day, comparing to lower sun intensity lighting, and of course no shadows at all with completely overcast weather.
     
  20. ThomasJohansen

    ThomasJohansen Registered

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    this is "normal"
    20200904142927_1.jpg
    and this is what it looks like in "tv mode" and almost the same when I manipulate nvidia output.
    I cant capture it because the source is the same.

    20200904142812_1.jpg
     

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