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jlo

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Reply with quote  #1 
Can we get the preview presets to have the same lighting as the default and fine presets in terms of overall brightness so it can be more accurately used in testing?
Currently the preview is darker than the normal presets. 
JustinSlick

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Reply with quote  #2 
It is a definite problem with the preview presets.  Unless you're on really slow hardware, I would avoid the preview presets altogether. 

What I recommend is to just set your resolution way down and use the default presets.  Something like 700 x 395 shouldn't take that long to render, but it will give you more accurate lighting than preview.

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jlo

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Reply with quote  #3 
With my current project, the difference is a 10 minute preview render or an hour default render. Pause.
I lowered the res to something like 500x250 to get the numbers above. On top of it, the lighting is still changing from default to fine with AA which is just brutal to my workflow. I can't calibrate reliably on the lower presets. My lighting is also changing when I render on 2 different machines with no changes in the file and presets are also the same (copied from primary machine). 1 machine does have more addons (primary) but I don't know why that would affect a render. I'm essentially always guessing and praying. This is all time wasting stuff and shouldn't be factors for output or workflow and super frustrating.  
JustinSlick

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Reply with quote  #4 
Gotcha. Sorry about the slow response...

If default is taking that long at low resolutions, there has to be something in the model causing it.  Based on your other thread, it may have something to do with the number of artificial (point light) sources you have.  They really slow Podium down a lot and introduce sampling variability/blotchiness.

You should never have more active omni lights in your model than are explicitly visible in the render (And even still, a lot of people here recommend turning them off altogether.  I tend to agree).  There are better ways to brighten an image (including off-camera LEM lighting, using the interior_bright presets, rendering to .HDR and brightening in post with PIE, etc.)

I don't know if you want to go down this rabbit hole, but if you did want to try to modify your preview preset to act more like default in terms of lighting, you could always try the preset editor.

http://www.suplugins.com/podium/help/ppe-docs.php
http://www.suplugins.com/podium/help/ppe-primer.php
http://suplugins.com/podium/tutorials/ppe-tonemapping.php
http://www.suplugins.com/preset/Podium_V2_preset_parameters_21-02-10.pdf

I may take a stab at this later, but won't get to it right away.


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jlo

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Reply with quote  #5 
I just posted up more pics of the model but I don't think it's (just the) lights. I deleted most lights for other renders and things were still pretty long so maybe it's just a big model. I left the timestamps at the bottom of all the other renders.

Since most of this model was not exposed to outdoors, I didn't have the option of turning off the lights and letting the sun light the model. I do know that this is heavily recommended in most situations.  I did start using lems more overall as I did the different scenes.

Thank you for the links, I will go into the rabbit hole. I already learned that I can open the presets in notepad++ but I haven't changed anything yet.

Having said all of this, I do have a huge workflow problem. I probably spent more time setting up the lighting than I did creating the model. Some of the issues I noted are:
-preview setting significantly darker than other settings. I offset this a bit but turning up the intensity and exposure here and back down in full renders.
- lighting gets brighter on all other presets when resolution gets higher using the same preset from low res to high...many times significantly which becomes an over-exposure problem on a render that takes hours to figure out it's even happening.
- random balls of light appear in different places in every render. Of course this light spreads so it affect huge spaces at times. Sometimes it's white while others, it may be orange or red etc. Ive been working around this by making a composite of 2 different renders.
- Since I have different types of lights, changing 1 light or group sometimes completely changes the balance of the overall composition (and successful midrange of) more so than just from that group of lights. It's impossible to tell if things are then overexposed or underexposed until I do a test render... and wait to see if it was good. This successful mid range sometimes seems to be changing randomly or extremely at times or only very minor at other times. I've have to turn lights almost completely off to just get the overall range to barely slightly lower. Other times, a minor change may completely over-expose the composition. Ive tried to compensate here again by turning the intensity and exposure up/down but that's a vary small range. It seems like things are never consistent. Ive even had problems take the exact same model and getting different results by rendering on different machines. I don't know how to explain that one.
I will look at the links you provided to see if I can control the overall brightness better outside of the intensity and exposure controls. Sometimes, Ive had the lights balanced but everything was too bright and i've had to resort to lowering every group to work better instead of just having an overall balance control.
Anyways, these are just the issues off the top of my head and I guarantee there are others :0

Having said that, I'm still a huge fan of the program but it's not the simple renderer it promises to be with an easy and reliable workflow. I think if sunlight is used than it does remain more consistent and reliable but all bets are off otherwise. 


JustinSlick

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Reply with quote  #6 
That's great, yes I agree, it is far easier to open and edit them in Notepad++.  Make sure you save duplicates first!

The actual Kray docs are probably more scannable than the PDF I sent: http://www.kraytracing.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Advanced_features (Certain things on that page might not be relevant to Podium, however).

Quote:
I'm still a huge fan of the program but it's not the simple renderer it promises to be with an easy and reliable workflow. I think if sunlight is used than it does remain more consistent and reliable but all bets are off otherwise. 


You have hit on something that I agree with up to a certain point.. Podium is extremely easy to use (IMO) when a model fits neatly into a range of scenarios that Podium was designed for.  But some models pose unique challenges, and it can definitely start to get a lot more complicated.

That's part of the reason why the same suggestion comes up here constantly.... "turn off the lights!" Because we know Podium is most predictable, and (I think) most attractive when used with natural light and LEMs.

But I understand that lighting design is very important in some spaces.  Especially a commercial space like the one you're working on.  I opened that thread from a coffee shop and counted like 22 point light sources in the room I was in, so it's not as if your design is unrealistic.

Artificial light can introduce a lot of sampling issues, as you have pointed out (random light balls, etc).  Some of the variability in results is a product of the biased rendering approach.  This can be reduced by increasing the number of samples for certain parameters (at the expense of render time).

I suppose I'm somewhat prone to the "fix it in post" mentality...  That's another reason to look into .HDR techniques... an HDR image contains 32 bit data, which means you can pretty much bend the lighting and color grading to your will.  I think the best resource for learning hdr processing is from photography resources/tutorials since virtually all professionals shoot raw/exr.  Youtube is a gold mine...  "Post processing for architectural photography" would probably bring up hundreds of search results.

Anyway, I realize I haven't given you a ton of tangible advice here, but do appreciate your engagement and willingness to dig into the presets!


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jlo

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thank you for your input and time doing so.
Also, Thank you for the link on tonemapping particularly. I think this is exactly related to the problems I was having and what I was looking for when I output those renders and probably would have saved me needing to do much light balancing and adding lems etc. I need to put this to use and practice.

I actually don't mind complexity as long as it serves a purpose and -particularly- as long as it can be controlled and is predictale. My concerns here a probably mainly about the randomness of outputting in different stages of the podium process and results and the complexity that directly derives from this randomness. Maybe things can be alleviated by things like adding samples in terms of those issues but if things are always somewhat random then this equals more -human- time working around that random issue to control the output and deliver wanted results. The longterm goal is always to automate the human process as much as possible and push that redundancy to be done by computers leaving the creative process to be done by the person quickly and efficiently. Exactly how efficient is determined by the control needed but shouldn't be done so much that it impinges on that creative workflow. 

As an example or randomness, I'm currently prepping an skp model to put into the tutorial section on light temperature. I have 10 component lights modified from a podium browser light. On every render, the 10 lights, even though all components of each other, all always randomly outputing different overall light power/brightness. Ive tested on the default, fine and high presets and am currently running it at qmc to check those results. 

I'm actually against doing work in PP if possible but I get that it's still needed and useful and serves a purpose - and I do it. I do it because I can't currently do it correct in render. Having said that, I will research more on HDR workflows. I go off the rails quickly when randomly playing with hdr settings as everything I do quickly goes far beyond any Instagram filters.

I recently watched this video which very concretely puts my philosophy into practice of an actual archviz firm. It's an interesting and insightful watch and I pretty much agree with everything he says and how they operate and I highly recommend.


Watch it in a browser at 1.25 or 1.5 speed so it goes by faster... general tip for all youtube watching...

I'll update as I learn things or maybe complain more as I hit more issues over time... but either way, the experience should hopefully be worthwhile.
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