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TechPowerUp Screenshot Thread (MASSIVE 56K WARNING)

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Hard to show just how fun this game is in a screenshot still, but it's a great game accompanied by a excellent soundtrack. The game still makes me feel like a novice by subtly challenging me to try things that can end very badly. I can tell the developers put a lot of care into my avatars physical and mental well being with their thoughtfulness on ways to send my character to the ER.

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So, I guess I'm just now realizing that ReShade shader authors have taken-up compiling RT-like(?) GI shaders utilizing screenspace path-tracing. They're putting 'raytracing' in ReShade. I need to learn a whole lot more about this! Sounds crazy. How'd I manage to miss this happening? :eek:

I've started with RadiantGI. McFly also has RTGI, which I guess he was keyed-into the stuff to make happen by Nvidia. The two authors actually seem to talk like friends, and from what I read Marty McFly helped with RadiantGI as well. Listen, don't ask me how it works. I just know that it is bouncing rays to simulate global illumination. The biggest difference between this and something like RTX other than how exactly it handles rays (still cast from camera and bounced out from sources) is we are only working with depth-based information in ReShade, which limits its capability range - it won't factor in anything not in there... not on screen. This is probably why it's able to perform pretty damned well, though... and also why path-tracing is possible. It involves even more interactions than ray-tracing on its way back. But again, there's way less to kick off the interactions with this.

Cool idea though! You don't need a nvidia card to at least have a lil of the nicer GI.

RadiantGI is pretty subtle and the interface is kinda confusing. I'm not sure I understand the parameters yet. But it's definitely very interesting and adds some very nice depth. I also added BloomingHDR by the same author, BlueSkyDefender. It's just a nice HDR shader with bloom that can be set to be adaptive if you want, along with some basic eye adaptation for the whole thing. I skip the bloom and the adaptation, but I mess with the tonemapping settings included to compensate for the brightness added by the GI. It's mostly there to keep the GI from further washing out the image when there's already a lot of fog. That contrast rearrangement actually brings out more of the GI in how it cuts into it a little. Obviously even fake HDR will also add to the illusion of depth a bit. This isn't exactly a grand departure from what I had before. It's basically all about where the light, color and shadow are in the image, and how they relate to one another contextually - that's what these two plugins change. The process is a little bit more complicated than local contrast, any kind of tonemapping, or AO, or anything else that works selectively on images.
Fallout4 2022-05-15 02-39-17.png
Fallout4 2022-05-15 02-14-07.png

Right at that fog line - where it thickens, is a faint blue band. That's an artifact of the GI. It gets oversaturated in weird ways, and I haven't found the best way to balance it. It generally has some color problems with my settings. But I think it's picking up grading that comes before ReShade, back in my ENB. There's this weird depth setting that to me just moves this banding around. Well... it's actually a deeply-colored haloing. From the right angles you will see this transparent neon haloing around objects.

This is one of those things that needs video. You can definitely see the impact of the GI in a screenshot if you know what to look for, but this is subtler than RTX GI, so the only way to *really* see it is to actually see fully-in game. It becomes more apparent when you are moving and looking around at different things. Landscapes also aren't always the best place to see it. 'Specially not foggy ones. Fog has a way of washing-out indirect lighting... which the GI shader is trying to add.

Need to play with it a ton more, but it's got me curious about RTGI, which is generally supposed to be stronger in effect. Right now you gotta pay 5 bucks to the Patreon to get it, I'm assuming while it's still in beta. I just don't know if I want it that badly.

I'm so into this right now, though. There were all of these moments where I would look and kinda go "Whoa! Hey! You can't do that!" because I was caught off guard by something about the image. It's a feeling, this weird sense of plausibility that I can never place. But in my head it has always been "The RTGI effect." Something about the behavior isn't picked up consciously... like you can't always find it directly in your vision. But somewhere up in your mind the image is processed differently and it just doesn't register the same way. Every RTX game I've played with GI has had that same effect on me. It's not like uncanniness. More like the opposite of a sense of uncanniness. A sense of "rightness" that transcends other aspects of the image which aren't close to perfect or correct... or some sense of an "essential" quality about it.


Okay, here's a clearer example of what it's actually doing to the image, even if this is a terrible screenshot where the fog obscures a lot. We have a decent comparison for part of the effect that it has. First in the spoiler is with - second without. Note, there is no added bloom for the PTGI shot. That's the GI hitting on fog, which unfortunately is unavoidable through ReShade because of where it sits in the chain of processing. I could probably grade it out. May do just that.
Fallout4 2022-05-15 00-57-44.png
Fallout4 2022-05-15 00-57-46.png


The brightness is wayyy too much with the fog, here. I've already fixed this a bit. But start by looking inside of the house.

Most apparently, you'll see that the house's interior capturing the pink emittance from the sky. You'll see that in general. Much more of the light on the ground resembles the light of the sky, rather than being a different color. I also activate the 'emissive' mode which essentially turns all bright objects into additional 'sources' in the whole bounce equation. The second shot shows what the interior looks like with only basic indirect lighting. Same average color and luminosity as the exterior of the house, which makes no real-life sense. You can really see how the light from the sky illuminates it with it on - it now contrasts with the still-mostly-baked-indirect front exterior of the house. The light is even breaking out through the openings and casting a pink glow over the roof. You can see it subtly crawling across the bevels of the doorway exterior.

I think that's pretty cool. It's not quite like the real deal but it's still an impressive thing to pull off. It actually works like the real thing. There are other ways to fake it, but when you are playing, it's not the same feeling as this.

If you look at the tree on the left, you can see that the back of the tree is now lit more by the sun than the front - it's been more realistically sectioned, rather than casting a gradient over it, as the mix of classic old direct and indirect lighting does to that same tree. And where light reaches through openings in the leaves, there is a glow that actually appears to follow the mesh and normalmap directly on the surfaces. It still doesn't have much contrast, but more than before - and of a different quality. I like what it does to my tree silhouettes. They aren't totally flat as often. You still get the look, but with a little chonk poppin thru. I think it has a neat impact in places with tons of trees. They blow in the wind, and you see more dimensionality in the movement with the GI.

On the far right, look at the contrast change between the bush and the gate. The edges of the bush glow with the light behind it, while the front picks up a lot less. There is light in the gap between the bush and the house casting a more apparent silhouette through the fence openings - and yet the fence is also catching a little more light that lets you see it better. Further, the center of the bush where the light behind doesn't reach is still fairly dark - just has ground-bounce. The ground can be set to have some subtle emittance, too. This all doesn't seem like much in the shot, but those dynamics are were the magic 'pop' is in the whole images with this effect. It manifests in different ways, depending on the circumstances.

I can go into debug and pull the 'emittance' map that shows all of the light that gets rendered - that's how I know these things about this image - I was looking when I took the shots. Shoulda grabbed that too. Have to take a comparo with that next time I play with it.
 
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Some more Elden Ring. This area reminds me of Bloodborne.
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