Author Topic: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine  (Read 9448 times)

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Offline Mongoose

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
Not being up on modern game engines, one thing that astounded me when I tried out the Half-Life 2 Lost Coast tech demo was the "light overload" feature they had implemented via some sort of HDR usage.  When you looked up at the sun or walked out of a dark room, your vision got all washed out for a few seconds, just like looking at a bright light source in real life, and the reverse was true when walking indoors.  I didn't get to see it at work during the actual episodes, since I couldn't have HDR enabled and get any sort of playable framerate on this machine, but it was an impressive little trick regardless.

 

Offline CP5670

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
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Wrong.

I have done studies of this in my own personal time, and bloom occurs naturally only in certain circumstances where there is a large contrast between the current ambient light in a given room and the light source in question. This means that it only occurs indoors and at night under extreme contrast differences. If you are outside in the day, you should never, ever, ever see any bloom of any sort because there is not enough contrast. You are correct that it should appear around light sources, but it really should only appear around light sources and/or extremely reflective surfaces. It is also a LOT more subtle in real-life.

Obviously, my post went over your head. I didn't say that we see any bloom in real life, but that bloom in games simply gives a subjective impression of high brightness. I'm thinking of it as more of an artistic effect than anything else. The actual brightness of the bloomed object is going to be limited by your monitor.

We can't do any better than bloom right now because true HDR is impossible on current consumer monitors. For that, we need displays that support 10 or 12 bit color modes along with a much higher top brightness. The only displays that do this right now are $10k+ professional and medical models. What games with HDR currently do is called tone mapping, which does internal lighting calculations in HDR (floating-point, specifically) but maps the result into the monitor's 8 bit integer dynamic range. The mapping is weighted using a form of average light level, in basically the manner you described.

 
Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
Couldn't light fog cause hdr in real-life?
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Offline blackhole

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
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We can't do any better than bloom right now

Saying that this isn't true was kind of the entire point of my post :P

 

Offline CP5670

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
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We can't do any better than bloom right now

Saying that this isn't true was kind of the entire point of my post :P

Making the surrounding areas darker is not HDR at all and is not going to make lights look any brighter. It's true that our eyes experience different levels of brightness based on nearby contrast, but consumer LCDs in typical ambient light conditions don't come anywhere close to showing the level of contrast we see in real life.

Basically, the displays are the real bottleneck with this, not the game engines.

 

Offline blackhole

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
Making the surrounding areas darker is not HDR at all and is not going to make lights look any brighter. It's true that our eyes experience different levels of brightness based on nearby contrast, but consumer LCDs in typical ambient light conditions don't come anywhere close to showing the level of contrast we see in real life.

Basically, the displays are the real bottleneck with this, not the game engines.

No, they aren't. Making the surrounding areas darker is the exact opposite of what i was describing and is basically what consumer games do nowadays, so i'm not entirely sure what you mean by that. But the simple fact that this image can exist on my moniter, combined with the fact that crysis looks like this, proves that yes, there is a dynamic range available in LCDs that is not being utilized. Sure, crysis has pretty graphics, but all its managed to do is look like a low-contrast photograph with half its colors saturated out. There is more potential here.

 

Offline CP5670

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
What you said was this:

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Real HDR photography is the art of taking pictures of a scene with a lot of contrast and allowing the darker areas to show up against the brighter ones, which mimics our own brain's filtering process IRL.

This can be done but the image still has to be tone mapped in the end because of the limited dynamic range of the display, which means you're going to wash out dark details somewhere.

As for the examples you posted, the dynamic range is the same in both images. They both go from black to white (more or less) on an 8-bit color space. I do like the colors and art in the "HDR" image, but the sun on the horizon is the only light source and it doesn't look very bright at all.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2009, 10:53:45 am by CP5670 »

 

Offline blackhole

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
This can be done but the image still has to be tone mapped in the end because of the limited dynamic range of the display, which means you're going to wash out dark details somewhere.

This is correct. My point here being that the limited range of the display is not the only limiting factor here.

Quote from: CP5670
As for the examples you posted, the dynamic range is the same in both images. They both go from black to white (more or less) on an 8-bit color space. I do like the colors and art in the "HDR" image, but the sun on the horizon is the only light source and it doesn't look very bright at all.

The actual dynamic range is the same, yes, but the effective range of colors is far greater and the scene looks much more interesting and less washed out. There is a difference between having a range of colors in an 8-bit color space and actually using the entire available spectrum.

Also, apparently you have never photographed a sunset :P That sun is goddamned bright, even if its not directly in the picture.

 

Offline CP5670

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
The picture is certainly more vibrant but that doesn't affect the look of the light source, which is the main point of discussion here. I'm not contesting the fact that the picture looks better overall, only that the light source in it doesn't look very bright.

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That sun is goddamned bright, even if its not directly in the picture.

Are you talking about a real sunset or the one in that picture? :p The one in the picture does not look "goddamned bright" to me compared to an actual sunset in real life, and this is necessarily a limitation of the display (as well as the room lighting for most people).

In fact, looking at the picture more closely shows a small amount of bloom around that area. I think that is the main thing giving it any impression of brightness at all.

 

Offline blackhole

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
The one in the picture does not look "goddamned bright" to me compared to an actual sunset in real life, and this is necessarily a limitation of the display (as well as the room lighting for most people).

To me, the sunset in the picture looks very bright, and yes, you are correct that there is subtle bloom going on there as well, along with many other things. But I don't understand how it doesn't seem very bright to you. You seem to want it to be as bright as a REAL sunset, and that would just burn our eyeballs out :P

 

Offline CP5670

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
It obviously shouldn't be as bright as the real thing, but it needs to be much brighter than what current displays can do. (but at the same time, I don't want everything to look that bright, hence the need for more than 8-bit color input)

My CRT does around 400 nits with ideal blacks, and even with the lights off I still wouldn't say that sunset looks bright. Something with a higher brightness (like 1000+ nits) but based on an emissive technology, maybe some kind of OLED, might produce a better effect. As it stands, the bloomed Crysis explosion gives a better "feel" of brightness to me, even though it's not actually any brighter.

Look up the Brightside DR37-P. It was an HDR LCD that was little more than a proof of concept, but it went up to 4000 nits and had individual LEDs for backlighting, so it could show true blacks as well. We need to see more stuff like that, and at more reasonable prices.

 

Offline blackhole

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
It obviously shouldn't be as bright as the real thing, but it needs to be much brighter than what current displays can do. (but at the same time, I don't want everything to look that bright, hence the need for more than 8-bit color input)

My CRT does around 400 nits with ideal blacks, and even with the lights off I still wouldn't say that sunset looks bright. Something with a higher brightness (like 1000+ nits) but based on an emissive technology, maybe some kind of OLED, might produce a better effect. As it stands, the bloomed Crysis explosion gives a better "feel" of brightness to me, even though it's not actually any brighter.

Look up the Brightside DR37-P. It was an HDR LCD that was little more than a proof of concept, but it went up to 4000 nits and had individual LEDs for backlighting, so it could show true blacks as well. We need to see more stuff like that, and at more reasonable prices.

I am strongly against this. I currently have my monitors brightness down to the lowest it can possibly be without sacrificing contrast, and that sunset still feels "bright" to me and I certainly don't want my monitor to be brighter then what it already is. What I think your referring to here is the contrast ratio, not how bright moniters can get (because monitors can be made to be painfully bright). The true blacks part is what allows for high constrast ratios, which is what allows HD-TVs to be HD.

I still say that there are far better and more subtle methods of making things appear "bright" then just farting out a bloom shader which simply degrades image quality.

 

Offline CP5670

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
Yeah, I should have elaborated on that further. I want displays that can look bright while still maintaining a good black level. Many current LCDs can in fact go to 1000 or 1500 nits, but the blacks will look very poor at anything beyond about 300 nits.

You probably have the brightness turned down to have Windows look comfortable. I do that too. The whole point of an HDR input mode is that the high brightness is only used for colors outside the 8-bit dynamic range, while normal 8-bit content is shown with much lower (maybe 200-ish) top brightness.

Bloom can be done right. It's just that most games that use it go overboard with it.

 

Offline Commander Zane

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
That sunset picture is awesome. :P

 

Offline blackhole

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
Quote from: CP5670
You probably have the brightness turned down to have Windows look comfortable. I do that too. The whole point of an HDR input mode is that the high brightness is only used for colors outside the 8-bit dynamic range, while normal 8-bit content is shown with much lower (maybe 200-ish) top brightness.

Again, I would be careful with this. Going over the normal brightness of a monitor, even if its just for a single light source, could be potentially dangerous to our vision. As if staring at an LCD all day isn't bad enough, now we're staring at an LCD that can, without warning, decide that a picture is HDR and show something that's like 2 times as bright as normal. The problem is that even if normal 8bit stuff is shown at reduced brightness, we'll get used to this, turn up the brightness on the monitor to compensate, then go look at an HDR picture and be like "My eyes! They burn!" :P

Bloom can be done right. It's just that most games that use it go overboard with it.

The problem is that for bloom to be done right, it loses part of its ability to make things appear bright in the first place, which is where the primary phenomena of light bleeding comes into play.

 

Offline chief1983

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
OLED solves a lot of this.
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Offline CP5670

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
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Again, I would be careful with this. Going over the normal brightness of a monitor, even if its just for a single light source, could be potentially dangerous to our vision. As if staring at an LCD all day isn't bad enough, now we're staring at an LCD that can, without warning, decide that a picture is HDR and show something that's like 2 times as bright as normal. The problem is that even if normal 8bit stuff is shown at reduced brightness, we'll get used to this, turn up the brightness on the monitor to compensate, then go look at an HDR picture and be like "My eyes! They burn!"

The brightness changes we're talking about are nowhere near a point where they would cause damage to our eyes. Just looking outside a window on a sunny day is a much greater increase in the brightness of our viewed image than anything a monitor could produce.

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The problem is that for bloom to be done right, it loses part of its ability to make things appear bright in the first place, which is where the primary phenomena of light bleeding comes into play.

The point is to achieve a balance between those extremes. Most games go overboard with it, but there are a couple of games that I think have done it right.

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OLED solves a lot of this.

:yes:

 

Offline Stormkeeper

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
This is possibly one of the more civil yet still heated discussions to take place yet.

.... Carry on, the two of you.
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Offline blackhole

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
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The brightness changes we're talking about are nowhere near a point where they would cause damage to our eyes. Just looking outside a window on a sunny day is a much greater increase in the brightness of our viewed image than anything a monitor could produce.

No but they might still be annoying :P. Again i think its just a matter of contrast ratio so its something of a mute point. The monitors will do what the monitors will do and whichever one is least annoying everyone will start buying.

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The point is to achieve a balance between those extremes. Most games go overboard with it, but there are a couple of games that I think have done it right.

I think there's a distinction between acceptable and right. While I concur that some games have had acceptable amounts of bloom, I would argue that vanishingly few, if any, have actually gotten it right, mostly because getting bloom "right" is extremely difficult and requires deep HDR analysis.

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OLED solves a lot of this.

The one question I have about OLED is if we'll need more then 32 bits of color to accurately use it. Perhaps we'll move to 64 bits of color along with the natural processor movement to 64-bit architecture?

 

Offline chief1983

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Re: Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine
Nah man, you won't need that.  As it is, most LCDs can't properly display #000000 and #FFFFFF at the same time.  The backlight washes out the #000000 and turns it to a grey, or you turn the brightness down and end up with a dim #FFFFFF.  An OLED will be able to do that properly though, and show you the full range, since it has no backlight.
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