What are good general render settings?

Posted on: Şubat 26, 2009

You have no idea how often I see this question in forums. The truth is there is no good general settings. But, I have listed here GI (global illumination) and FG (final gather) settings that I use often and work for almost any interior scene. I’m focusing on interior scenes because they are much more difficult to achieve than exterior. These settings give generally good results with fast render times, and I’m only mentioning the settings that I change from the default.

GI:
I set the Maximum Num. Photons per Sample to 100. This is so low because I also use a low number of photons per light. There is no need to shoot so many photons per sample when I am using such low photons per light. The important thing to consider when calculating GI is being able to light the scene evenly, and get a consistently lit space.

I also turn on Maximum Sampling Radius. I start with something small like 1’ and increase the amount by 5’ until I get a generally smooth result without seeing any discs in the rendering. Often I will go up to a value like 30’ before I get a smooth result. This is not a typical use for GI, and in a way it’s cheating your photons to get bright values with such low numbers so the render times are fast.

FG:
I slide the FG Precision Presets all the way to the left to Draft setting. I’ve found that I can get away with low FG settings if I add an occlusion pass later in post.

For Diffuse Bounces I set it to 4 typically, just to I can get enough bounce and increase my light values. Changing the bounce number significantly reduces rendering speed so be careful with this one.  However if you’re using GI, this value is ignored because it’s getting its bounces from GI.

I didn’t change this setting, but I’ll mention it. I sometimes change the Noise Filtering from Standard to None, if I can get away with it. When set to None, the render is much brighter because you are taking into consideration all of the FG points, but at times will have noise. When you set it to Standard the scene is much darker, but smoother generally. So if you can set it to None and still get smooth results, then you just got more light into your scene for free.

That’s it. Those are my “standard” settings. Of course I will use the Read/Write options for both GI and FG, and typically calculate them at half the resolution of my final render. These settings don’t work for every scene, but they were used for this rendering:


The lights I had for this scene were a sun/system, and 33 photometric lights at the default settings. The only thing for the photometric lights that I adjusted was the intensity. I change it by checking the % and increasing it, that way I can always go back to the standard 1500 cd. All of these lights were on when calculating GI and FG. Once my lighting is calculated, and I’m reasonably happy with it, then I get to my exposure settings.

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