OpenUtilities Substation Help

Using Effects Manager

The Effects Manager will revolutionize the way you render complex and even simple scenes where multiple light sources are used. It eradicates the need to render multiple times if you alter any light values. You instead will render a floating point image for each light or group of lights once and then regulate their intensities in the Effects Manager. Once you have the lighting balanced using the Effects Manager, you can push these settings back to the design session for the final render and achieve the same results.

The Effects Manager allows you to control the contribution of lighting from all your scenesĀ“ light sources in a rendering post process. In addition to controlling illumination and light color, effects such as per light bloom, edges overlay or ambient occlusion shadows can also be applied. You can even add bloom to your edges overlay to make the line work appear heavier providing for sketchy effects. Since, this is all done using multiple floating point images; you also have complete control over tone mapping options and gamma settings so you can generate better output. Glow materials and their contribution to the scene lighting can also be enhanced by the Effects Manager.

You will need an image for every light, group of lights, or glow materials that you want to control.

Note: You may see some very subtle differences between the final render and the Effects Manager primarily due to color bleeding from the bounced or indirect illumination. If you use the Effects Manager for per light bloom, or have used additional layers, such as depth or ambient occlusion, these effects cannot be pushed back to the design session for final render. You have to use the Effects Manager dialog for these types of effects.

Here are some recommendations for using Effects Manager:

  • It is recommended that for a high resolution output or balanced lighting for an animation, use the Effects Manager to render out fairly low resolution images, make your adjustments, and then push these values back to the design session for final render.
  • It is recommended that you use screen resolutions, such as 1920 x 1080 or less.
For a 1920 x 1080 resolution screen, each floating point image will consume around 243 MB. This allows you to have up to around 15 images to use for controlling illumination and color with the Effects Manager. A 10,000 x 10,000 pixel image would consume around 1,172 MB, giving you only enough memory for two more layers.

Note: Assuming a 64 bit Operating System and OpenUtilities Substation running in a small file such as a seed file with Effects Manager open; this would require around 110 MB memory leaving you with 3,890 MB (RAM is assumed to be 4 GB) for loading images.

Use the following formula to determine the memory required or the total bytes needed per image layer:

Pixel Width x Pixel Height x 12

Rather than rendering and adjusting countless times to get your desired lighting settings, you can now render a low resolution set of images in the Effects Manager, and then update these settings in the design session to achieve the same results. This workflow can be used to balance your lighting prior to a final render.

You can also use Save Image Multiple as a means to render the various light setup and environments. The advantage to doing this is that you can use Distributed Render, but you will have to manually rename the BIMG files. Save Image Multiple does process the images in order. You need to keep track of the layers as the correct image can be difficult to ascertain just by looking at a floating point image that has not been tone mapped.

If you choose to use the history file and Luxology dialog to render your image set, then you might find it easier to step through history and save either EXR or HDR images to a folder to be used by the Effects Manager.