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Advanced Lighting Model and Atmospheric Shader


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Hello all,

I am an old Second Life user and I sill have a visual memory of some Graphic Settings named like "Advanced Lighting" and "Atmospheric Shader".

Well, today another resident, pointed out that my avatar face appears shiny to him (shiny.png). After a brief (though, unconfortable... to me) conversation I discoverd he uses Firestorm Viewer. I use Second Life Viewer and my avatar renders pretty well.

Now, during the aforementioned conversation he suggested me to enable two settings in the "Preference" panel under "Graphics" tab: "Advanced Lighting Model" and "Atmospheric Shader"... Ehm... There is only a small... insignificant... problem: "Advanced Lighting Model" and "Atmospheric Shader" aren't there anymore (see how it was Knowledge Base - Materials FAQ - Why am I not seeing Materials effects in my viewer? and probably still is in Firestorm Viewer): these are the two panels of my "Graphics" settings: Graphics Tab and Advanced Graphics Preferences as they are in the latest official viewer.

Well... now I am curious about a couple of things.

Even the mentioned FAQ page is dated back in 2018 (quote from the footer: "Edited July 19, 2018 by Jeremy Linden") and it is the more recent article about these settings I found in the Wiki and the Knowledge Base.

My guess is that the two settings aren't there anymore because (given the advancement of GPUs and SL Viewer) there is no need to disable them anymore: am I right?
I found another piece of KB that apparently confirms my theory: Light and Shadows - Graphics preferences settings. Well... Now, there are some settings in the "Advanced Graphics Preferences" panel, under the "Shader" section, that are undoubtfully related to lighting, shadows and ambient occlusion and they are "Local Lights", "Screen Space Ambient Occlusion", a drop down menu "Shadows", "Screen Space Reflections", "Reflection Detail" and "Reflection Coverage". The difference with the previous behavior is that the settings are alwasy available; no switch setting anymore.

The other curiosity I have is if SecondLife Viewer is going to be abbandoned in favor of indipendent viewers like Firestorm (and, please... be gentle... don't answer "yes" - or "no" - if your response is based only on rumors and you have no official source to confirm that): accordingly to the resident who suggested me to enable these "ghosty" settings and a friend of him SecondLife official team is giving up with the official viewer... That sounds rather strange to me since they just added a new feature, the PBR shaders which promise to shake the entire assets ecosystem. I can say it since I know what PBR is and what it means in terms of they way materials / shaders work... It is like when Blender made the transition from Blender Internal renderer and Cycles.

Thanks

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Which release number of the SecondLife viewer are you using?  The current default release is 6.6.15.581961 - and the check boxes for "Atmospheric shaders" and "Advanced Lighting Model" are still on the Graphics tab in Preferences. 

I'm wondering if the release you are using is 7.0.0.581684 - GLTF Material Import viewer (still being tested and not the current default release viewer yet, but available for people to try out).  I have heard rumors that in the GLTF PBR Materials version,  ALM (Advanced Lighting Model) will always be on.  This viewer has features that are not yet in the current Firestorm viewer. 

Regarding the Second Life viewer, I have not heard anything about any possibility of it being abandoned - it is the viewer that gets the new LL developed features before the 3rd party viewers like Firestorm get them to include into their viewers.  LL is working on a mobile viewer, but that is a separate viewer project and I have not heard anything about the existing PC/Mac veiwer being replaced by the (still in development) mobile viewer. 

 

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3 minutes ago, MoiraKathleen said:

I'm wondering if the release you are using is 7.0.0.581684

Indeed, it is. But, in my defense, I must say that I simply accepted automatic updates, I never deliberately decided to switch from "stable release" to the new one, I just smoothly moved on by accepting every update they proposed me.

Though, you put some light over my doubts (thanks) but (unfortunatelly) opened another question: if ALM is enabled by default (as you report you heard from rumors) it can't be ALM the cause of the shiny face. Also, I guess even Atmospheric Shaders is enabled by default (else it would be like to disable PBR at all). That means that there are some discrepancies in the rendering resulting from latest SecondLife Viewer and the independent viewers but also the stable version of the official viewer. Hopefully it will be resolved.

Given the image of my avatar, the other resident shared with me, I think the cause is something related to the specular model. It looks like the old shader model has a very arsh transition between specular and non specular surface areas. In a PBR model is like to set Roughness to a very small value (or Glossyness to a very high one) that is typical of very reflective surfaces (smooth surfaces) like metals, plastic, glass and water.

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17 minutes ago, Ender Zehetbauer said:

another question: if ALM is enabled by default (as you report you heard from rumors) it can't be ALM the cause of the shiny face. Also, I guess even Atmospheric Shaders is enabled by default (else it would be like to disable PBR at all). That means that there are some discrepancies in the rendering resulting from latest SecondLife Viewer and the independent viewers but also the stable version of the official viewer. Hopefully it will be resolved.

I've been trying to follow discussions I've seen here in the Forums regarding PBR materials, but most of it has been beyond what I'm able to easily understand, so I have even more questions than you probably do about how it's all going to play out. 

From my experience with other features like BOM or EEP,  there will probably a period of time between when the feature is made available in the SL default viewer release (with any accompanying server side changes) and when it becomes available in the other 3rd party viewers. 

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Well... I thought I were going to answer myself with the Release Notes of 7.0.0.581684 - GLTF Material Import. In the paragraph "Reflections Probes" it seems they give some hint about the situation. In fact they states that:

Quote

Reflection Probes will also replace the legacy reflection map that’s applied to shiny/glossy objects with reflections from the environment. While this allows legacy content to exist seamlessly alongside PBR enabled content, this will change the appearance of legacy content.

And, immediately after this two sentence they say:

Quote

Users can opt-out of this new look by disabling reflections in advanced preferences.

Though, it is not clear which label is associated to the setting to disable in the Advanced Graphic Prefereces pane to opt-out from this feature. There is no "Reflections" settings and the only settings related to reflections are: "Reflection Detail" and "Reflection Coverage". I tried to disable both of them but still I can't see the same thing the other resident saw with Firestorm Viewer.

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8 minutes ago, MoiraKathleen said:

I've been trying to follow discussions I've seen here in the Forums regarding PBR materials, but most of it has been beyond what I'm able to easily understand, so I have even more questions than you probably do about how it's all going to play out.

Yes, I don't know how many differences there are between the two models because I don't know the specifications of the shading model SL used before introducing PBR. I never played with materials in SL. Though I saw Bump Maps, Normal Maps and Specular Maps in the settings of some assets I bought. Therefore I guess it is a traditional Raytracing Model (like Blender Internal renderer was) using some shading model like Lambert or similar. PBR model is not that different: it just introduces a couple of new types of maps, like Roughness (or Glossyness), Metallicity and Displacement. Though, to gather more informations, it is probably a good idea to refer to the GLTF specification, since they claim they are implementing it all.

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Well right now (few seconds ago) I had a new experience with this "story" of the "bleading edge" version of Second Life Viewer. As soon as I launched Seconf Life Viewer a modal window notified me that I had to update the viewer to the last version in order to login. I have probably never noticed it before but it's possible that I had to perform this mandatory action at every available update. Why does it happen to me and not to the others? I don't know! Maybe there was a point in which I had the opportunity to choose and once switched to the GLTF based viewer I have to apply all the coming updates. I really don't know... Just guessing.

The latest version release notes https://releasenotes.secondlife.com/viewer/7.0.0.581886.html

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